MALDEN, Mass. -- When the Malden High softball team suits up at Callahan Park, there are many sounds they have to compete with. There’s the passing Orange Line and Commuter Rail, the cars buzzing along the street and the fans reacting to each and every call.
But the grunt that Kiara Amos makes after every pitch might be the loudest sound in the park, and for opposing hitters it might be the one sound they don’t want to hear on a consistent basis.
“I learned that the louder I grunt, the harder I throw the ball,” said Amos, who picked up the method at Planet Fastpitch in Uxbridge, Mass. “It’s basically why I do it.”
That grunt got louder and louder and was on full display in Malden’s 4-0 win over Billerica (1-6) on Friday morning at Callahan Park. Amos struck out 13 batters and only allowed three hits in a complete game victory.
“This was a really tough team, so I knew I had to come hard,” said Amos, who tossed a one-hitter earlier in the season. “They’ve seen me before, so I just had to work hard and throw as hard as I can.”
The Indians got the first baserunner on against Amos due to a pop fly in the infield that got over the first baseman’s head, but after that, the junior hurler didn’t allow a runner to reach base until the fourth inning.
On two separate occasions she struck out five hitters in a row, and catcher Emily Hoffman was calling for pitches on the outside part of the plate to take advantage of the over anxious Indians’ hitters.
“She was hitting her spots,” said Hoffman. “Her curve was working great. Her rise was working great. She was moving the ball in and out, and they were definitely chasing the outside pitch.”
The Hoffman-Amos combination has been one that has been going on since the girls were playing in the lower level town softball leagues, so Hoffman is probably the best judge of how her teammate has improved on the mound.
“We’ve working together since we were nine years old,” said Hoffman. “We are able to communicate so well right now. She’s definitely able to mix her pitches a lot better and she’s much more confident in her offspeed pitches.”
Golden Tornadoes head coach John Furlong has come to expect these types of performances from an ace that has been averaging double-digit strikeouts this season.
“She doesn’t get flustered with situations on the mound,” said Furlong. “She has very good control and her and Emily have been working together long enough where they can set up hitters.”