Bronchos Connecting on All Cylinders: UCO Softball Stands in Upper Echelon of MIAA
Sophomore JoBi Heath, 13, prepares to hit the ball during the UCO vs. Northwest Missouri Softball Game at the Bronco Softball Field on March 25, 2017. (Elizabeth Roberts/ The Vista).
The 2017 campaign for the UCO softball team (29-7) is underway and the Lady Bronchos are riding an eight-game winning streak, putting them in good position in the conference.
“We’ve got a lot of momentum going,” head coach Cody White said. “That’s what we’ve been focusing on right now.”
Currently the softball team is sitting in the third spot in the conference with the tournament coming up at the end of the month. One of the changes to this year’s team is an improvement in the defense.
Transfers Peyton Walker and Jayden Chestnut have added some much-needed depth to the pitching staff. Posting a 1.40 and 2.17 earned-run average, respectively, at this point in the season.
“Our pitching has really come along and our defense has stepped up,” White said. “Those were two big focus points for us in the fall.” Limiting the big hits and defensive errors were a weak spot for UCO a season before.
It’s been a different story at this point in the season, however. UCO is limiting the long ball and not letting unearned runs come across the plate.
— UCOSoftball (@UCOSoftball) April 4, 2017
They aren’t without weakness though, as Coach White wishes to be more consistent at the plate moving forward. For most of the season the Lady Bronchos have been up and down.
As of late, UCO has appeared to have gotten the hot bats, bringing in 66 runs during the current streak, as opposed to just five earned runs from their opponents.
This boost has been led by junior Carrie Abrams, who has caught fire, posting a .481 batting average. Abrams also leads the team in on base percentage (.509).
“She makes adjustments in her batting. Not a lot of hitters can do that,” White said.
While both sides of the ball are playing well, what ties the team together has been a change in how they approach their craft. “In the beginning of the year they were pressing,” White mentioned. “They’re a lot better when we’re care free.”
The Lady Bronchos hope to be in position to host the regional tournament later this spring, having home field advantage on the brand-new field.
“It’s something we take pride in,” Coach White said about the new field. “We want to defend our home field.”
UCO played in Durant for the early part of the season while the renovations to the stadium and field were in progress. Since the completion of the field, the Lady Bronchos have yet to drop a game at home.
The ultimate goal for the softball team is playing for a national championship. UCO won the 2013 National Championship, and still have two players still from that team.
“We pride ourselves on having a shot year in and year out,” White said. “I would be lying if it wasn’t a goal every year.”
UCO softball’s last home stand of the year is Wednesday, April 19. The Lady Bronchos will take on St. Mary’s (Texas) in an afternoon double header.