The idea of a sophomore slump for LSU softball infielder Amanda Doyle doesn’t even ring a bell.
The "sophomore slump" refers to when the second season of an athlete’s career fails to live up to standards set by the first. Doyle isn’t letting that thought enter her mind.
LSU has a history of power at the plate, with former Tigers Bianka Bell, Sahvanna Jaquish and Bailey Landry — but Doyle isn’t trying to be them.
“People ask you all the time ‘How do you fill those shoes?’’” said LSU coach Howard Dobson. “Honestly, I don’t think you fill them. I think you have to get new shoes. You have to get new kids who bring in different things.”
Doyle has taken that seriously as she tries to become her own person heading into her second season as a Tiger. She looks to fill her own shoes this season rather than someone else’s.
“I’m not like Sahvanna, and I’m not like Bailey. I’m my own person,” Doyle said. “I’m trying to play to my strengths.”
Doyle has played in 62 of LSU’s 70 games and has started in all but two of those. She got hot late into the postseason by recording a .307 batting average in the SEC Tournament Championship game.
She and fellow sophomore infielder Sydney Springfield rotated at first base for the majority of their freshman season. No position is guaranteed in LSU coach Beth Torina’s defense, but Springfield will utilize her skills more as a catcher for the upcoming season.
Doyle understands the importance of having depth in every position and how the team uses that to its own advantage.
“It’s just knowing that if I’m not performing, then Sydney can, and if Sydney’s not performing, then I can,” Doyle said. “It’s just really comforting for a coach. [Torina] knows that if one person doesn’t work out at that moment then the other person will.”
As one of the seven freshmen on the roster last season, Doyle started her college career by making it to the Women’s College World Series. She, Springfield and sophomore outfielder Aliyah Andrews were in the batting lineup for all three of the Tigers’ games.
One of Torina’s main focuses for the upcoming season is to not take Oklahoma City for granted. The biggest struggle for this team, Torina said, is that none of the returning players know what it feels like to not finish their season in Oklahoma City.
Doyle takes that message to heart and applies it to her work ethic in this season.
“We know what we need to do to get there,” Doyle said. “We know what it takes to get there.”
But Doyle still focuses on taking things one day at a time rather than focusing on the big picture too quickly.
All of this year’s returners have made it to the WCWS, and the senior class has made it to the last three.
“We don’t want to know what it feels like to not be there,” Doyle said. “So I think that's what’s driving us to want to work and not get caught up and say, ‘Oh, we’re just going to make it.’ I think that what’s pushing us.”