A League of Her Own
Freshman Allie Eicher, No. 10, celebrates with assistant coach Jon Hunter during a game on Feb. 8 against Southeastern Oklahoma. (Lauren Bieri/UCO Photo Services)
For athletes the time table for fitting into a new system is unpredictable. Some may never make a difference for their team until their senior year. Some may never make a difference at all. But for Allie Eicher her mentality has her fitting into her new system at UCO in her freshman year, as she bats fifth for the Bronchos and has the fourth best batting average on the team.
On March 10 at Broncho Softball Field, Eicher, with two outs and a 3-1 count, hit a double down the left field line to keep the Bronchos second-inning rally going against Fort Hays State University.
Over 100 miles and a year earlier Eicher was making the same type of plays for the Rams at Owasso High School, coached by her father, Shane Eicher.
“Honestly in high school a lot of people doubted me,” Eicher said. “My dad was the head coach so it was just one of those things. That’s just the mentality I had to bring here. I know people doubt me, I know people don’t believe in me and so I have to believe in myself and I know this team believes in me.”
— UCO Bronchos (@ucoathletics) March 10, 2018
In high school, Eicher was an All-State selection and named District Player of the Year in her final season after batting .488 with 24 doubles and 47 runs batted in (RBI).
As a Broncho, Eicher is batting .346, has 28 hits, 16 RBIs in 81 at-bats this season. Her batting average is just above the teams’ of .329.
“She came in and competed all fall and won a competition and a lot of it’s because of her mentality,” said UCO Head Coach Cody White. “As a freshman, for her to have her mentality the way it was, was outstanding. She’s somebody we have a lot of confidence in and her hitting in the 5-hole as a freshman has been big and she’s been able to collect a lot of RBIs for us and been clutch at a lot of different positions.”
Eicher said her love for sports came from her parents, who were both college athletes of the same university. Eicher’s father played baseball at Northeastern State while her mother was a cheerleader for the RiverHawks.
“My dad has always pushed me to be the best I can be,” Eicher said. “He played baseball, so he’s always driven me to play softball. That’s just what we’ve always done.”
The Bronchos are 19-14 on the season and are fifth in the MIAA Conference.
“We have a lot of goals, one is to win this conference, which is very difficult to do,” White said. “The MIAA throughout has been very tough, but we also have goals on a regional level and on a national level. Every year we come here we have the goal to win a national championship like we did in 2013.”
The Bronchos fell short of a national title in 2017, even after proving a 48-11 record on the season, marking it as four years since their last national championship. With the addition of Allie Eicher in the line up, this year could potentially be different for the Bronchos as she carries the Eicher mentality with her onto the field every game.