Senior saving best for last
Yogi Berra once said baseball is 90 percent mental and the other half physical. It seems the same could be said for baseball’s sister sport of softball, as Senior pitcher Amanda Crabtree adopted the mantra and is having her best season yet.
Crabtree has 12 wins, six losses and a 1.14 ERA. She has also recorded 211 strikeouts and three no-hitters. Monday, Crabtree was awarded with her third Conference USA Pitcher of the Week award for her stellar weekend performance at Southern Miss. She allowed no runs in 11.1 innings of play, and walked just three batters.
She credits her success to her new mental edge.
“In the past three years my mentality has been the thing that has held me back,” Crabtree said.
“They worked with me and worked with me and this year everything started to click. Honestly, it has been the missing puzzle piece.”
This season, the softball team has been working with sports psychologist Brian Cain to gain a better understanding of the mental aspects of the game.
“One of the main things he talks about is having a routine,” Crabtree said. “If you watch me pitch you can see that I kind of do the same thing over, and over, and over. I just hope every game is a consistent outing.”
Crabtree’s hard work has paid off. In February, Crabtree pitched her first and second no-hitters of her college career and earned back-to-back C-USA and USA Pitcher of the Week honors, as well as being named to the QTI Powers Invitational All-Tournament team.
Freshman Haley Outon was the catcher for Crabtree’s no-hitters and said Crabtree’s ability to follow her routine makes her a leader.
“She really knows how to get out of any mental block she may have,” Outon said. “She’s good at picking herself up.
“We kind of all look at her as the ‘momma’ of the team and follow her. It’s great because when she does well we all do well.”
Crabtree transferred from Oklahoma State in 2008, and head coach Kyla Holas said she sees a different pitcher than the one who first set foot at UH.
“She’s more of a pitcher now instead of a thrower,” Holas said. “I think she sometimes lets some mental mistakes control her, but she has worked hard to step that up. She can throw anything at anytime and make it count with the physical fundamentals she puts in her pitches.”
Crabtree grew up playing a variety of sports besides baseball, including swimming and volleyball. Though she ultimately settled with softball, her experiences in other sports have aided her success.
“Swimming has very intense training so it prepared me for some of the things that you go through the older you get,” Crabtree said. “I think that everything I’ve gone through in my past has helped get to where I am today in softball.”
Crabtree is an elementary education major and said once her college playing days are over she will give softball lessons, in large part to stay in touch with the game.