Midview shortstop Amanda Beursken has a daily reminder of her home run-hitting prowess. Her mom, Kelly, keeps a basket filled with Beursken’s home run balls next to the fireplace in the family’s living room.
“She always says that when they go over the fence they’re hers,” Beursken said. “And except for a few from summer ball and OGSO back in the day, she has most of them.”
Hopefully, Kelly has The Longaberger Company on speed dial because the way Amanda has been hitting home runs she’s going to need a bigger basket.
Beursken, a senior, set the Lorain County record last year with 13 and has eight in the Middies’ first 15 games this season, giving her 25 for her career.
The state season record is 18.
“I get up to bat and just clear my mind and try to hit the ball,” Beursken said. “I never try to hit a home run because if I do that I’ll usually just strike out.”
Striking out usually isn’t a problem for Beursken, who is hitting .500 this season after batting .542 as a junior. Over the past two seasons, 36 of her 65 hits have been for extra bases.
According to records compiled by the Ohio High School Athletic Association, Beursken is the only local player to hit three home runs in a game, a feat she accomplished last year against Lakewood.
Beursken, who has been playing softball since age 4, said two home runs stick out in her mind.
The first fence-clearing home run she ever hit, which came as a 10-year-old in a tournament in West Virginia, and her first high school home run, which came in the final game of her freshman year in a regional semifinal loss to Elyria.
While Midview coach Mike Ives loves to see all those balls flying over fences, he’s more impressed with Amanda Beursken the person than Amanda Beursken the softball player.
“It’s been my joy to coach Amanda every day,” Ives said. “She makes it fun to go to practice. Amanda is respectful of every adult she has ever met. You can see she has a special relationship with her parents, she cares about her teammates and she loves kids. She’s incredibly mature for her age.”
Beursken calls her parents her “biggest fans.” Kelly and Greg Beursken are originally from Alabama and although Amanda lives in the land of the Scarlet and Gray her passion is still with the Crimson Tide.
“Since I was 4 of 5, I always wanted to go to Alabama,” she said. “I always watched their softball team and their football team. I have been in love with that school since I was little. I have been to softball camps there but I don’t think I could play in the Southeastern Conference. During every weekend, you’ll find me watching Alabama football.”
Alabama football time is also about the only time you won’t find Beursken on a softball field. She spends six days a week playing, practicing or working with her hitting coach, Gary Saunders.
Ives said Beursken’s passion for the sport stood out to him way back when she was still in middle school.
“I can remember talking to Amanda in the summer when she was in eighth grade and she told me she had a season pass to Swings-N-Things and she went up there every day and took 200 swings,” Ives said. “Her work ethic and dedication has been incredible. There have been many Saturdays we come in for a game or a practice and she will tell me she already spent an hour in the morning with her hitting coach to refine her swing.”
“People told me Amanda was probably going to be the best player I ever coached. I’ve coached some good players and we’ve had some great teams, but I think those people were telling me the truth.”
Besides a bigger basket for all those home run balls, Beursken, who has a 3.3 grade-point average, might also need a bigger trophy case by season’s end.
She was the 2013 West Shore Conference Player of the Year after earning first-team honors as a sophomore and
second-team honors as a freshman.
After her junior year, she was also named honorable mention All-Ohio, first-team All-Northeast District and first-team All-Lorain County. She also won her team’s MVP and Golden Slugger awards.
The one thing missing from her award collection is a gold medal which gets presented the first Saturday in June to state champs. With the Middies riding high at 12-3 overall and 7-0 in the WSC, maybe this will be the year she remedies that.
“I love being a part of this team and this program,” she said. “We’re like a family. We have amazing coaches and we all play together for each other. When you have that type of camaraderie anything is possible.”
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
ONE MAULING MIDDIE
Midview senior Amanda Beursken has put up impressive numbers at the plate.
AVG. H HR RBI SLG.
2011 .387 29 1 23 .560
2012 .269 21 3 18 .551
2013 .542 45 13 36 1.145
2014 .500 20 8 27 1.250
2014 stats through 15 games