GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- UND softball senior Rachael Waynick is having a breakthrough season; leading the team with a .324 batting average and an on-base percentage of .383.
In a different life, however, the Fighting Hawks would be without their leading batsman, in fact she wouldn’t even be playing softball.
“I never wanted to play softball, I was always a basketball player,” Waynick said. “One day, my best friend’s mom, who was also the summer softball coach, asked me to come play because they needed an extra sub.”
Despite the lack of experience, Waynick took a chance and gave it her all.
“I ended up showing up with a t-ball glove, long soccer socks, and soccer cleats; which is really embarrassing now that I think about it, but I’m so glad that I decided to play that day because it got me here.”
That chance paid off and landed her a spot on a Division I softball team. Unfortunately, the basketball-turned-softball player struggled at the plate in her first three seasons. While improving each season, she still only recorded averages of .103, .115 and .169 during her first three seasons.
But for her final season at North Dakota, Waynick has nearly tripled her batting average from last season. She is also ranked in the top three on the team in hits (34), runs scored (16), doubles (5), total bases (44), slugging percentage (.419), and on-base percentage (.383).
Waynick acknowledges that she’s had her share of struggles with hitting over the past three years, and having put too much pressure on herself while at the plate.
“This year I came in thinking that I’m going to do all that I can to be the best hitter I can be and that meant just hitting for contact. Knowing that it was my last year, I wanted to have a good time with it and possibly go out with a bang.”
Waynick has learned a lot about softball over the years and enjoys teaching those who share the love of the sport.
“When you play softball, or baseball, you have to keep pushing forward and to let things roll off you because this game is a game of failure,” Waynick advised about the game. “You always have to keep pushing and not give up. You have to be able to find it in yourself to brush things off and not let things bother you. The best way to get out of a slump is to keep swinging and good things will happen.”
When thinking of the improvements she’s made to her game during her senior year, Waynick had, maybe, the simplest advice.“I was just trying to have fun with it, and maybe that was the key to it all.”