Allie Brock recently accomplished a goal she's had since she was 8 years old.
The La Grande High School senior and softball pitching standout will pitch at the NCAA Division I level following graduation after signing with the University of Montana earlier this month.
“Since I started pitching, that has always been the goal,” Brock said. “I think it's really great that I finally achieved that goal.… It’s (taken) a lot of work. Hours of working on certain spins, working on forms to get everything fundamental. We worked so much and so hard.”
Regional pitching coach and ASA softball coach Lin Casciato and Brock’s father, Mike, have been the two most instrumental pieces in helping Brock develop into the best pitcher in LHS history, and one of the best in the state of Oregon.
“I wouldn’t be able to pitch without Lin or my dad,” she said.
Casciato said Brock’s work ethic has been vital in reaching her goal and growing into the player she now is.
“From the time she was a little girl, she has always been consistently disciplined, focused and determined,” Casciato said. “She gets a drill, gets an idea about a certain movement (and) Mike and her work (on it). “She is, I think, consumed with perfection and understanding. She works hard enough to make those things happen. It's called time and dedication.”
Brock said part of what has helped her develop has been understanding her body movements as she pitches.
“She has an awareness that a lot of kids don't have,” Casciato said.
He added that Brock is so in tune with her body that if a movement if off and causing her not to pitch as effectively, she can make the adjustment on her own.
"(As) she got older (she has reached the point where) she’ll tell you what the problem is,” he said.
Brock said part of that comes from a keen interest in body movement.
“I also enjoyed studying how the body moves,” she said. “Looking at how my body moved throughout the pitch was fascinating to me.”
Brock has built up an extensive pitching repertoire during the past nine years. At her disposal when she steps into the pitching circle are a fastball, changeup, dropball, screwball, riseball, curveball and offspeed curve.
“We added a new pitch about every year and a half, and once we mastered it, we moved on to a new one,” she said.
Brock said the riseball was the toughest pitch to master, but she now calls it her best pitch.
Brock said she’s been clocked as high as 64-65 mph, and she is consistently in the low 60s, which is what a lot of her pitches were humming in at during the state championship game against Henley last June. The key for her, though, is the spin on her pitches, which she said she can rely on even when the velocity isn’t at its peak.
“Some days you don't have the speed, and it's about the spin,” she said. “We’ll continue to grow my speed this winter, but as long as the spins are good, that is really what matters.”
She is coming off a season where she flat-out dominated the opposition. Brock finished with an individual record of 22-1 and an ERA of 0.90 with a 220 strikeouts in 124-2/3 innings. She allowed just 62 hits, surrendered 16 earned runs and walked only 22 batters, giving her a 10-to-1 strikeout ratio.
Casciato believes she will only continue to grow and develop at the college level and, armed with the variety of spins she possesses, will be a solid pitcher at the next level as long as she stays healthy.
“She’s going to get developed with the lifting program, the training staff, the knowledge base," he said. "And I think she'll continue to put on muscle and speed."