Wichita State softball coach Kristi Bredbenner starts her fourth season with the Shockers on Friday in the Getterman Classic in Waco, Texas. WSU won its first MVC title last season and is the preseason favorite in 2015.
Q: Who is the newcomer softball fans should know about?
A: Mackenzie Wright. I think she’s slated to start this weekend for us, and whether it’s at shortstop or third will depend on if Kelli (Spring) is 100 percent because she’s coming back from a concussion. She’s just a good, gritty ballplayer. She’s going to have the dirtiest uniform on the team, by far. She really swings a good bat. Comes from a great travel-ball team. Really just does everything you would want. She works hard. She runs hard. She never gets shorted on a swing and can do a lot of great things defensively.
Q: Who is the player who made the most progress since fall practices?
(Pitcher) Katie Malone came back a lot stronger, a lot more focused. She has the potential to keep working and be that big-time No. 1 that every program wants. We knew it coming back from summer, but it has gotten even better from the fall to the winter. She has been able to take the rest of the pitching staff under her wing and be an example of how much hard work can pay off. She’s mature enough know to understand that there’s a time and a place for speed and there’s a time and a place to finesse a ball and keep somebody off balance.
Q: Which non-conference tournament do you feel will test and prepare your team the most?
All of them. I think we’re playing a really tough schedule in the next four weeks. Baylor, Texas, UAB. We play Fullerton, UCLA and Stanford at Long Beach State. We start off (at home) against Oklahoma. Our home tournament will have Nebraska and South Dakota. All those teams are good RPI teams from last year. Every game is going to be a true test of whether or not our team can feel like they can compete with that team or are they going to be in awe of that team. We can compete with anybody. We have nothing to lose against some of those big teams.