When Wichita State softball coach Kristi Bredbenner went looking for a hitting coach, she knew she didn’t need someone to revamp the offense.
The Shockers won their Missouri Valley Conference title last spring with a fearsome batting order that led the conference in batting average (.314), slugging percentage (.492) and home runs (56). Bredbenner hired Nicole Hudson, formerly an assistant at NCAA Division II Missouri Southern, to keep those numbers rolling. She replaces Samantha Ricketts, now an assistant at Mississippi State.
“There were definitely some people that applied for the job that I was like ‘That hitting approach isn’t going to work here,’” Bredbenner said. “We don’t need somebody to come in and change Cacy Williams’ or Brittany Fortner’s swings. We need somebody to come in here and let them continue to get better with their at-bats … find ways to make them better outside of the mechanical stuff.”
Hudson, from Webb City, Mo., spent one season at Missouri Southern after a standout career at Missouri. She earned All-Big 12 honors and hit 46 career home runs, one short of the school record. She played in two Women’s College World Series and played for the U.S.National Team in the World Cup of Softball and the Pan American Games.
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“Going to the Women’s College World Series twice, that’s something that’s going to be huge for her to bring to this program,” Bredbenner said. “We’ve taken that next step towards being able to win the conference. We have yet to win the conference tournament. That kind of experience she has is going to help.”
Hudson played third base and outfield at Missouri and served as the No. 2 starter as a senior. She will work with outfielders at WSU.
“She’s bringing a lot of on-the-field experience,” Bredbenner said. “She basically played anywhere she could to keep her offense in the lineup. She’s been coached by a number of high-caliber coaches and her ability to learn from them on what you would and wouldn’t do will be something that’s great.”
Former Butler County Community College and Arkansas shortstop Clarisa Navarro joined the staff as a volunteer assistant. Last season, she led the Razorbacks with a .353 batting average and 12 doubles to earn a spot on the NFCA All-South Region second team.