Catcher finds second home in Houston
Hailing all the way from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., sophomore catcher Melissa Gregson is a force to be reckoned with on the softball field.
Behind the plate for Houston, (20-19, 5-7 C-USA) Gregson has had a solid season, hitting .280 in 37 starts to go with seven home runs, 23 RBI, 23 runs and 16 walks. This year’s numbers are similar to her freshman season in which she hit .275 and had eight home runs, 31 RBI, 23 runs, 36 hits and 24 walks.
“Coming into the season, I knew that we had a very young team, but I was really looking forward to stepping up and being a leader on the team,” Gregson said. “I’m probably one of the top hitters on the team right now. I think that my performance has showed that I’m a great player, and I’m here to work.”
A part of the 2009 Conference USA All-Freshman Team, Gregson has made strides to improve her game now that she is a sophomore team leader for the Cougars.
“Last year, I had the freshman jitters almost the entire year. This year, I know what’s coming at me, I know the type of pitchers I’m going to face, I know the type of team’s were going to face, and it makes it a lot easier going into a game when believing that you’re better than someone,” Gregson said.
It’s a big switch for a young player out of high school to move from California to Texas, but for Gregson it wasn’t a problem.
In her first college softball game on Feb. 6, 2009, against California, Gregson smashed a solo home run in only her second at bat. Gregson went one for two in the game, including a strikeout, but knew that the monkey was off her back, and it was time to go out and play.
“I was like, ‘Whoa’,” Gregson said with a laugh, thinking back to her first game. “That at bat before (the home run), I struck out. I got the strikeout, and I walked in the dugout and said, ‘I got my first strikeout out of the way.’ Then I crush a home run; it was probably one of the best feelings I ever had.”
Gregson received offers out of high school from numerous schools including Alabama, Pittsburgh, UC Riverside and UT, but chose UH after visiting the campus.
“I visited every school, but when I came here, and I met the coaching staff, and I met the girls, and I saw the facilities, it was just something inside of me was like, ‘Melissa this is where you belong.’ I love everything about Houston. There are so many things to do all the time,” Gregson said.
Located 40 miles east of Los Angeles, Rancho Cucamonga is a small city located at the base of the San Bernardino Mountains, and to her, it will always be home.
“There are so many things about it; it’s home for me. I love the mall that we have; it’s called Victoria Gardens, and I love going there,” Gregson said.
Gregson and the Cougars will be back on the field at 1 p.m. Saturday for a three-game home series against Memphis.