The Wolfpacker

May 2013 Wolfpacker

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 59 of 79

O By Tim Peeler n a normal day, Renada Davis isn't going to scare anybody. Talking to the relatively slight, 5‑5 shortstop on NC State's soft‑ ball team, you might get a shy smile while she tries to come up with an explanation for why she has become one of college softball's most feared power hitters. When the Wolfpack (30-18-1 overall, 13‑7 ACC) finished its regular season with a three-game sweep of Boston College and Davis ended the final week with four home runs in the Pack's final four games, she was ranked first among all NCAA Division  I players with 0.49 home runs per game and was tied with Longwood's Megan Daltzell for the national lead with 24 home runs on the season. figured it would give her the opportunity to get 40 or more extra at-bats throughout the season and give her the chance to set the table more often for the rest of the lineup. She's had 13 hits in 43 at-bats in the leadoff spot and been on base to start the game 21 times in 49 contests. "Putting her there gives her more chances to get hits and get on base," Ry‑ chcik said. "It's obviously a boost to our offense." Little did he realize that Davis, who im‑ proved her strength some during the off‑ season and made some adjustments in the batter's box, would mature quite this much. "We just talked to her in the fall and in the preseason about moving back a little in the batter's box and being more patient," Rychcik said. "We got her to slow down a Power Pack Shortstop Renada Davis Has Hit Home Runs This Season At A Record-Setting Rate She had obliterated the previous school record of 14, set in 2010 by Stephanie Call, and moved into a tie for second place with teammate Bethaney Wells for the most ca‑ reer homers with 29. Her two dozen homers are tied for the second most ever by an ACC player, behind only former Georgia Tech player Jen Yee, who set the conference record with 29 in 2010. Funny thing is, Davis doesn't consider herself a power hitter. She's swinging the bat the same as always, playing the game just as she did from the time she first started in Tomball, Texas, at the age of 4. "Honestly, home runs are just solid line drives to me," Davis said. "It means my form was right at the time I hit the ball. It just means I caught the right pitch with the right swing." Last season, when she won the 2012 ACC Freshman of the Year Award, Davis was all about getting hits and getting on base. She set school records with a .362 batting average and a .450 on-base percent‑ age. And, even though she usually hit in the second or third spot in the lineup, she hit only five home runs with 26 RBI. So when first-year head coach Shawn Rychcik moved Davis to lead-off hitter, where she had always hit while playing high school and travel softball in Texas, he little more on the field, so the game came a little easier. "She's a more mature player this year, which has been a big help. We never ex‑ pected her to become this kind of a power hitter, but she has done a great job of mak‑ ing some little changes, and the results have been pretty powerful." The changes haven't been nearly as big as the results. Perhaps, more than anything else, Rychcik and his staff of Katie Grimes and Courtney Oliver, have counseled Davis to slow down on the field. She was used to going a million miles an hour on the field. In fall practice, during a base running drill, Davis was chasing her teammates all over the diamond, needlessly running them down when she would have been better off throwing the ball to one of the other infielders. Rychcik stopped practice. "What are you doing?" he said. "Going after the runner," she answered. "That's the way I've always done it." Rychcik instituted the "Renada Rule" — no more rushing on the field. He made her walk on every play the rest of the practice. Davis hit four home runs in the Pack's final four regular-season games to give her 24 on the season, which was tied for the national lead as of April 28. photo courtesy nc state media relations 60  ■  the wolfpacker 60-62.Softball.indd 60 4/30/13 2:49 PM

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