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Posts: 2,541
Reply with quote  #1 

This topic was inspired by a post by sanjoaquin. It didn't seem to belong on that particular thread - so I moved it here.

Warning to those who find it hard to read more than a couple of sentences... this is a long post.

Below is the post by "sanjoaquin" which inspired my response.


<< Reminds me of what happened a few years ago at Oklahoma.  As you probably know, Lombardi was a catcher herself in college and as asst. coach was in charge of pitchers and catchers.

So the Sooners' 3-year starting catcher got married and ended up leaving the team one month into the season.  They had to move Lea Wodach from the outfield to become the starting catcher.  Wodach had played catcher in 8 games as a freshman.  But it was concerning with this happening in the middle of the season.

So Wodach and the Sooners go on to win the World Series against Auburn that year.  Paige Parker was the star, pitching every inning of their post-season winning games (they lost one in which she didn't pitch).  But in my mind, Wodach was the second-MVP.  Had she not risen to the occasion, the season could have been a disaster.  Lombardi, Parker, and Wodach meshed to make it work.

Here is a brief article of how it unfolded:
Transcript Sports Writer
OU senior Whitney Montgomery, the Sooners’ primary catcher the previous two seasons and early this season, has left the program, coach Patty Gasso confirmed Friday.
“She’s made a decision for personal reasons that it is best for her to not be a part of the team,” Gasso said. “It was too hard for her. It just didn’t fit into what her priorities were.”  >> (sanjoaquin)


Just want to clarify a few things.
You make it sound like Lea Wodach was a true outfielder - who was forced to jump into being the team's catcher - when Whitney left.
But Wodach was a catcher - from the beginning. She came to the Oklahoma program as a catcher.
Lea was only playing some outfield because she could hit - and the team had a very good, experienced catcher ahead of her.

In Wodach's freshman season (2015), she was used primarily as a pinch hitter when the season started. 
She was seen as a good hitter by the coaching staff - and was one of the first batters off the bench to pinch hit.
Lea was used as a pinch hitter in 6 of the first 8 games of the season. 

The first two games that she started at Oklahoma were the 9th and 10th games of the 2015 season - and she started at catcher.

She was the starting DH in the 11th game. She replaced Whitney at catcher in the 12th game in the third inning (with OK up 6-0).
She came in to run for Whitney in the 14th game (up 8-0 in the 2nd inning) and played catcher the rest of the game.

In games 16, 18, 19, 20 & 21... Wodach started at catcher - and Whitney was moved to third base.

They eventually decided to keep Whitney behind the plate - and Wodach became mostly a pinch hitter.
As it got closer to the post season - they decided to move Wodach into the DH/DP role more and more.
Nine of the last ten starts Lea had in the 2015 season were as the DH/DP. 

For the entire 2015 season - Lea had 20 starts. 10 at DH/DP, 8 at catcher - and 2 in the outfield.


The 2016 season:
When the 2016 season began - Whitney was again the starting catcher. Lea began her sophomore season as the starting left fielder.
Lea was batting 5th in the line up  and Whitney was batting in the 8th slot.
Through the first 5 games - Whitney was hitting very well - but Lea was off to a weaker start.

Then in games 6, 7, 8 & 9... Whitney did not play. I don't remember if she was ill or injured - or what.
But while she was not playing - Lea eased right into the starting catcher role for those four games. 
Lea was 0 for 2 with a BB in game 6... but then she got hot.
She was 3 for 4 with an RBI in game 7,  2 for 3 with a 2 run double in game 8 - and 2 for 3 with a HR in game 9.

Whitney was back at catcher for game 10 and Lea went back to LF, where she had probably the best day of her career as a hitter.
She went 3 for 4 with two home runs and a double - and drove in all 4 of the team's runs in a 4-6 loss to Oregon State.
Patty Gasso was so impressed with Wodach's hitting - that she moved her into the clean up spot after this game.
Lea kept on hitting - and after another 6 games... was moved up to the #3 slot.
For those who remember Wodach struggling at the plate in her last two seasons - it may be hard to believe... 
but she may have been the team's best hitter at this point in her sophomore year.

After missing those four consecutive games, Whitney came back as the starting catcher for the next 14 games... 

BUT…  one could make an argument - that she seems to have been treated differently (as a hitter) for the remainder of her time with the program – after her return in game 10.

Over the next 18 games (games #10 through #27) Whitney started and got to bat for the entire game only FOUR times. She was PH for SEVEN times, DHed for four times and didn’t start in three games.

Her last 7 games with the team are very indicative of what her place with the team had become.

Game 21 - This was the last game in which she played and hit for the full game. She went 2 for 2 with 3 runs scored and a sac squeeze bunt for an RBI.

Game 22 – She started at catcher, went 0 for 1, was PH for – and Wodach finished the game at catcher.

Game 23 – She started at catcher, but was taken out of the game early (did not get an AB) Wodach played most of the game at catcher.

Game 24 – Wodach started at catcher. This was the first time in 2016 that Lea started at catcher when Whitney was available to play. Whitney came in to run for Parker in the fifth inning - then stayed in to catch the end of the game (Lea went back to LF).

Game 25 – She started at catcher – but was DHed for.

Game 26 – Wodach started at catcher. Whitney ran for Parker in the third inning – then stayed in to catch the rest of the game (Lea went back to LF). Whitney had two plate appearances and contributed a single and a HBP.

Game 27 – Wodach started at catcher. Whitney was brought in to catch early in the game – and Lea went to LF… but Whitney was DHed for.

That was Whitney’s last game.

She left the team after a 4-2 win against Nebraska on March 20th, 2016.  I believe that she did not like the way coach Gasso had treated her as a hitter in the 2016 season. She had been pinch hit for (and DHed for)  numerous times  - and saw her spot fall to the very bottom of the batting order. She had been a solid offensive player in 2014 (.915 OPS with 10 HR, 21 EBH, 50 RBI) and had another solid .913 OPS with 19 EBH in 2015. I think she felt that she was given very little respect as a hitter during her senior year – when she believed she had earned some with her performance from her previous seasons. And her batting stats for the 2016 season were certainly not bad (her BA was better than ever).

She had these numbers in 2016 when she left the team: .364 BA, .400 OBP, .455 SLG, .855 OPS. She did have just one EBH (a HR in the 4th game of the season).

This is a quote from Patty Gasso about Lea replacing Whitney as the team’s catcher: “She flat out won the job, and we had a very good catcher in front of her,” Gasso said. “Because she flat out won the job, it changed the dynamics of our team, and she never looked back.”

The team had a 21-6 record at this point. They went 4-1 in the next 5 games with a loss to Kansas... and then went on a 31 game winning streak. 
That streak was only broken when they lost the middle game of the WCWS finals to Auburn (when Parker was rested).
They went 36-2 in the last 38 games (after Whitney left). Wodach was the starting catcher in every game the rest of the season.

Lea did suffer some minor injuries after becoming the full time catcher - and her hitting fell off from her well over .400 pace.
She finished the season with these numbers: .315 BA,  .388 OBP,  .514 SLG,  .902 OPS,  20 EBH, 32 RBI.


Posts: 17,111
Reply with quote  #2 
Hammer, when someone asks you what time it is, do you respond with how to build the clock?

Posts: 1,913
Reply with quote  #3 
Originally Posted by 3leftturns
Hammer, when someone asks you what time it is, do you respond with how to build the clock?


Posts: 2,541
Reply with quote  #4 
It's 1:51...

But I think I just might need a magnifying glass... some gears and some springs...

; )

Posts: 17,111
Reply with quote  #5 
Set it back 5 minutes, so you get places Sooner

Posts: 1,960
Reply with quote  #6 
Originally Posted by 3leftturns
Hammer, when someone asks you what time it is, do you respond with how to build the clock?

Careful, Lefty. He might tell you where you can put your clock. [smile]

Posts: 240
Reply with quote  #7 
Wodach was not recruited strictly as a Catcher. She was recruited as an Outfielder/Catcher.

Posts: 17,111
Reply with quote  #8 
Originally Posted by scrybe

Careful, Lefty. He might tell you where you can put your clock. [smile]

Three inches foul, I am sure

Posts: 2,541
Reply with quote  #9 
It used to be... put your clock on your wrist.
But now it's put your clock in your pocket.

See, Janie... things do change.
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