Wichita State softball’s dinner and auction is Saturday and the Shockers open their fall schedule with a scrimmage on Sunday. Associate head coach Elizabeth Economon is here to update fans on newcomers making a good impression this fall, how the program’s success changes recruiting and how the coaches challenge returners such as Addison Barnard and Sydney McKinney. We also discuss the opening at first base, Jessica Garcia’s career arc and the new batting cages built next to Wilkins Stadium. We wrap up by breaking down the accuracy of the “Coach E impressions” video directed by McKinney and featuring her teammates, sunglasses and a bucket hat.
ESPN+ broadcaster Steve Strain previews this weekend’s UCF-Wichita State softball clash at Wilkins Stadium. We talk about how the Knights use their speed and pitching, how the Shockers counter with power hitting and what this series means to the big picture. We also discuss the improvement in the Shockers pitching staff and how hitters such as Neleigh Herring. Zoe Jones and Lauren Lucas are crucial to the success. Steve talks about his impressions of Wichita State’s dynamic top-of-the-order hitters Sydney McKinney and Addison Barnard.
Wichita State softball coach Kristi Bredbenner joins us after win No. 300 brings her within 11 wins of passing Jim Maynard as the program’s winningest coach. We get nostalgic over the 2014 team that won the team’s first MVC title, weird injuries and first baseman Cacy Williams’ influence on those early years. Bredbenner tells us how former Wichita State senior associate athletic director Becky Endicott sent a secret emissary to gauge her interest in the job in 2011. We also talk about how advice from her father helped during tough times and detail her biggest wins and two regrets.
First baseman Neleigh Herring and infielder Madyson Espinosa join the podcast to talk about the start of softball season, pets and candy. We discuss their roles in team chemistry, what they learned from fall scrimmages and newcomers to watch. We also dive into Espinosa’s “Shocks” tattoo and her affection for the team, how Hank the guinea pig helped win an important series last season and the whys of shortstop Sydney McKinney’s talents. And, of course, we talk about Hi-Chew candy and Espinosa’s role in that part of Shocker softball.
Wichita State softball assistant Presley Bell joins the podcast to discuss fall practices. She breaks down her pitching staff and talks about some of the position players who caught her eye. Bell also talks about her coaching influences, how team chemistry works for the Shockers and how often last season’s NCAA regional success is mentioned. We wrap up with Christmas talk – presents for her dogs, favorite song and favorite foods.
Associate head coach Elizabeth Economon returns to the podcast to set up fall practices for the Shockers. We talk about recruiting with the momentum of 2021 behind the program, replacing key infield spots and how two transfers might fit in. We also discuss why shortstop Sydney McKinney hits all kind of pitches all over the field, pets of the Shockers and which softball player might offer the most interesting conversation at the softball dinner and auction on Sept. 25.
Wichita State softball pitching coach Presley Bell joins the podcast to discuss her path in softball from Houston Cougars pitcher to graduate manager/graduate assistant at Wichita State and recently promoted assistant coach. Bell discusses her thoughts on Shocker pitching in 2022, how she is learning the recruiting game this summer and her adjustment to coaching at first base for the first time. Bell also talks about her favorite Wichita pizza, Friends episodes and her dogs Bonnie and Clyde.
Wichita State senior Bailee Nickerson talks about her hometown’s famous monument, learning how to practice the Kristi Bredbenner way and when she saw the potential for big things in 2021. Nickerson started in left field against Auburn in her first college game and rarely left the lineup during her career. She discusses her adjustment to college softball, which former teammate she borrowed her walk-up song from and the similarities between the 2018 Shocker NCAA team and the current edition.
Third baseman Ryleigh Buck and shortstop Sydney McKinney discuss winning the conference title, their walk-up songs and the season’s top defensive plays. McKinney reveals her secret about Hi-Chew candy. They also talk about when they knew the Shockers had something special going and the big summer event in McKinney’s hometown of Norborne, Mo.
Wichita State opens American Athletic Conference play this weekend against ECU at Wilkins Stadium. Assistant coach Elizabeth Economon joins the podcast to discuss the team’s 17-4 start, wins over Iowa State and Oklahoma State and the performance of several Shocker freshmen. We talk about Neleigh Herring’s journey to the top of the conference batting list, how coaches can control for work ethic while recruiting and why Economon doesn’t use her two conference MVP’s as Truman State shortstop as a trump card around the softball office.