Shocker softball slides into AAC


Joseph Barringhaus

A new conference brings new opponents and changes to the way the Shocker Softball team prepares.

The buzz may surround Shocker basketball, but don’t sleep on Shocker softball.

As the Shockers enter the bigger, more competitive American Athletic Conference, all eyes have been on the prospect of a conference championship.

Just last season, the softball team twice defeated AAC defending champions, Tulsa, so expectations are understandably high, despite a much younger team.

However, they will face a number of new challenges, including increased team travel and a decreased practice time.

Joseph Barringhaus
Wilkins Stadium on Wichita State’s main campus is the “Home of Shocker Softball.”

“There’s going to be a lot more traveling, and at that point it goes down to two practices a week which isn’t a ton of time to really build or improve somebody,” Head Coach Kristi Bredbenner said.

Bredbenner has gained six incoming freshman and a new transfer player on the heels of losing eight players—including seven seniors—from last season. Bredbenner also has a new assistant coach and hitting coach in Elizabeth Economon, who’s been with the team for only a month.

“For us, the thing that’s nice about being a spring sport is we have a lot more time for evaluation and practice to really break things down,”Bredbenner said.

“We’re going to spend the time after that last game up until Christmas break trying to make them the most prepared, because when we come back in January we have one month and then it’s a hellacious ride,” Bredbenner said.

A new conference brings new opponents and changes to the way the team prepares.

“Preparation is going to be totally different and we haven’t quite gotten to that point yet,” Bredbenner said. “What we’ll probably do here once things slow down is start asking for some scouting reports on some of the teams in our conference.”

Economon said she has a singular focus for the upcoming season.

“My individual goal is to score more runs,” Economon said. “We have a lot of good hitters and good offense, we just need to figure out how to maximize run production and make the pitcher’s lives a little bit easier.”

Joseph Barringhaus
Coach Elizabeth Economon, the Shockers hitting coach, practices her swing.

Bredbenner said she has a vision for the team.

“We feel like we know what type of team we’re going to need to have success, but we have to fill in the pieces to get there.”