Players know when they’re in ‘the zone.'
There’s just the feeling of knowing no matter the situation, they are going to deliver when the chips are down and your team is counting on you the most.
Last week, Mississippi State outfielder Jessica Cooley spent the week in the zone as she went 10-for-19 with 17 RBI, eight runs scored and five home runs. It was a week that earned her national accolades picking up the ASA National Player of the Week honors.
The recognition comes on the heels of earning the Southeastern Conference Player of the Week on Monday, and while Cooley is pleased, she simply has to give credit to those around her.
“I’m extremely grateful for the honor,” said Cooley. “I’m excited to be a part of it. It is huge for our team, our players, and our coaches. I couldn’t do this without their effort and I’m just proud to be a part of it.” According to Cooley, last week was simply the product of good coaching and an excellent gameplan.
“Last week coming back from Florida, we really worked on our gameplan for hitting,” she said. “We just focused on taking our drills to the game and focused on keeping runners off the bases and scoring as many runs as possible. I think as a team we really did an awesome job of that.” Time and time again, Cooley found herself in position to help her team by driving in runs, including a key situation against Samford trailing 3-0 when she delivered the game winning shot, a grand slam.
“I was very excited," said Cooley, who is batting at a .370 clip for the season. "It was just awesome to be able to come through for my teammates. It was awesome that they could get on base before me or I wouldn’t have been able to do that. It was nice that I could pull through for my team.”
Cooley helped the Bulldogs to their current six-game win streak and a 14-5 overall mark and during that time, she feels it is their new team approach of taking things one moment at a time that has paid dividends.
“It helps tremendously," Cooley said. "(Coach Stuedeman) is really a positive coach and as a player, if you make an error to hear your coach say ‘so what,’ don’t worry about what happened in the past, don’t worry about what will happen later, focus on this at bat…that’s just huge for a player. It helps us so much mentally with our game and I think that’s one reason why we are being so successful. We are just so focused on being in the moment.”
While some will say that focusing on just one moment brings pressure to the situation, Cooley insists it is just the opposite.
“It is just breaking the game down," Cooley said. "The more you do that the easier it is. If you focus on winning, that one pitch of your whole at bat, if you win that one pitch…that’s living in the moment. That’s what we are working and it has helped us tremendously.”