O’Dell brings power to the plate


Jason Howell

Bailey O'Dell

Sean Hastings, Staff reporter

Senior shortstop for the Eastern softball team, Bailey O’Dell, is showing more power at the plate this year than any of her previous years as a Panther.

O’Dell currently leads the team with eight home runs, with three of those coming in the first seven games of their conference schedule. O’Dell also had 12 RBI’s in those seven games.

Her performance in the games against Austin Peay, Eastern Kentucky and Morehead State earned her the “Top Cat” honor from the Daily Eastern News Staff.

O’Dell’s power at the plate used to not be a very common occurrence for her.

“I’ve never really been a homerun hitter,” O’Dell said.

Since she is not usually a homerun hitter, she said it feels great to be able to do it now and contribute to the team in that way.

“It’s nice especially when your team is behind to hit the homerun,” O’Dell said. “It’s probably the best feeling in the world to help your team out that much and to get those go ahead runs.”

In her senior year, she has really found the power stroke. She has more home runs through 23 games this season than she has had in any other full season. She is three shy of reaching her total between the three years combined.

“I don’t know why this year,” O’Dell said. “Maybe just my timing is better. Maybe I’m just lifting more weights.

Her previous season high for home runs was six in her sophomore year.

All of the home runs that O’Dell hits helps contribute to her team high .425 batting average.

The high average gives O’Dell more confidence when she steps up to the plate.

“When I’m hitting the ball and having a good batting average, you just feel more confident,” O’Dell said. “I know that’s why I’m being so successful is because it gives you more confidence in yourself.

Besides being a power threat at the plate, O’Dell is also a major run producer, leading the team with 25 runs batted in and she has also scored 23 times. Sophomore Amber Toenyes is second on the list with 15 RBI’s.

Twelve of her 25 RBI’s came in those last seven games.

Her biggest game of them all was the second game against Austin Peay.

O’Dell went 3-4 in the game, with a grand slam and five RBI’s. She also scored a run on a hit by senior Hannah Cole after doubling and driving in junior Jennette Isaac.

When she hit her grand slam, she didn’t even realize that she had done it.

“I didn’t even know I had hit a grand slam until I came in,” O’Dell said.

She also felt the best in that game out of the seven that they played.

O’Dell said she really felt like she was seeing the ball and that is a big part of why she was successful. She said that when she doesn’t see it as well is when she struggles.

“In that game, it was like a beach ball,” O’Dell said.

O’Dell loves that she was able to contribute the team as much as she did.

“Whether I’m doing it offensively or defensively, anything I can do to help the team is awesome,” O’Dell said. “It’s what my job is as a teammate, as a player is to do anything I can to help the team and I feel like I have so far.”

Junior April Markowski said O’Dell means a lot to the team.

“I think although ‘Bay’ might not be the most vocal, everyone still looks up to her,” Markowski said. “She’s a great role model. She’s great offensively and defensively. We have a lot of faith in her to always get the job done.”

Markowski joked that the reason for O’Dell’s success is because she sings her a special song to her every time she is at bat.

O’Dell’s success at the plate can rub off onto to other players because “hitting is contagious.”

She said that if one player can hit a double or get on base somehow, it builds the confidence of everyone hitting behind them, and that if she can hit it the other players will believe that they can as well.

O’Dell’s solid hitting doesn’t only help the hitters get better, it also helps freshman pitcher Jessica Wireman with her pitching.

“When I face (O’Dell) in practice, it makes me a better pitcher because I have to be perfect with every pitch I throw her,” Wireman said.

From a hitters standpoint for Wireman, she learns that no matter what her size is, she can be a powerful hitter.

For the rest of the season, O’Dell said she is just going to take each at bat one at a time and not focus on an end number for RBIs and home runs and will just focus on getting on base to help the team win.

Sean Hastings can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].