‘Always have a chip on my shoulder’
Paige Luellen continues to prove her doubters wrong
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Junior Paige Luellen has had everyone in the Missouri Valley Conference doubt her.
Luellen was two years removed from a season-ending ACL injury when she led the MVC in runs and was second in runs-batted-in last season. She was also selected for the All-MVC second team.
Even when the Shockers were winning and establishing themselves as one of the MVC’s best, Luellen was still fueled with a mindset of still having something to prove.
“I always have a chip on my shoulder,” Luellen said. “I have always been that type of person. I always feel like I have something to prove.”
This year, Luellen looks to have a better year and not letting herself get complacent. Last year, she had a batting average of .318, but her offensive prowess wasn’t her only use: she also did not commit a single error defensively.
“I am never someone who is satisfied; I am my own worst enemy,” Luellen said. “This year I am trying to have more fun and not get so consumed in what I am doing because I feel like that will help me better than what I was in the past.”
Luellen has the ability to be a playmaker in the big games. Last season on the road in Lincoln, Nebraska, Luellen led the Shockers offensively as she scored both of the team’s runs, one of which was a sixth inning home run to top No. 23 Nebraska 2-1.
Luellen’s big batting presence is something the coaching staff wants to see used more of with less reliance on certain parts of the strike zone, head coach Kristi Bredbenner said.
“Her biggest weakness last year was her mental game,” Bredbenner said. “She has to understand she has to have a better approach at the plate.”
Luellen also realizes she will have to be more assertive.
“I be more aggressive at the plate,” Luellen said. “Because I did walk a lot last year, I broke the record for walks last year, and so be more aggressive because we do need the power hitters within our lineup, so I need to step up and be one of those people.”
When Luellen does swing, she brings a lot of power. She hit 11 home runs last season. Perhaps her most explosive game came against Missouri State on the road, where she hammered off two homeruns in the first game of a double-header.
She followed with a double and a run in the second inning of the second game to start the scoring for the Shockers and leading to a 3-2 victory.
Not only has Luellen proved her talent, but also has the experience and leadership skills to really standout on the team.
“She provides the right type of experience we need especially at the plate,” Bredbenner said.
Other players agree.
“I know I can trust her whether it is on or off the field,” freshman Bailey Klitzke said.