May 25, 2012
- Download your Iowa Hawkeye iPhone app!
- Download your Iowa Hawkeye Android app!
- Big Ten Network: Free Hawkeye Video
- 24 Hawkeyes to Watch
Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The increase in the speed of the game was an area shortstop Megan Blank knew she would have to adjust to in her first season with the University of Iowa softball program. She made the transition seem seamless.
Blank, a freshman from Culver City, Calif., got off to a quick start as a Hawkeye and carried that momentum throughout the 2012 season.
“Once she started on that roll, she got more confidence swinging away instead of bunting and slapping,” said UI head coach Marla Looper. “She had some early success and stuck with it. It’s one of those things, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’
“When you’re hitting like that and no one has the formula to get you out, then use it. Our team was able to really benefit from that.”
After coming to Iowa City as a bunt/slap hitter from the left side of the plate, UI assistant/hitting coach Stacy May-Johnson tossed around the idea of having Blank swing away. It stuck and with promising results.
“It was a nice surprise. I knew I was up there, but I didn’t really pay attention much. The coaches say to never care about the stats, and I don’t really. I just play for the team, and if you’re doing that, good things will come.”
UI freshman Megan Blank on earning All-Big Ten and all-region honors
Blank paced the Hawkeyes with a .390 batting average with a team-best 60 hits in 154 at-bats. She also led the team in doubles (17), triples (5) and walks (25), while scoring 34 runs and driving in 29. Her 17 doubles are the fourth most in a single season in school history, while the five triples are tied for eighth and the batting average is tied for 10th in the Iowa record books.
“I grew a lot because of all the coaches,” said Blank of her freshman season. “I learned a lot working with coach Johnson because coming in, I was more of a slapper, and she decided to develop my hitting away. I happened to find a little bit of success there.”
Blank’s “little bit of success” led to her earning First Team All-Big Ten and 2012 National Fastpitch Coaches Association Second Team All-Region honors as a freshman. She is the ninth player in school history to garner All-Big Ten and all-region honors in her inaugural collegiate season.
“It was a nice surprise. I knew I was up there, but I didn’t really pay attention much,” said Blank. “The coaches say to never care about the stats, and I don’t really. I just play for the team, and if you’re doing that, good things will come.”
Blank credits senior Katie Keim with much of her freshman success. She says wouldn’t have ended with her final numbers without Keim batting behind her in the lineup.
“I couldn’t have had all the success without Katie behind me,” said Blank. “Coming in as a freshman, no one really knows much about you. Everyone knows Katie because she’s a senior and they know the damage she can do. I owe a lot of my success to Katie’s presence behind me in the lineup.”
While the 2012 season didn’t end where she would have liked, Blank relished the opportunity of being in the Big Ten title race until the final weekend and is looking forward to taking the next step.
“We’re ready for next year,” said Blank, who led the Hawkeyes to a Big Ten runner-up finish. “At the end of the season we got a little taste of what it can be like. We’re ready to take the next step and take it all.”