Julie Wambold’s calm demeanor in batter’s box leads to success at plate

first_img Published on March 5, 2015 at 12:09 am Contact Liam: [email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+ Julie Wambold stepped to the plate on Feb. 20 against Loyola Marymount with the game tied at three in the bottom of the seventh. Sammy Fernandez, representing the winning run, stood on second base.Head coach Leigh Ross thought to herself, “Just stay focused and trust,” knowing that Wambold had struggled with nerves in the past.Instead of panicking, the senior took a deep breath, counted to 10 and dug herself into the box. Wambold singled up the middle to give the Orange a walk-off win.“At first, I was nervous,” said Wambold, an SU catcher and second baseman. “But then I calmed myself down and got the job done.”Through 15 games so far this season Wambold has 12 RBIs, already halfway to what she put up in 46 games last year. A mainstay in the middle of Syracuse’s lineup since her freshman year, Wambold hopes to maintain her composure and timely hitting at the plate as Syracuse (7-8) travels to play three games against Virginia Tech (13-3, 0-2 Atlantic Coast) this weekend in its first conference matchups.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textEquipped with power and quick hands since first playing at Syracuse in 2012, Wambold’s relaxed mentality has been the main difference for her at the plate, Ross said. In the past, Wambold was harder on herself and was anxious to get hits, instead of having the patience to let the ball come to her at the plate.“I definitely feel more relaxed this year than I ever have before,” Wambold said, “and I’ve always hit in the middle of the lineup since I’ve been a little girl.”In the past, Wambold would lunge out with her front foot at incoming pitches, offsetting her stride and in turn, her balance, Ross said. She was still effective, but wasn’t optimizing her potential.With her new approach, lunging is less of an issue.Employing a breathing technique she learned in one of her sports management classes this spring, Wambold has learned to relax herself by controlling her breath and counting to 10 before stepping into the box.Physically at the plate, Wambold hasn’t changed much in her approach from previous seasons. Danielle Chitkowski, a junior third baseman and former pitcher for SU, used to be terrified to face Wambold even before she developed patience.“She keeps her hands tight on inside balls and then extends and is locked in on outside balls,” Chitkowski said. “Her swing is so fluid and smooth and it’s extremely intimidating as a pitcher or fielder because you can’t do much with it.“I can’t imagine facing her now, she’s so locked in.”A drill that has helped Wambold relax and rely on her mechanics has been a front toss with the use of Nike Sparq Vapor Strobe Goggles. The goggles slow down movement with a constant flicker in the lens, helping her hand-eye coordination and focus at the plate.Chitkowski said she thinks Wambold is the best on the team with the goggles and added that she can barely make contact while Wambold “crushes” the ball during the drill.The increased relaxation and patience has helped Wambold hit change-ups a lot better this season, Ross said. In the absence of anxiousness, she keeps her hands and hips back and explodes through the zone on off-speed pitches in a way she hasn’t done before.Satisfied with the way she’s performed recently, Wambold is insistent that the best was yet to come.“I’ve felt confident lately and it’s helped me immensely at the plate,” Wambold said. “I think it’s only going to get better.” Commentslast_img read more