Earlier this season, on March 23, Texas State softball beat Southeastern Louisiana 3-0 in a seemingly unordinary conference contest. Chandler Hall pitched a complete game shutout and knocked in all the runs with a three-run homer.
This kind of game is what Bobcat fans have come to expect from Hall. It has become typical. Bobcat faithful, more specifically Texas State softball fans, are spoiled.
Hall was named Southland Conference Player and Pitcher of the Year for the 2012 season, giving the senior a few more accolades to add to her already astonishing career. She spent her freshman year dominating the SLC with 25 victories and a 1.17 ERA, winning the first of three Pitcher of the Year awards. She was named Freshman of the Year and SLC tournament Most Valuable Player.
The rest of her career followed suit as she won another tournament MVP, two more pitching awards and now the season MVP. Three times she made the All-Southland Conference First Team and the Louisville Slugger All-Region Team.
This year, Hall outdid herself. She went 11-0 in conference games while batting .321. She recorded her second career no-hitter. She is the second player in SLC history to win three Pitcher of the Year awards, and is the first Bobcat to win both Player and Pitcher of the Year since Ragan Blake in 2008.
But while Hall’s individual performances are usually outstanding, it is the collection of these types of players that make Texas State softball elite. Most athletic programs garner these individual awards once every handful of recruiting classes. Bobcat softball collects them like trading cards. But just because this program has set the bar so high does not mean fans shouldn’t be impressed when it reaches, or even surpasses, its mark.
The softball team is 137-87 in Hall’s four years, but she would be the first one to say that each team was loaded with talent besides her. Coach Ricci Woodard, who just received her fourth Coach of the Year award, led all of those teams.
Yes, Bobcat fans are spoiled. The list of awards Texas State softball has achieved over the years is as long as it is impressive, so much that it has now become the norm. Hall was the only Texas State player selected for the All-Southland Conference First Team this year, and that seems shocking.
How did second baseman Anna Hernandez, who hit .315 and seemingly carried the offense at times, not make the First Team roster? How did shortstop Selena Hernandez, who scored 26 times and made just three errors, not win Freshman of the Year? It may seem like the team got snubbed this year to fans, and maybe it was, but that is only because awards like these are routinely handed out to Bobcat softball.
Replacing Hall won’t be easy, but the team was successful before she arrived, and has the right pieces in place to continue on that path. Finding individual players that can win games almost single-handedly, like the March 23 contest, is not common place. Then again, Texas State softball seems to have its own definition of common.