Join Our Newsletter! Get The Latest Delivered Right To Your Inbox

Odicci Alexander Stays True To Herself To Become AU Champion

odicci alexander photo by jade hewitt.jpg
(Photo by Jade Hewitt/Athletes Unlimited)

Just two years after shocking the softball world and leading the unseeded James Madison University Dukes to a semifinals appearance at the 2021 Women’s College World Series, Odicci Alexander has marveled on the diamond once again. This time, it was when she became the fourth-ever softball champion of Athletes Unlimited last month.

“I am just grateful,” Alexander told Softball America. “One thing I had going into this season was just gratitude, being grateful for the smallest things this entire season and having so much joy to step on the field. Honestly, I can say I was proud of myself for being consistent throughout the season. To be named No. 1 out of 60 girls who are just so great at what they do, it means a lot.”

Over 13 mound appearances this season, Alexander accumulated a 2.15 earned run average, recorded 42 strikeouts over 42.1 innings and had a season-high of six strikeouts. Finishing with 1,994 leaderboard points, she was right in front of pitcher Alyssa Denham by just 14 points, making that the closest finish in Athletes Unlimited championship season history.

But Alexander’s success this summer was driven by her goal of playing freely, staying present and being where her feet were. Going into the last game of the season knowing the stakes were high only took her back to her initial intent of staying in the moment and not getting too caught up in the leaderboard.

“I have always been the type to go with the flow, and playing in this league where the leaderboard is on the scoreboard is really tough,” Alexander said. “I try not to look at the scoreboard, but I knew going into that last game that I was below Denham. It really comes down to just how you are mentally on the field. For me, that was just being free and if either one of us took that No. 1 spot home, I was all for it.”

When it comes to her style of pitching, Alexander hasn’t changed much at all since college. Aside from a few sequencing changes and learning to breathe better on the mound in high-intensity situations, the same player from JMU has carried over to AU, and for that, Alexander is proud.

“How I am on the mound really hasn’t changed, but within me, I feel calmer and have a mindset of just playing good softball,” Alexander said. “I am proud looking back from college to now, and I can say I have learned a lot about myself and just to see how much I have grown in little aspects means a lot. When you get to a point where you feel so free, you feel (like) your best self.”

Alexander was a captain three weeks out of five this Athletes Unlimited season, a position she hadn’t had the opportunity to be in with AU before. She was in charge of crafting teams that ultimately helped her obtain several more points to guide her to victory, but when it came down to picking players, she wasn’t interested in stats. She wanted athletes who gave off the best energy and who were going to have the most fun on the field.

“I am grateful to experience being a captain and that was one of my goals, to experience how it goes and how everything works,” Alexander said. “It’s actually very stressful because in this league you never know, one person could be hot one week and a different person can be hot another week. I really didn’t go in strategically thinking about stats or anything. When I drafted, I chose based on energy and vibes instead of focusing on who did what last week.”

As Athletes Unlimited says goodbye to season four and looks ahead to season five, Alexander is ready to grind out another offseason. She’ll stick to the same pitching mechanics that have brought her so much success, all while giving back to the game she loves and providing clinics and lessons to young girls.

“I’ll probably do the same thing (and) stay consistent with the little things that I do every day, like journaling and the gym,” Alexander said. “I usually train five days a week and I try to do clinics and tours throughout the offseason to give back to the sport.”

morgan mesaros jmu softball.jpg

Why Morgan Mesaros Chose James Madison University

Morgan Mesaros committed to James Madison University when she was in the 8th grade.

of Free Stories Remaining