Capell finds D-I softball challenging
MHS graduate adjusting to higher level of competition at Tarleton
The spring season was a test for the Georgia Capell and the Tarleton State University softball team.
The Midlothian High School graduate and her teammates played their first season in Division I.
The outfielder didn't match the offensive numbers of her freshman and sophomore years, when she was named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-America third and second teams, respectively. Still, she earned all-Western Athletic Conference honorable mention recognition.
"Mostly they're all-around better teams," said the May graduate, who entered the spring as the program's career home run leader and third in runs batted in. "I was expecting it to be a lot better. I was adjusting to a new level of play."
Among two Texans named to the preseason all-conference team, she hit a career-low .276. Her eight home runs and 26 RBIs were also career lows excluding the virus-shortened 2020 season.
The velocity and movement of the pitches required adjustment. "The pitching was a lot better," said Capell, a .397 hitter as a freshman and .387 batter as a sophomore. "That's something I have to plan for now."
She said the coaches work with players to formulate a hitting strategy for each game. Against pitchers who are wild and miss the strike zone, she said she tends to be less aggressive swinging because she is waiting for hittable offerings. For those who attack the zone, she is ready to swing early because she said, "You're going to see better pitches early in the count."
Capell had 11 multihit games, including three three-hit efforts. As the leadoff batter, she hit a three-run double to right field, solo home run to center and single to left in five-bats against Dixie State, leading her team in hits and RBIs in the loss.
Batting third in the order during a win over Grand Canyon, she singled, doubled and hit a grand slam--all to left field--to lead players from both teams in hits and RBIs. With the grand slam, she became the first in program history with 50 home runs.
She played right field, which she said she didn't start playing until she was a sophomore. She finished with a .952 fielding percentage in 83 chances. "A lot of balls do get hit to the outfield. It's really enjoyable," she said. "In right the balls will fly. A lot of them cut toward the (side)line. It's more of a challenge. I try to anticipate where the ball is going to go."
She will play her final season of a decorated career as a graduate student.
"I didn't expect to do that well. I worked hard," said Capell, a hitter only in her first season. "Three of us power hitters were competing for a DH spot. It was very hard to compete with them."
Since starting to play the field as well, she hasn't lost her drive to retain her role in the lineup. "It's not secure. You can easily lose it," she said. "I thank everybody who helped me get here. I didn't do this on my own, for sure."
Send updates about area athletes to Barbara Boxleitner at email@example.com.