UW Oshkosh softball player Hannah Ritter was named by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) as the NCAA’s National Division III Player Of The Week for April 4-10.
During that week of play, Ritter was able to rack up a slugging percentage of .957, as well as 13 runs, five doubles and 10 RBI.
Coach Scott Breyer said that she achieved it due to her mindset.
“Hannah is very disciplined and consistent,” he said. “And that’s what makes her a great hitter. No moment is too big for her to control herself, which really helps her.”
Ritter was one of UWO’s returning players and has established herself as a skilled player as last year she was Third Team All-American. She said that she is aware of the reputation that she has generated, as pitchers are able to recognize her and have started to try and outplay her.
She said, “I’ve had to change my mental approach to become a smarter batter, so I don’t get out as often. I’ve even been facing speeds around 55-62 mph for my pitches.”
Ritter’s mentality is the base of what makes her ideal as a player, she doesn’t swing emotionally and does not let the environment get the best of her, which makes a good role model for her teammates, especially the underclassmen. Breyer said that Ritter’s kind of mentality is what he wants from his underclassmen.
“For the freshman, it’s a learning process,” he said. “They’re young and hungry and so when the season starts, it’s actually easier for them with that hunger. Once they’ve been punched in the mouth, we scoop them up and show them how to better themselves. We try to focus on what worked, what didn’t work and how to stay calm. We work on that as a team a lot, how can we trust the process instead of just focusing on hits. Just mental things like trigger words, smiling or where we swing.”
Ritter said it’s important to practice game mentality.
“We talk a lot at practice about playing with intent,” she said. “Practicing how we play and little stuff because we’re all good at softball, but we can always improve. We need to consistently work to notice and improve all that we can. The support from my coaches and team has been insane.”
Ritter is the first UWO player to be recognized by the NFCA since 2010s Whitney Tornow.The UWO softball team will next face off against UW-Eau Claire Saturday in an away double-header at 2 & 4 p.m.