Softball's `left side, strong side'
March 12, 2013
Alex Hubbard, TexasSports.com
AUSTIN, Texas – The phrase “left side, strong side” may be familiar to fans of Disney’s “Remember the Titans,” but it has also become a mantra for the left side of the Texas Softball infield.
“We are left side, strong side. When we are out there in the field, we don’t want to let anything get past us,” Thom said.
Through 26 games, the duo has definitely been strong, with both players near the top of the team in most offensive and defensive categories.
Thom has established herself as one of the most productive hitters in the Big 12. This season, she is hitting .405 (32-for-79) with eight home runs and 33 RBI. Thom’s eight home runs lead the team and rank in a tie for fourth in the conference, while she ranks second in the conference in RBI. Defensively, Thom has a .954 fielding percentage and has made only three errors in 65 chances.
“It’s great to see her playing so confidently,” Hoagland said of Thom. “We are excited to see what she can do for the rest of the season.”
Hoagland is again one of the toughest hitters to get out in the entire country. She leads the team in batting average (.469), slugging percentage (.875), on base percentage (.628), runs scored (29) and walks (28). She is tied for first with Thom in doubles, and is two behind Thom in home runs with six.
“She is our table setter. It is fun to see her get opportunities to swing the bat and put together solid nights for us,” Head coach Connie Clark said.
In her first season as the team’s regular third baseman, Hoagland has made only five errors in 74 chances.
Thom and Hoagland do all they can to motivate each other and the rest of their teammates.
“It’s more of helping each other out than competing,” Hoagland says. “We want to be big and let nothing by us. And then at the plate, I can always ask (Thom) what she is seeing or what I should watch for.”
When one of the two has success, it seems to inspire the other to do the same thing.
“We feed off of each other more than anything. It’s contagious,” Thom said.
Thom is also quick to credit Hoagland for motivating her and pushing her to be the best she can be.
“She helps me stay so confident. She is always telling me we have to be strong in the field,” Thom said of Hoagland. “My team has confidence in me, and she has confidence in me. It’s great to know all my teammates have my back. I know we can succeed together.”
Despite the fast start, Thom, Hoagland and the rest of their teammates are not satisfied.
“From here on out, we have to stay focused on the process and continue to play Texas softball,” Thom said.
The “strong” in “left side, strong side” fits the attitude of the entire roster. The 23-3 start is the result of hard work, but the team is focused on meeting the next three months of challenges with the same intensity they showed during the first month.
“We are really focused on playing relentless softball,” Hoagland said of the team’s mindset. “We just want to stay steady and keep picking each other up.”