In the world of sports, trade deadline deals can be a big momentum boost to a team. You see it all the time in baseball and basketball, where star players will be shopped around the league so a team can acquire them and make the all-important playoff push. Unfortunately for the Longhorns, trading players is not allowed in college softball. But they do have the next best thing to a big time acquisition.
Junior outfielder Courtney Craig came back into the lineup last week after a wrist injury kept her out of most of the first half of the season. She was a First Team All-Big 12 selection her freshman year, and a Second Team selection her sophomore year.
She struggled a bit at the plate last week but came back strong in the double-header yesterday against Texas A&M Corpus Christi, going a combined 2-for-4 in the games with two RBI.
“I was struggling a little bit when I first came back, but I really put some extra work into it and came back with a completely different mind-set and just ready to play,” Craig said.
Along with her hitting, she was working the count well and really aided her team by coming up with a clutch hit to put what turned out to be the winning run on the board in the second game.
“Tonight she was starting to look like her old self, I think she’ll just continue to get hot for us and get more comfortable the more swings she gets,” said Texas head coach Connie Clark.
Craig has been on the shelf for a while now and is itching to get back on the field, looking at the second half of the season as a new start for her. She has pretty much mentally and physically moved on from the wrist injury and has put any doubts about the wrist out of her mind, letting her wrist protector be the one to worry about the wrist.
“I have that glove on for protection, but I do not even worry about that. It would mess up my mental game,” Craig said. “I am just playing and doing what I can for the team.”
Craig’s addition to the already potent Longhorn lineup will be a big boost to the team especially at the designated player position, which is an area in the lineup where they have struggled to find consistency at all season long.
“We need her, we feel like we’ve had one spot that DP slot, we’ve had a lot of people with different looks in that slot and no one has grabbed it and taken it, and it’s kind of been there for the taking, and I think she is excited about it,” Clark said.
Craig will be consistently thrown into that spot in the line-up as they go into Big 12 play, and the team will need all the offense help they can get because the conference is looking as tough as ever with seven other Big 12 teams being ranked in the top 25.