Shortstop Alexa Strid has hit her stride in her senior season on the BYU softball team. Her career-high batting average and hit total have helped the Cougars explode en route to a fifth-straight West Coast Conference regular-season title and an automatic NCAA tournament bid, marking their 14th-straight appearance.
“This feels the best of any of the championships we ever won,” Strid said after an emotional victory over Loyola Marymount on May 12.
One of five seniors on this year’s squad, Strid has been a valuable leader and veteran presence the past few years, and she was named a team captain prior to the season.
Her recognition and leadership go beyond BYU, however, as she received a First Team All-WCC selection in each of the past two seasons.
After leading her high school club team, the Georgia East Cobb Bullets, to a top 5 national finish her senior year, the Virginia native redshirted her freshman year at BYU. She went on to start in 40 or more games and score more than 20 runs during each of the next four years.
“I’ve grown so much, changed so much, learned so much. I just feel like a completely different person from when I came to now that I’m leaving,” Strid said of her BYU career. “It felt like a lifetime worth of lessons, but it’s only been five years. It’s just been really awesome.”
Strid has been especially crucial to the team’s recent 10-game winning streak, scoring in eight of the ten games and totaling nine runs over the streak. This hot hitting gives her a blistering .467 batting average over those ten games.
“Peaking in senior year, that’s got to be the best thing ever,” Strid said. “It’s very happy and relaxing when you’re playing at your best when you need to be — at the end.”
Strid, along with fellow senior captains Caitlyn Alldredge and Briielle Breland, helps form part of an experienced group of seniors that will be missed after this year. All three were crucial to the team on both sides of the ball, making winning plays on defense and getting hits when the team needed it.
Alldredge went flying into her own dugout for a game-clinching catch against LMU, earning her the No. 4 spot on the “SportsCenter Top 10.”
Luckily, star slugger and catcher Libby Sugg is only a junior and will return to the squad next year, along with a talented group of underclassmen. The veteran presence of players like Strid will be missed, but the team will be in good hands with big hitters like Sugg.
For now, the focus remains in the here and now with BYU softball, following the invitation to the team’s 14th-straight postseason appearance.
“We are playing the best softball we’ve played all year,” Strid added. “The whole team feels like we’re going to be playing for several more weeks the way we’re playing right now.”
BYU will take on Drake on May 17 at 3 p.m. PDT in the Eugene Regional of the NCAA tournament.
Overall No. 1 seed and region-host Oregon and Albany will round out the double-elimination regional.
“We are excited to be playing in the NCAA tournament again this season,” said BYU coach Gordon Eakin. “Oregon has passionate fans and is one of the best softball venues in the country. It’s a strong regional and will be a great test. We are ready.”