Olivia See had to rediscover her passion for the game.
Just a few years ago, the Mustang senior felt a little out of touch. She wasn’t quite sure of her path in the sport.
Quitting came to mind. Going into her sophomore year, See had a decision to make. She could hang up her cleats and put away her glove, or she could listen to the encouragement and support from a teammate and close friend.
“I just didn’t love it anymore,” See said of trying to play through her feelings at the time. “The team I had joined when I was 12 had fallen apart and I didn’t think I was very good. I was barely playing… more like a sub in right field.
“But playing with her reminded me of the things I enjoy. Having people there for you and people that can relate to the things you’re going through. It made me realize that I still have that love for the game.”
See not only found her desire to play but is now one of five seniors hoping to lead the Mustang Broncos back to the Class 6A state tournament for a third straight year. She is also going to play in college at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkansas.
Olivia See looks to bunt during Mustang’s 10-0 senior night win over Lawton on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022 at Bronco Stadium. See is hitting .310 this season with a .375 on-base percentage, 15 runs scored, and two stolen bases. (Photo by Ron Lane / Lane Images)
Speed and fielding ability make See an asset for Lacy Darity’s squad, as well as her skill from the left-handed batter’s box. And over the last two seasons, learning to control the mental side of the game has helped everything fall into place for the talented outfielder.
“I would tend to get nervous a lot before games,” she said. “Any time I messed up or did something wrong, I’d really take it hard. So, I’ve had to learn to relax and have fun with it. My teammates and coaches have really made it a fun environment and have helped me learn to kind of just go with the flow more.”
See is hitting for a .310 average so far this season, along with a .375 on-base percentage. She has scored 15 runs, stole two bases, and has made numerous stellar defensive plays.
“Usually when Liv gets on base, good things happen for us,” said Darity, Mustang’s third-year head coach. “She hits near the bottom of the order for us because her speed right there when we turn the lineup over is huge. She is definitely a weapon for us at the plate, on the bases, and in the field.”
Teammate and fellow senior Landry Garza feels the same way about See’s abilities.
“Her speed increases our energy and gets us pumped up,” Garza said. “We know she can fly. She’s also a great teammate and a hard worker that holds herself to a high standard.”
See knows how to adjust as well.
After growing up as a right-handed hitter, she made the switch to the left side as a slapper. The move helped her earn more playing time and has also helped boost the team’s offense.
“That’s a tough transition to make, especially this late in a career,” Darity said. “She did that between her freshman and sophomore year and to pick it up that late is pretty impressive. She’s done a good job with it and knows how to get the ball down in the dirt and use her speed to her advantage.
“It really speaks to her work ethic and believing in the process. It has been beneficial for her and the team at the same time.”
See describes the change as more of a mental challenge. It was trial and error for a while, but now it’s coming second nature.
“It was definitely hard at first,” she said. “I knew I was going to have to be open to mistakes. And I definitely made a lot of them.
“It was also hard because I knew it would affect my playing time while trying to work through the switch. But it was something I really desired to do and now it has become a strength.”
See is also proud of the work her and the upperclassmen, as well as other teammates, have done as leaders. They have created what she calls a “welcoming atmosphere” with activities such as ‘Bigs and Littles’ and other bonding events.
“Having the leadership council and those other things have helped us all come together and discuss the core values we want for the program,” she said. “For some girls it’s hard to feel welcome. I love it most when we get together outside of softball and get everyone involved. We want to make sure everyone feels like their voice is heard.”
The Broncos are heading down the back stretch of their schedule and See and her fellow seniors are nearing the end of their final regular season. The team is in contention for a district title and See believes they are ready to take the next step.
“We just have to stay focused,” she said. “It’s that time to start switching our mindset and locking in to eliminate the little mistakes you can’t make to get to state and win it.
“We have what it takes, we just have to play loose and make it happen.”