North Texas' Hope Trautwein Makes History, Eyes More Of It
Earlier this month, Hope Trautwein made history and received major media attention for it.
Trautwein, a senior pitcher for North Texas, etched her name into the NCAA record book on April 11 when she completed the first-ever 21-strikeout perfect game in Division 1 softball history in a 3-0 win against Arkansas Pine-Bluff.
Only about 75 fans witnessed the special moment in Arkansas, and because of the weather delay on the series, Trautwein didn’t have her parents in the stands to watch. With the next game of the doubleheader following shortly afterward, there wasn’t much of a celebration. But that didn't make Trautwein's accomplishment any less remarkable.
“It had never been done, and I don’t know how likely (it is) that it will ever be done again,” North Texas coach Rodney DeLong said. “I am sure someday someone will do it, but it is definitely a pretty special record. I think in the moment, we didn’t exactly realize what she had done.”
Trautwein now has three no-hit performances to her credit, and she even has another 21-strikeout performance in a seven-inning game from early on this season against Southeastern Louisiana, though that game she allowed some hits, runs and walks.
NCAA records report that, while not perfect games, Michele Granger from California against Creighton in 1991 and Alexis Osorio for Alabama against Fordham in 2018 are the only other Division 1 softball pitchers to have a 21-strikeout performance in a seven-inning game.
“When I am now taking it all in, it is amazing just how far the story has spread,” Trautwein said. “It is super cool to see how far softball has spread and the audience it has reached. I think being in the record books is super special because it is mainly all big-name schools and then, here comes North Texas.”
More than one week later, Trautwein is still receiving notifications on her phone about her performance.
“My phone is still blowing up right now,” Trautwein said. “It has been 24/7 with people that I went to school with and haven’t talked to in years, but I think the best part is the parents who will message me like, ‘My daughter is 10 and she plays softball, and she wants to be just like you.’ That is so special because I was that little girl once.”
DeLong definitely believes Trautwein received well-deserved recognition.
“She is a good softball player, but I think that she is a better person,” DeLong said. “You can see why the media have fallen in love with her because she is a great human, and it is obviously good for our program to get that exposure.”
As Trautwein has progressed throughout her time at North Texas, DeLong mentioned that North Texas assistant coach Jamie Allred—who was a standout pitcher for McNeese State from 2013 to 2016—has been vital to her development since her sophomore season, specifically with her mentality, ability to handle adversity and work with her changeup.
Throughout the past few seasons, Allred said she has continued to work with Trautwein on her pitch-by-pitch mentality.
“We work so much on just having an approach and having a plan with every pitch,” Allred said. “I will call the pitch, but then she has a plan (for it).”
Trautwein added that Allred was the first pitching coach to really introduce her to the mental side of pitching.
“That has been the biggest game-changer for my game,” Trautwein said. “I had to learn really fast that the mental game is the most important part to being a pitcher, and she taught me everything about it.”
Allred loved watching Trautwein shine and get the spotlight. When asked what really makes Trautwein a standout, Allred added that she has an unbelievable work ethic and is extremely coachable.
“It is a lot more than just her talent,” Allred said. “She brings it every single day to the bullpen. She shows up with a smile on her face and just wanting to work.”
With the historic performance behind her, Trautwein and North Texas continue to gain momentum, as the Mean Green are currently 24-9 and on a 10-game winning streak.
Trautwein seemingly helped put North Texas softball on the map with her record-breaking performance. Already an all-time great North Texas pitcher, Trautwein could add to her legacy and complete a storybook season if she helps lead the Mean Green to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history.
“I think just this coverage being shown to a mid-major program shows that you can compete and make a name for yourself with the big guys,” Trautwein said. “I am hoping this leads to a (NCAA) Regional because that is something that we have never done before.”