The primary team goal of winning games gets a little easier when individuals produce great statistics, and that has been the case for the Tarleton State University Texans softball team.
While pitcher Jordan Withrow recently became only the second player in TSU softball history to strike out 500 batters, power-hitting teammate Georgia Capell has been ripping the cover off the ball at the plate to help boost the team.
Withrow and Capell were named preseason All-Americans by Fastpitch News. Withrow was selected as a second-team pitcher and Capell was chosen for honorable mention.
Tarleton played a three-game Lone Star Conference softball series Thursday and Friday (April 18-19) at Eastern New Mexico. TSU entered that series at 33-11 overall, and in fifth place in the conference at 15-9.
Capell entered last week’s play in the top 10 nationally in five hitting categories, including second in runs batted in and third in home runs.
Withrow, who was named as the preseason Pitcher of the Year for the Lone Star Conference, recently earned Pitcher of the Week honors after winning all four of her decisions that week. She was the winning pitcher in TSU’s 10-4 victory on April 11 over eighth-ranked Texas A&M-Commerce.
Withrow said the players have been taking one game at a time, focusing on the here and now.
“I believe that is a key to the success we’ve had so far,” said Withrow, a junior right-hander from Trenton. “In the fall we did mental training.”
Withrow had successful surgery to correct a rib and neck problem she had developed.
“The beginning of the season was a little rough,” Withrow said. “I feel like I’m finally starting to hit my stride as a player. I don’t believe I've reached my full potential as a player.”
Having a talented arm is not the only thing that makes a pitcher successful, she noted.
“As a mental standpoint, I believe I can improve,” she said. “Softball is such a mental game. You have to have it upstairs, too.”
Capell said the team aspect in softball helps on the offensive side of the game.
“Hitting is contagious,” said Capell, a right-handed sophomore right-fielder from Midlothian who last year became the first freshman in program history to become an All-America pick.
Capell said that one of the team’s mottos is “Pass the stick” — meaning that the players always work to take up the slack whenever needed.
“If you don’t get the job done, hopefully the person behind you has your back.”
Capell said that since last season, she has improved on hitting through the ball "better than before.”
She had 16 home runs through the first 44 games this season, along with 55 RBI and a hefty slugging percentage of .888 and a batting average of .418 — all team-highs.
“It’s pretty exciting to have your name in there (the statistics), but in the end that’s not a big deal,” Capell said. “It’s more meaningful to have fun — and winning with my team."