North Texas Daily

Mean Green softball wraps up first fall season under DeLong

Mean Green softball wraps up first fall season under DeLong

Mean Green softball wraps up first fall season under DeLong
November 01
00:50 2018

The North Texas softball team concluded their fall season on Tuesday with a 5-1 victory over Grayson County Community College, ending their seven-game fall season with a 4-3 record. All three losses came against Big 12 Conference teams Oklahoma Sooners and Oklahoma State Cowboys.

The Mean Green played a doubleheader against the Sooners — who has won two out of the last three national championships — on Oct. 11. North Texas competed well with Oklahoma but couldn’t pull through with big hits in late innings for a win. They lost game one 5-1 and game two 4-2.

North Texas was leading the Cowgirls early in the game, but Oklahoma State battled back to beat the Mean Green 8-6.

Head coach Rodney DeLong, who is in his first season at the helm for the Mean Green, said his team learned they must play mistake-free when it comes to playing schools that are consistently ranked in the top 10.

“The way [Oklahoma] plays and the pressure they put on us really prepared us for what we will see against great competition,” DeLong said. “Both of those teams run the bases well. Elite teams like them are fast, big and strong. We learned if we make a mistake in the circle or make an error against great teams, the result will be a run going against us.”

Although no games actually counted for the spring softball season and no official stats were taken, DeLong saw his team grow from the beginning of fall, especially on the defensive side.

“We weren’t a good defensive team when fall started, and now we are a much better defensive team,” DeLong said. “Everybody has improved this fall, but as a whole, we have gotten so much better on defense.”

Junior Jenna Goodrich, who transferred from Georgia Tech this fall, is one of the oldest and most veteran pitchers on the 2018-19 staff. She said after playing against both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, the team realized they could contend with anybody in the nation.

“Those are top-tier teams and we’re good enough to compete with them and be on the same field,” Goodrich said. “It showed everybody that we can be as good as the best of the best.”

Junior Nicole Ochotnicki has started as catcher for North Texas since she was a freshman. Last season she ranked No. 3 on the team in hits and RBIs. This fall, Ochotnicki is starting to show signs of being a power hitter, as she smacked two home runs in a game against Weatherford College last week.

Junior infielder Lacy Gregory had a team-leading set of stats in the fall for the Mean Green, coming off of a year where she earned Second Team All-Conference USA recognition for hitting 10 home runs and driving in 40 runs. She led the team in slugging percentage, RBIs, home runs, triples, doubles, total bases and multi-RBI games.

Redshirt junior Lauren Craine missed the entire season last year due to injury. Tuesday night in the win over Grayson County Community College, she threw two scoreless innings and has performed well throughout the fall season. This fall is starting to help her figure out what type of pitcher she wants to become.

“Trust the process,” Craine said. “Coming back from surgery has been hard, so keeping my mind right and taking little things away from the good days and trying to stay positive every day [are] things I have learned this fall. I’ve been trying to push the other pitchers and encourage them to earn a spot in the rotation this spring.”

Craine also said this season’s pitching staff will have a lot more depth than it has in the past, and that there are a number of pitchers who have different styles and can throw a number of different pitches. She credits this to the work of pitching coach Jamie Allred.

“It’s been really awesome to work with Coach Allred,” Craine said. “She’s really pushed us in the bullpen this fall. It’s fun to see progress and have a deeper pitching staff that is all different. Nobody throws the same and we all have our own strengths and weaknesses, so it’s fun that we’re able to challenge each other in the bullpen every day.”

Featured Image: Junior infielder Rhylie Makawe bats against the University of Alabama at Birmingham during the regular season finale. UNT lost to UAB, 6-0. Rachel Walters

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Bronte Hermesmeyer

Bronte Hermesmeyer

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