Meet MaKray Odom, The Best Hitter You've Never Heard Of
Even the greatest hitters strike out every now and then. While with Michigan, Sierra Romero struck out 64 times. With Florida, Amanda Lorenz struck out 73 times. MaKray Odom of Division II Trevecca Nazarene University, however? Nine times. Yes, you read that right, nine times in three and a half seasons; including zero times in the shortened 2020 season.
That is only the tip of the iceberg concerning Odom’s stats, however. Entering the 2021 season, Odom leads all active NCAA players in hits with 285. In her 2018-2019 junior season, she went 100-for-177 with 50 stolen bases, only struck out twice and had a batting average of .565. Entering this season, her career batting average is .488.
Odom says her success has a lot to do with her approach at the plate.
“So, usually I try and stay ahead in the count as much as possible. I am confident in myself with two strikes, but I just feel like if I stay ahead in the count, if I get a fewer amount of pitches, it gives me an opportunity to do what I want early in the count without them trying to figure out what I’m going to do,” said Odom. “And it kind of eliminates some junk pitches trying to be thrown at me towards the end of the count.”
With stats like these, you would figure a player would keep track of them, right? Not in Odom’s case. In fact, she did not even know that she was leading the entire nation in hits.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been on the website that tells what our batting average is and all that stuff,” Odom said. “I don’t even know how to get to it. I think that’s one of my strategies. I don’t let the numbers get in my head because I don’t want it to change what my strategy is when I get up to bat.”
While Odom's personal success has been satisfying to her, she longs for her team to capture a conference championship. In 2016, the year before Odom joined Trevecca Nazarene, the team won its conference in the G-MAC and went to regionals before finishing the season with a record of 45-17. Since then, TNU has not won its conference, and Odom says it is her top goal entering the 2021 season.
“I hope to goodness that we have a season next spring because that is all of our goals because we were so determined last year that we were about to win everything because we all gelled so well together,” Odom said.
In order to accomplish that goal, Odom knows what her team needs to do in 2021.
“I would say the number one thing is do not take any game for granted,” Odom said. “I I think that if we keep the mindset that we are the best team out there and we have to play that way, I think that that would definitely ensure us getting a conference win.”
Odom has her wedding planned for December of this year and is currently working on earning her master’s degree in organizational leadership. She will complete the program in July, and then Odom plans to become a teacher in her hometown of Dickson, Tenn. However, she realizes that softball will never be too far away from her.
“I have thought about coaching softball,” Odom said. “I’ve gotten some questions about my high school and I’ve even gotten some questions about a middle school here. I’ve gotten questions about coaching a travel ball team. I’m not going to be able to stay away from softball for very long, I can already tell.”