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Unique form of hitting adds dimension to WCWS while showcasing athleticism

By Scott Wright Modified: June 1, 2008 at 12:00 pm •  Published: June 1, 2008

"My senior year of high school, I batted from the right side, but I would bunt from the left side,” she said. "When I got to ULL, coach (Mike Lotief) started working with me.

"Good hand-eye coordination has a lot to do with it, putting the bat on the ball and trying to beat it out.”

The slap has created a niche for a talented athlete who might not have all the other skills necessary to be a top-level softball player.

"It brings a component to the kid who can really run but can't do a whole lot of other things,” Myers said. "You can't teach athleticism, so if you have a girl who has some coordination and is very fast, this is a tool that can get her an education. It gives an avenue to those fast, athletic kids that are not great hitters.”

Slapping has evolved from being occasionally implemented to a regular weapon.

Now, nearly every team has at least one, if not several, in the lineup.

"We spend time every day at practice defending the lefty slapper. That's how important I think it is,” Texas A&M coach Jo Evans said.

"It's such a threat, laying down a bunt or having the quickness to beat out a grounder. It makes a difference in the game. They set the table, and you let your big hitters go. I think it's been a great addition to the game.”

And the art of slapping is working its way down into youth leagues, too.

"I think there are enough kids out there that could be good at it or have the kind of speed that they should at least try to get on the left side,” Evans said. "I think a lot of coaches, especially coaches of young kids with any kind of speed, would be doing their kids a service to start putting them over on the left side.

"If more coaches could really commit to it, it'd be more exciting for our game.”

Virginia Tech's Whitney Davis runs to the ball as she tries to get a hit during the Hokies' game against Texas A&M on Thursday at the Women's College World Series. Davis was slapping at the ball, trying to hit it while she's running at the pitch. by CHRIS LANDSBERGER, THE OKLAHOMAN


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