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On Target

Wright Makes Her Mark in Sophomore Year

Maggie Wright has been a crucial element to the Archers' lineup this season.
Maggie Wright has been a crucial element to the Archers' lineup this season.

After a freshman year of occasional peaks and valleys, Maggie Wright was determined to make a change. Make that a number of changes.

From her level of dedication, to her leadership role within the Archers softball program, to her approach at the plate, Wright opened the 2014 season a starkly different player from a year ago.

On a team that has relied heavily on its offense over the first month of the season, Wright has represented the lineup’s most crucial element. She enters play this weekend batting .375 with four of the team’s nine home runs, and 26 RBI. Fourteen of Wright’s 24 hits have gone for extra bases. Despite her extra-base pop, Wright has struck out only four times in 64 at-bats.

“I’m just having a lot more fun this year,” Wright said. “Attitude, outlook – it’s my sophomore year and it’s time to go hard or go home.”

It was never as if Wright didn’t project as a quality collegiate player a year ago, when she batted .327 with 12 RBI for the Archers. However, the offense she’s produced over the season’s first 19 games could be described as a welcome surprise.

Wright’s transformation has come after skipping the fall season. Upon meeting with head coach Sharon Marquardt during the offseason, Wright made several changes that have taken her from a former member of the STLCC program to one of its most valued members.

“I gave her expectations that she had to meet to be a part of the team, and she met those with flying colors,” Marquardt said. “She came out in Florida knocking the cover off the ball, and she’s continued to do that. With 26 RBIs, she’s just been a beast in the (batter’s) box.”

Wright’s value was evident Sunday against Kaskaskia Community College, when her two-run double helped key an eight-run fifth inning to help the Archers rally from a five-run deficit. The double was
Wright’s second on the afternoon and ninth of the season.

Given a new outlook on her role within the Archers, Wright’s hot start to the 2014 season has benefited everyone around her as well. The Archers enter the weekend batting .281 as a team, and have scored six or more runs 10 times.

“If Maggie’s not in that lineup, it definitely leaves a hole,” Marquardt said. “We certainly wouldn’t have the runs scored that we have without her in the middle of the order, and as long as she keeps doing what she’s doing, she’s going to stay there.”