SEC's top freshman takes simple approach

In this file photo, Amanda Lorenz touches home against JU in January. The freshman left fielder is batting a team-high .400 heading into her first postseason with top-ranked Florida.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer/File
Published: Friday, May 20, 2016 at 7:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, May 19, 2016 at 7:17 p.m.

On a veteran Florida softball team, a newcomer has made an impact at the plate for the two-time defending national champions this season.

Freshman left fielder Amanda Lorenz takes a team-high .400 batting average into her first postseason with the top-ranked Gators. Florida begins NCAA regional play this afternoon against Alabama State.

“I’m just working hard with my team and learning a lot from our upperclassmen,” Lorenz said. “Not thinking too much when I’m up at the plate. I’m just trying to learn from every at-bat and not take things too personal when I get out, because playing in the SEC, you’re going to get out a lot.”

Lorenz batted third, fourth and fifth in the lineup earlier this season, but has settled in nicely the past 13 games at the second spot in the order. Florida softball coach Tim Walton said Lorenz has taken a see-the-ball, hit-the-ball approach. In addition to a .400 batting average, Loerenz has shown a combination of speed and power, with seven home runs, 44 RBIs and 10 stolen bases to earn SEC Freshman of the Year honors.

“She was born to hit,” Walton said. “That’s the best way to describe it. She doesn’t guess a whole lot. She doesn’t want too much information. She just wants to get in the box and compete. I think that’s what separates her from a lot of people.”

Lorenz describes her approach in the batter’s box as fearless.

“Just going after whatever they can give me,” Lorenz said. “The SEC pitching has just been absolutely insane, our league, I don’t believe any other league has the pitching that we do. In the beginning, it was definitely hard for me to adjust.”

A native of Moorpark, Calif., Lorenz follows Stacey Nelson, Megan Bush and Francesca Enea in a long list of Southern California high school standouts who have starred for the Gators. She traveled two hours each way from Ventura County to play for the renowned Orange County Batbusters travel league program, which has produced countless Division I players.

Originally, Lorenz thought she would end up playing college softball closer to home at UCLA. But a recruiting trip to Florida changed her mind. On the first night of the recruiting visit, Walton took Lorenz out to the Florida softball field. The lights were on. The field was lined up.

“I just had a feeling it was the right place,” Lorenz said. “The first day that I came here I knew that this is where I wanted to be, playing in the SEC, the competition, just the way Florida treats their athletes is second to none and I just loved every second of it.”

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