CHARLESTON (WCIA) — Charleston’s Avery Beals knew she could make an impact on varsity coming in as a freshman. With a little nerves to start, she adjusted to her role right away.

“I was definitely a little bit nervous,” Beals said about making an early impact. “The girls have been absolutely great to me and so I’m just trying to go out there and do what I can to return the favor for them.”

The third baseman is leading her team at the plate in several categories including batting average at .617 and hits with 71. Beals’ ability to bunt, slap and hit for some power make it difficult for defenses to slow her down.

“When I go up to bat, I try and just look at the defense and see where they are and find the little holes that I can see,” Beals said. “Then I just come up with whether I’m going to slap it to the 5-6 gap or try and get it over between the second baseman and the right fielder just wherever the defense isn’t, that’s where I try and go for.”

“Avery is a baller,” Charleston senior pitcher Kailyn Wilson said. “She’s like a stud athlete. Coming in as a freshman, she has helped us as a team so much. Her base running is awesome.”

“She’s a triple threat at the plate with her bunts, slaps and then she can also hit it to the fence if you give her a pitch to do that so it’s nice to see her keep defenses off balance,” Charleston head coach Blain Mayhall said. “She’s got really good bat skills especially as a freshman. She’s going to be fun to watch the next three years.”

Beals is more than comfortable on the base paths with a team high 34 steals, a big reason why Charleston is making its first trip state.

“We finally figured out how to all fight not just for ourselves, but for each other and for the team and if we continue to do that this weekend, we’re going to be successful,” added Beals.

The first test for the Lady Trojans at state is Friday against Antioch at 12:30 p.m. in Peoria.