Tori Bayer achieves MVP goal despite rocky senior season
Floresville graduate Tori Bayer delivers a pitch during a game with East Central. Bayer was named as the District 30-4A MVP, and will be pitching at Lubbock Christian University next year.
FLORESVILLE -- Victoria Bayer played her first season in a varsity Jaguar softball uniform when she was just a freshman. Her pitching talent was apparent even then, and everyone had high hopes for the youngster. The person who expected the most, however, was Bayer herself.
Victoria, better known as Tori, or “Princess,” put considerable pressure on herself to be the best pitcher and all-around player she could be, and set a number of goals for herself. Among those goals was to be named as the district’s Most Valuable Player.
Now, when it comes to awards of this nature, it seems all too often that the honor goes to the best player on the best team -- and there is an argument to be made there. So after three years without the MVP trophy, things weren’t looking too promising for Bayer following her senior season, as the Jags finished fifth out of six teams in District 30-4A. But, sometimes the voters get it right.
Floresville Jaguar Head Coach Billy “Doc” Marshall put Bayer’s name up for the district MVP, and presented his case to the rest of the district’s head coaches. When the votes were counted, Bayer emerged as the clear winner.
“To finish where we did, and miss the playoffs, it’s just -- it’s just incredible that she received the MVP,” Marshall said. “When it was over, I told the other coaches they made the right choice. They chose the right person.”
For Bayer, it was a long road, and the fulfillment of a goal she set four years ago.
“She wanted this so bad and worked so hard to get it,” Marshall said. “She deserves it, and I’m very happy for her.”
Marshall went on to talk a bit more about his star pitcher, and about her career at Floresville High School. The recent graduate will move to Lubbock in the fall, and will play softball for Lubbock Christian University.
“She picked a good school, too,” Marshall said. “I think Lubbock Christian is a really good fit for her. She will do well there.”
“We call her Princess, and we treat her like a princess, but she is a fierce competitor on the field,” Marshall said with a chuckle. “When she is out on that mound, she is very focused.”
Because she is such a competitor, Bayer also tends to carry her emotions in the open. Marshall doesn’t see that as a bad thing, though.
“She carried her emotions on her sleeve, but it was because she was so dedicated,” Marshall said. “It’s because she didn’t want to let her team, her coach, or her family down.
“She even cried when she got student of the month,” Marshall said. “She doesn’t take anything for granted, and has worked hard for everything she has. That’s just the kind of kid she is -- so appreciative.”
Marshall went on to describe Bayer and her personality.
“She is so respectful and so responsible,” Marshall said. “When we talk about ‘character’ at Floresville High School, she is what we are talking about. She personifies what it is to do things right.”
That desire and willingness to do things right is part of why Bayer found so much success on the softball field. She played throughout the year, and did everything she knew she needed to do.
“As a pitcher, you have to throw every day,” Marshall said. “She did that. If the weather was bad, she was in the gym, or in the weight room throwing. I didn’t have to tell her to do it. She just did it.”
When it came to softball, Bayer did everything she could to better her craft, and sacrificed most of her “free time” for the game. That determination paid off, and Marshall said she turned into one of the best all-around players he has seen.
“She is a true student of the game and can do it all,” Marshall said. “She dominated at everything she did. She even recognizes her mistakes and makes adjustments without being told. It was a total privilege to coach a kid like that.”
As a four-year varsity letterman at Floresville, Bayer racked up several honors and put up incredible numbers.
Bayer received second-team all-district honors her freshman year, and the honor was well-deserved. She won 19 games in 29 starts on the mound, and had an ERA of just .94, striking out a whopping 265 batters.
As a sophomore, Bayer won 22 games, turned in a staggering ERA of .62, and fanned 288 batters at the plate. She earned first-team honors, and helped her team to the playoffs for the second time in as many years.
The team dynamic changed during Bayer’s junior year, and her numbers fell off a bit. She started just 21 games, due to various reasons, but still managed 189 strikeouts. Her ERA climbed to 1.82, but her numbers were still solid, and she once again earned first-team recognition.
With one season remaining in her high school career, Bayer gave everything she had during her senior campaign, and she started on the hill during all 25 games in which she played. Her pitching numbers went back up, and she averaged nearly 10 strikeouts per game, sending a total of 231 batters back to the dugout. She lowered her ERA to 1.38, and met her career goal of being named as the district’s MVP.
“She had 114 strikeouts during the 10 district games,” Marshall said. “That averages out to 11.4 strikeouts per game. The next closest pitcher had 35 strikeouts during the district season. That’s nowhere even close to Tori’s numbers.”
During her four-year high school career, Bayer played in 116 games, and started 103 of those games on the mound. Her career ERA is just 1.19, and she tallied nearly 1,000 strikeouts while wearing a Jaguar uniform. She also performed well at the plate, exiting high school with a career batting average of .396. She had 137 hits, 99 RBIs, 56 doubles, 19 triples, and 12 home runs.
“Softball aside, whatever she does in life, she will be great at it,” Marshall said. “She is going to make Floresville proud. She is a great kid and will be a remarkable leader.”
Tori Bayer 6-6