Alexis Mack: Oregon softball’s unselfish motor
Ever since Alexis Mack transferred to Oregon, she has been one of the team’s most consistent offensive players, especially with sacrifice bunts and steals. She has been named to the watch-list for 2018 USA Softball National Player of the Year, along with teammates Megan Kleist, Maggie Balint and DJ Sanders.
Last season, Mack had a .497 on-base percentage, which led the team. She also earned Oregon’s best hitting percentage, at .424 on the season. The outfielder usually bats second in the lineup, and she made it her sole responsibility to move runners over to the next base, even at the expense of an out.
“I don’t care about getting a hit, I don’t care what the result is,” Mack said. “The result is she has to be at second at the end of the at-bat.”
Her father, Rex Mack, started coaching her when she was 7 years old. He would eventually coach her again at Brecksville-Broadview High School. Rex believes Mack’s skillset fits well in the Oregon system. Working with experienced coaches such as Mike White and hitting coach Jimmy Kolaitis have paid off.
“The ability to hit consistently against live pitching against coach White and three of the best pitchers in the country … there is no question in my mind that is something productive not just for Alexis, but the entire team,” Rex Mack said. “That’s unique. Not all teams have that.”
Both Mack and her father know the importance of putting the work in during the offseason, and taking it as serious as she would the regular season.
“Her work ethic is unbelievable,” Rex said. “I don’t know another kid who works harder than her.”
As a true freshman at South Carolina, the outfielder had the team’s second highest batting average at .341 percent. She was 14-18 on stolen base attempts.
The next year in 2017, her first at Oregon, she led the Pac-12 in steals (28) and attempts (35). She believes the jump in productivity is because of the players she’s surrounded by every day.
“It’s 100 percent my teammates,” Mack said. “Everyone here is so talented, and they hold me to such a high standard. So my game is raised because theirs is so high.”
The challenge Mack faces now is one all great base runners must deal with: How to excel on the bases when everyone, including the opposing team, suspects she may lay down a sacrifice bunt at any moment. Head coach Mike White believes versatility is the answer.
“Everyone knows what she does, and that’s a tough thing for her,” White said. “As the opposition prepares for her, she prepares for them by finding other ways to get the job done.”
While Mack has earned multiple personal accolades, she said her only two goals are doing whatever it takes to help Oregon win the Pac-12 Championship and the National Championship.
Follow August Howell on Twitter @howell_august
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