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Crossing Home Plate

What's on your mind?

by NumeroUno » Mon Sep 26, 2022 7:55 am

This is from Katie Cochran, in my opinion one of the best players to ever play this game.
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Crossing Home Plate with Kate: Believing in the Process

Freshman year. What a rollercoaster ride of emotions. I remember arriving at our first team meeting not knowing what to expect. Will I fit in? Will I be able to make it out here on my own? The rush of doubt came over me.

Then, walked in Coach Myers—the new head coach for ASU. He introduced himself and then ever so calmly said two things: “We are going to win a PAC 10 Championship and a National Championship. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

I remember looking up at him and hearing him say this without any hesitation or crack in his voice. I came to college only dreaming of such things…not actually thinking they could become a reality. But, for whatever reason, I believed him.

When school was underway, I began to understand what it took to become a college student-athlete: wake up at 6am, go to classes until about 2pm, practice until 5:30-6, dinner, go to mandatory study hall, and pass out on your bed (if you made it there) from the long day. Then wake up the next morning and do it all over again. At times I felt like a robot but I knew that everything I was doing and working so hard for had a greater purpose.

I remember feeling homesick from time to time so whenever Coach gave us the green light to visit our family I did. However, even if I couldn’t go home to see them, I knew they were always a phone call away. I can’t even begin to explain how grateful I was for their support…it meant the world to me.

We had a few Fall Ball scrimmages and the team looked promising. Coach Myers was an absolute delight to be able to learn from. He put me in my place when I needed it but he worked with us so hard on learning the ins and outs of the game. In other words we didn’t just work on fundamentals or getting in good physical shape. There was so much more for us to grasp.

Two runner run downs, 1st and 3rd defense, and bunt defense is where I learned how to run the bases because boy did I need to improve—I was probably one of the worst at this. I swear sometimes I think my brain left my body when I was on the bases. The trivial mistakes I would make over and over again could’ve made anyone coaching me go crazy—and it did.

But, one thing I appreciated was ALL of my coaches at ASU were patient with me and understood that things just took longer for some of us to understand.

The spring came and I was so nervous but ready to get the season started. My first game I went 1 for 4….not bad not great. In the middle of my second game there was a switch that was set off inside of me and by the end of the weekend I had four homers and 20 RBIs. I was given the honor of PAC 10 Player of the Week.

I recall the school sports psychologist that I spoke with from time to time had asked in our session that week why I hadn’t mentioned winning the award. Let’s just say I didn’t like talking about myself like that. My parents raised me to be humble, not to brag about my accomplishments.

As the season moved along, our team was starting to make a name for itself as conference play inched closer. This was the real test. The PAC 10 was the toughest conference to play in at the time and we all felt the pressure brewing.

Trying to balance classes, travel, and playing at an elite level was tough. Rest was mandatory for me and something I definitely prioritized. I honestly didn’t do much outside of softball and school when the season came around. I didn’t want much more than that on my plate.

Conference play was rough. One weekend you could feel on top of the world and then at the bottom of the barrel the next. From facing Danielle Lawrie to Anjelica Selden to Kristina Thorson to Alicia Hollowell to Brianne McGowan there were NO breaks. However, it made my team and I better and that much more prepared for the postseason.

In fact, when we made it to the Women’s College World Series 4 out of the 8 teams (including ASU) were from the PAC. But we were a young team that had a lot to understand about playing on that stage.

Our first game was against none other than the University of Texas and the great Cat Osterman. If my memory serves me correct, we helped set the record for Cat Osterman’s strikeout record in a game at the WCWS.

THAT. WAS. BRUTAL. I remember going back to the hotel feeling an overwhelming level of defeat and then getting to watch myself strikeout three times over and over again on ESPN which made the sting of defeat hurt even more.

But then the sun came up the next morning. Our team had the day off and we had a light practice. The next day we won our next game against Oregon State. Then, we played the University of Tennessee and lost a heartbreaker to them in 10 innings. Our season was over.

All I could think about was how much I wanted to come back and avenge our losses. At that moment I KNEW with every fiber of my being that Coach Myers was right. We were going to win a PAC 10 Championship and a National Championship. Our time just hadn’t come yet.

Until next time,

Katie C.

Enjoy the Journey
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NumeroUno
 
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