Estelle Czech And Texas Hope To Prove WCWS Run Wasn't Luck
The 2022 Women’s College World Series introduced the softball world to the fierce competitor that Estelle Czech is. As a transfer to the University of Texas, Czech pitched her team to the WCWS championship series for the first time in program history last year.
After playing one season for N.C. State, Czech went on to have a breakout season with the Longhorns in 2022, pitching 103.2 innings and compiling a 13-2 record in 16 starts with 83 strikeouts and a 3.24 ERA. Her decision to become a Longhorn has already proven to be a great one for her.
“I picked Texas because I knew Coach Mike White was a huge pitching guru,” Czech said. “He knew a lot of things about pitching and I wanted to learn from him and what he has experienced. He has a lot of knowledge that some other people do not have.”
Coming in focusing heavily on her speed and throwing hard, Coach White changed the trajectory of Czech's game, molding her into a brand-new pitcher with an emphasis on spinning the ball.
“I used to not be known as a spin pitcher at all,” Czech said. “I was really focused on speed and was throwing hard, but when I got here, Coach White emphasized that that is not our main goal.”
As a sophomore getting to the WCWS, performing on the biggest stage in college softball could be intimidating for some players, but Czech embraced it with open arms.
Something Texas prides itself on is the mental side of the game. And since her time in Austin began, Czech has adopted positive self-talk, which gets her through all the tough moments she experiences on the field.
“You can sometimes see my mouth moving on the mound talking to myself,” Czech said. “That is something that helps me stay locked in mentally and physically during a pressure situation. The World Series games felt like every other game, which is a good sign to me because I was calm and collected and knew what to do in order to lead the team in a good direction.”
With this optimistic attitude, Czech has learned to become one of the loudest voices and points of direction on the field for the Longhorns.
“I think being a leader comes naturally (to me),” Czech said. “Other people feed off of my energy, which is a plus in my eyes. Any pitcher has to be a leader because you are right there in the middle of the action. I need to have confidence while I’m out there and show everyone else that I am here to pick them up.”
Despite losing to Oklahoma in the 2022 WCWS championship series, Czech and the rest of the Longhorns have a story to finish this time around.
“We are beyond fired up,” Czech said. “We are ready to prove to everyone that we can win it and that we are planning on winning it. This team is talented, they are hungry, more than hungry. We are starving to get back to the World Series to prove to everyone that it wasn’t just luck.”
With new players on the roster and Czech stepping into an upperclassman role in 2023, there's a new mentality taking over the Longhorns’ dugout.
“The team every year has a different identity,” Czech said. “Our identity this year is completely different from our identity last year. We lost a couple seniors from last year, but we have new players that are going to have a huge impact. It is going to be really exciting.”