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Lady Commodores making use of the long ball

By Dustin Kent
In the entirety of the 2019 season, Gulf Coast hit 35 total home runs as a team. Through just 22 games of the 2020 campaign, the Lady Commodores appear poised to shatter that mark this season.

Gulf Coast (14-8) hit nine homers in four games last week - all wins - including three from Emily Greek and two from Summer Johnson.

That puts the Lady Commodores at 24 home runs for the season, which is good for 15th in the country a year after finishing 64th nationally.

However, first-year Gulf Coast coach Scot Allen said it’s not something that he puts much emphasis on with his hitters.

“We’re not really focusing on that,” he said. “We are hitting home runs, and as long as we keep swinging at good pitches and making good contact we’ll have a chance to do more of that. But we’re really working on going gap to gap and using the big part of the field. If we hit one out of the park every now and then, that’s great to do that.

“We’ve got some good people putting the bat on the ball and doing good things for us.”

Greek led the way with a .545 average and seven RBI over the four games to raise her season average to .293 after a slow start.

She also doubled her home run total to give herself six on the season, though she still trails Johnson for the team lead with nine.

Taylor Robinson has four homers and is one of three Gulf Coast players currently batting .400 or better, with Caroline Wooley leading the Lady Commodores with a gaudy .534 average.

Johnson is up next with a .472 average with a team-best OPS of 1.600 and 39 RBI.

While the power surge last week was welcome, Allen said he was more impressed and encouraged with his players’ plate discipline.

Gulf Coast hitters drew 18 walks while striking out just six times over the four games, bringing their season walk total (61) nearly even with their season strikeout total (67).

“One thing about Emily Greek is I challenged her to get more walks,” Allen said. “She only had one walk going into the week and got three more. Hannah Segars is closing the strikeout-to-walk ratio, too. They did a good job of that and they’re seeing better pitches.

“My whole thing is if you get a good pitch early in the count then it’s fine to go after it. Go gap to gap and hopefully that means we’ll get a little power action out of it, but the biggest thing as far as what the strikeout-to-walk ratio generally tells you is if you’re swinging at good pitches or not. I think we’re doing a pretty good job of that overall.”

It certainly didn’t hurt that last week’s games were the first of the season at Joe Tom King Field for the Lady Commodores, who continue their homestand this week with six more games on their home field - two doubleheaders with Georgia Military on Friday and Saturday, and another against Southeastern Illinois College on Sunday.

“Yeah, it’s been good to be home, and we’ve got another couple of weekends we’ll get to be at home, so we’re excited about that,” Allen said. “I know the girls are happy about it after being on the road so much. I think it’s a good feeling to take advantage of the home field, sleeping in their own beds, that type of thing.

“We’ve got five more doubleheaders at home before we get into conference play. Those should be confidence builders and we can take advantage of that.”

 

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