CANTON — Most 4-year-olds, if taken to see an older relative compete in a high school sports event, won’t be watching the game but instead running around playing with other kids.
But Canton’s Hadley Alguire was the opposite. When her parents took her to watch her older cousin Kacie Wentworth pitch, she sat attentively and decided that she wanted to become a pitcher herself.
Wentworth, now known as Kacie Brabaw, played for Canton from 2008-11 and has all of Canton’s career pitching records. She won 82 games, threw 14 no-hitters and struck out 916. She went on to play NCAA Division I softball at Sacred Heart University and has privately tutored many of the pitchers who currently compete in the Northern Athletic Conference.
Her younger cousin, Alguire, turned into one of her prize pupils this season. As a key player in Canton’s Section 10 overall and Class B championships, Alguire is the Times Most Valuable Player for the NAC on the All-North team.
The sophomore won 13 games, struck out 114 in 98 innings and finished the season with a 2.43 earned-run average and threw a perfect game against Potsdam. She also hit .622, breaking her cousin’s school record for batting average in a single season. Wentworth hit .615 in 2010.
“I remember (Wentworth) was really good, she used to strike out a lot of people,” Alguire said. “I thought of her as a role model. I have learned everything I know from her. Ever since I was little I’ve been working with her. It’s a lot of fun. She’s really supportive.”
When the season started Alguire was supposed to share pitching duties with her older cousin, senior Emily Wentworth. But Wentworth suffered a knee injury nine games into the season and Alguire became Canton’s ace pitcher.
Emily’s uncle, Mike Wentworth, is the Golden Bears’ head coach and he has obviously watched his niece as she’s played at every level. Alguire also has been coached at the junior varsity level by her aunt, Carla, Mike’s wife.
“I was very concerned about (Emily’s injury),” Mike Wentworth said. “(Alguire) has been very resilient. I don’t think she throws as much on her off days at home anymore because she’s thrown so many innings. We depend on her so much offensively, as a sophomore. She’s so mature on the mound. She doesn’t seem to get too high or too low in certain situations. I have to remind myself she is only a sophomore. She’s always been (level-headed). I coached her in (junior varsity) basketball and she was the same.”
Having her aunt, uncle and cousin as coaches has been special for Alguire, along with being on same team with Emily.
“It’s always fun playing for (Mike),” Alguire said. “He makes the game fun. He makes the baserunning exciting. When I found out Emily was hurt I was upset. I love playing with her and being on the field with her. We were always really close growing up.”
Softball is a huge part of the family life. Alguire has played on teams since she was 10, and Mike Wentworth joked that her family vacations were usually weekend trips to softball tournaments each summer.
“She’s probably played more softball, as a sophomore, than anyone in Canton history,” Mike Wentworth said.
This was Alguire’s first year on varsity and she developed as a pitcher throughout the season. She doesn’t throw extremely fast, but is good at keeping her pitches away from the middle of the plate and not giving a batter much to hit.
“Her control is so much better,” Mike Wentworth said. “She puts a lot more spin on the ball. Her composure on the mound, she stays focused all the time. She can be up by 10 or down by 10 and she has the same look on her face.”
The future is bright for Alguire and with her work ethic she should be even tougher to face for area batters next season and afterward.
“I want to get more speed on my pitches and my curve ball,” Alguire said. “I definitely want to continue my softball career in college, and I want to continue studying education.”