North Texas Daily

Softball player off to hot start at the plate

Softball player off to hot start at the plate

Softball player off to hot start at the plate
February 23
23:43 2015

Reece Waddell / Staff Writer

Crack. A little yellow ball flies high into the lights and over the fence for a home run not once, but twice on Feb. 6. The first time was to center field, the next time to left field. Junior utility player Taylor Schoblocher was in a zone on opening night and has stayed in it.

Schoblocher, or “Schotime” as she’s referred to by her teammates, has improved dramatically this season. Aside from leading the team in almost every offensive category, Schoblocher has hit for a .595 batting average, smashed eight home runs, driven 21 runs and has a slugging percentage of 1.630. She had five home runs last season and batted .271 with a slugging percentage of .438. She also led the team in strikeouts with 42.

Schoblocher said she believes her breakout start to the season is more than just a “hot streak” and that she can perform at a high level night in and night out.

“At the beginning, I thought it was kind of just a streak. But after I kept getting hits I thought, ‘Alright, this is more than that,’” she said. “I’m seeing the ball really well right now and knowing that I’m a danger factor to other teams makes me feel tremendous.”

So far this year, Schoblocher has an on-base percentage of .667, the highest on the team. In many instances, teams will simply pitch around her rather than give her a chance to hit. She said knowing teams fear her has made a difference in her confidence level and approach at the plate.

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Junior utility player Taylor Schoblocher jumps forward to throw the ball toward the infield during practice on Feb. 2. Photo by Ryan Vance – Senior Staff Photographer

“I love when teams pitch around me. It makes me feel good, but more importantly it makes my teammates feel good, knowing they get a chance to do what I’m doing and prove themselves,” Schoblocher said.

Head coach Tracey Kee has also seen a vast improvement in Schoblocher. Kee said she sees a calmness in Schoblocher that wasn’t there last year.

“She looks incredibly calm and confident when she steps into the box,” Kee said. “I had Taylor last season and she was just all over the place mechanically. It looked at times she would go up to the plate without a plan. That isn’t the case now.”

During the offseason, North Texas brought on Natalie Kozlowski to serve as the hitting coach. Kozlowski, who has ties with Kee from East Carolina, seems to be a catalyst in Schoblocher’s improvement.

“I think a lot of it is we brought in a new hitting coach, and [Schoblocher] is just using a much more controlled, relaxed swing,” Kee said.

Even after surpassing her homerun total from last year in just 10 games, Schoblocher said she did not go into the offseason looking to solely improve her power.

“I mainly worked on the little things,” Schoblocher said. “Sticking to the mechanics, putting them all together and making sure everything came together at the same time.”

Kee said while a good, mechanical swing helps, it will only get a player so far. She said confidence is a major cog to success at the plate.

“I’ve seen some kids that have a great swing but aren’t confident and don’t put up the numbers and I’ve also seen players with lots of confidence and an ugly swing but can hit every time they step into the box. So yes, confidence in extremely important,” Kee said.

Schoblocher said she can’t really explain how she’s done so well, other than that she’s been extremely focused and locked in during every at bat.

“When I hit two against Texas Southern, I was in a zone. I just kept telling myself, ‘You do you and stay inside yourself.’ I always try and stay humble,” Schoblocher said.

Junior second baseman Karly Williams said it’s been jaw-dropping at times watching her teammate’s hot start to the season.

“It’s pretty impressive,” Williams said. “I’ve never seen anything like it, even on other teams. It’s just been incredible to watch.”

Schoblocher’s offensive firepower has made life easier for the rest of the team, and Williams said that’s a big positive.

“Coming up after someone who has hit six bombs in a weekend takes the pressure off you because you know you have someone like her who will just come up and knock you in,” Williams said.

Schoblocher has already been named the Conference USA Player of the Week and has also gotten the Amateur Softball Association/USA Softball Player of the Week award. She said she’s not used to awards, and it’s still early in the season. In many ways, she has been just as in awe as everyone watching her.

“Honestly, this whole thing has been pretty comical,” Schoblocher said.

Featured Image: Junior left fielder Taylor Schoblocker jogs down the third base line after crushing one over the fence against Boise State on Feb. 7. Schoblocker was 4-for-4 with four RBIs and three runs. Photo by Tom Gonzalez – Staff Photographer

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