Renth’s swing adjustment leads to big things for MU

Sunday, March 18, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 8:42 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008
Missouri sophomore Rick Zagone pitches in the third inning against the Cleveland State Vikings on Saturday at Taylor Stadium. Zagone improved to 3-0 on the year, allowing two runs on six hits and striking out six in 6 2/3 innings.

When softball coach Ehren Earleywine arrived at Missouri before the season, he brought with him RightView Pro, a computer program that helps analyze swings with the help of videos of Major League Baseball players.

“RightView Pro is a program that Coach ‘E’ had at his previous school. You can put your swing up next to any hitter’s,” MU first baseman Amanda Renth said.

Renth, who is hitting .362 with nine home runs and 34 RBIs, credits the computer program with her success so far in 2007. Renth went 2-for-7 in Missouri’s doubleheader split against Western Illinois on Saturday at Devine Pavilion. Missouri won 4-3 in the first game, and lost the second game 9-8.

“When Coach E came in, we went to the drawing board with my swing. I wasn’t getting my weight behind the ball. I’m a big girl, obviously, and a lot of what Coach E and I have done is to get a positive move behind the ball,” Renth said.

“We looked at Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, basically everyone in the program, and tried to model things after them and took a lot of reps in the cages.”

Besides adding a move backwards at the beginning of her swing to help transfer her weight, Renth and Earleywine also worked on driving the ball where it’s pitched.

“We’ve really been working on hitting the ball square, which means to hit the ball to all fields. That’s what’s giving me the pop on the ball, trying to hit it square,” Renth said.

Opposing teams have noticed Renth’s work paying off, intentionally walking her 10 times.

“It’s definitely a sign of respect. Sometimes I get frustrated with it, but I know that I have teammates behind me to help me,” Renth said.

But according to Earleywine, Renth’s help has fallen off as of late.

“There was a two or three week span where she was literally carrying the team. Then we started to get a few more bats involved, but now it seems that we’ve taken a step back a little bit this week, and nobody is really swinging it well right now other than Jen Bruck,” Earleywine said.

Bruck, who was the designated player in the second game, went 4-for-4 with three runs scored Saturday.

INCONSISTENT PITCHING AND DEFENSE: Earleywine was not pleased with the pitching and defensive performances on Saturday. Leading 3-1 in the seventh inning of the first game, the Tigers allowed two runs, forcing the game to extra innings. Missouri also entered the bottom of the seventh of the second game with an 8-5 lead, but gave up four runs.

“We don’t know what to expect from ourselves on the mound, and we don’t know what to expect from ourselves defensively. Our hitting had been carrying us but right now it’s hit kind of a lag, so we are a very average team right now,” Earleywine said.

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