Sammy Paige, a freshman studying music, said she has played third baseman in softball for most of her life. She said she looks forward to playing in her first semester at BYU-Idaho.
She said she has played softball for 10 years, six of which were in little league and four in high school.
She said she is excited to play competitive softball in spring semester.
Paige said she got into playing softball because of a push from her father.
“He taught me batting,” Paige said.
She said he taught her to “squish the bug.”
Squishing the bug means that, when hitting, the player’s back foot should not be lifted, but should twist as if squishing a bug beneath their foot.
Brandon Merrit, an umpire at BYU-I and a junior studying math education, said “squishing the bug” is used to help players keep their back foot planted so the hips can widen, keeping their weight back. The player uses their front foot to step toward the pitcher.
Paige said she enjoys certain types of drills to help her have success.
“My favorite practice routine is situational hitting and fielding,” Paige said. “You have a couple people on base and practice.”
Situational hitting and fielding means that the players have live pitching and react according to how you would react in a live game.
Merrit said drills like situational hitting and fielding are essential to a player’s success in a real game.
“We see how many teams even in the pros can’t get the ‘key’ hit, and because of that, they lose the momentum not only in the current game, but it carries into the next one,” Merrit said. “If you don’t practice situations, then players over think and freeze when in the moment.”
Paige said a player that she learned a lot from was Jennie Finch. She said she would watch her and mimic how she performed.
Like Paige, Jennie Finch, a professional softball player, said family is important to her, and she credits them for much of her success, according to the Jennie Finch official website.
“Doug (Finch), spent countless hours working with Jennie over the years,” according to the Jennie Finch website. “Doug did whatever he could to accelerate his daughter’s progress. He constructed a batting cage in the backyard and would sit for hours on an up-ended bucket while she threw to him. He even transformed a small trampoline into a pitch-back she could use on evenings when he worked late. He eventually became her personal coach.”