Athlete of the Week: Jaden LaBarge, Kickapoo

Often times, a simple approach in the batter’s box is the best approach.

“I won’t step in the box until I have that mindset of [hitting] line drives,” said Kickapoo senior Jaden LaBarge.

That mindset is an effective one for the Lady Chief.

The cleanup hitter is always an offensive threat, but she’s never had a stretch quite like the past week.

“I didn’t really know it until I hit second [base], and they told me I hit a home run,” Jaden said.

It wasn’t her first, or second or even third home run in the Lady Chiefs game at Rolla last week. It was her fourth, tying the single-game state record.

“She hit three and then took a walk,” said Kickapoo Head Coach Jason Howser. “So I was impressed because if that had been me I would’ve been up there swinging at anything trying to hit the fourth one.”

If four home runs weren’t enough, Jaden followed that performance by pitching a no-hitter in the next game.

She says she can’t choose which game was more fun.

“It’s probably about equal, because no-hitters are pretty great and four homers, four homers is pretty good,” Jaden said.

It’s more than pretty good, just like Jaden’s every-day play, where she lets her numbers do the talking.

“To be honest with you, that’s the first time I’ve ever heard her speak of her numbers,” Howser said. “That’s just who she is.”

They’re numbers that keep growing. With another home run on Monday, Jaden reached 70 for her career.

But she’s not concerned about where that total stops.

“I don’t want to put a limit to myself and I don’t want to guess,” Jaden said. “So it’s open ended right now. 70 is good for me, I’d like to get more.”

Surely she will, with more weeks like this one.

“It was impressive I will say that, I’ll probably coach the rest of my career and not see anything like it,” Howser said.

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