Seriously, Why Would You Pitch To Lexie Elkins?
Once every 4.5 at bats, Ragin' Cajun Softball Catcher Lexie Elkins hits another home run. Coaches keep testing the law of averages...but why?
After clubbing five balls over the wall in a double-header against Appalachian State, Elkins' home run total sits at 25. Sure, the competition level in Boone wasn't exactly championship level. That's still not an excuse for giving one of the most dangerous hitters in all of collegiate softball a pitch to hit, and it's happening a lot.
Elkins doesn't even lead the Cajuns in walks. Kelsey Vincent earned the most free passes on the team so far (30), which is honestly surprising. The Cajuns' lineup is stacked, but don't you think the team, league and national leader in home runs would get a couple intentional walks?
Head Ragin' Cajun Softball Coach Michael Lotief repeated all year that great pitchers will still go after his ferocious swinging catcher. Baylor tried it, and Elkins hit one over the wall in their series opener. The Cajuns also won that game.
Look at it this way: if you decide to play chicken with a bulldozer, should anybody be surprised when you get ran over?
Not only is Elkins solid with the bat and quick with the swing, her ability to hit pitches outside of the strike zone is deadly to opposing pitchers. Even playing it safe can result in a fan-pleasing souvenir. Catchers spend so much energy behind the plate, mentally and physically, that they often can't afford to literally sweat the small stuff at the dish. That's not the case with Elkins. Patience is the key, and even the pitcher's safest miss can turn into a fatal mistake.
Inspecting the Cajun lineup, the easiest excuse for serving a chicken dinner to a carnivore lies in Elkins' surroundings.
How many other lineups sport a leadoff hitter with 11 HR's and 26 total extra base hits? Hayley Hayden is the first branch in the face walking down the brutal trail that is the Cajun lineup. Follow that up with Shellie Landry (16 HR, 49 RBI), and here comes Elkins...but why not still walk her in a crucial situation? Samantha Walsh (8 HR, 30 RBI) and Kelsey Vincent (14 HR, 31 RBI) wait in the wings, and the bottom of the lineup is starting to click as well.
You could call Elkins' year at the plate many things: an onslaught, an attack on the sanctity of the circle, a blatant warning for pitchers to avoid their own error...but please don't call it a statistical trend. Respectfully, she would love to smash that record like everything else people assume is out of reach.
The remainder of the season will tell how opposing pitchers choose to treat Lexie Elkins' bat. Please, don't say they haven't been warned.