The 49ers softball team leads the Conference USA East division, sitting at 11-5 in conference games. If there's one thing this team has, it's talent.
One of these talents is Sophomore Pitcher Madelyn Wright. While there are many pitchers that don't bat, you rarely find a pitcher who is as much of a dual-threat as Wright. Whether she is stepping up to the mound or the plate, she poses a threat to opposing teams.
Wright comes from Fort Worth, Texas. It may be a 16-hour drive from Fort Worth to Charlotte, but it isn't much of a difference in sports either.
"All the sports in Texas are huge and overdone and coming here and even seeing the first football game, our stands in high school are the same size as our stands here. It's been fun, I'm used to the big sports atmosphere," said Wright.
Even back in high school, she has been able to handle the big atmosphere. At V.R. Eaton High School, Wright earned many school records with 698 strikeouts, 85 wins, and a .475 batting average. At Eaton, she earned Pitcher of the Year in 2019 and first-team All-State and Academic All-State.
In her freshman year at Charlotte, Wright started in 25 of her 27 appearances, going 3-4 and holding a 3.92 ERA. She even saw time at first base because the team had six pitchers and short on other positions.
Her batting stats translated well from high school to college. She led all freshmen in batting average (.394), hits (28), doubles (7), triples (1), home runs (4) and RBIs (24). Hitting has always been a huge part of Wright's game and proved to be one of the better hitters during last year's shortened season.
"I love it so much. Just being able to have that on top of pitching has been really fun. I don't think I can just be a PO because of how much I love hitting," said Wright.
While she didn't see much pitching in her freshman year, she has played a much larger role on the mound her sophomore season. She dropped her ERA from 3.92 to 3.02, increased her win percentage by 29%, and her batting average allowed dropped from .291 to .261.
Less than a month ago, Wright won the C-USA Pitcher of the Week award after pitching a total of 13.1 innings, allowing 13 hits while only giving up one earned run and striking out nine batters. She collected three wins over four games while holding an impressive 0.68 ERA. At bat, Wright hit for .400 with two RBIs, a double and a home run. She felt honored and humbled to be a recipient of the award.
"Growing up, you see all those awards and think I can't wait to get to college and play college softball. Maybe I'll win some of those awards, and maybe I'll be an All-American. Being able to see me on the cover of the Conference USA page was just a really cool feeling," said Wright.
When Wright steps on the field, she plays with a confidence that is shown not only her words but also her performance.
"Coming back this year after quarantine and everything, my confidence was at a whole new level, and knowing that the coaches know what I can do now, and knowing that I proved myself," said Wright.
It hasn't been an easy road for Wright. The team had their season halted for half of March due to covid tracing within the program. As an athlete in the world today, she had to make a lot of sacrifices, especially in her social life. Although it has taken a toll on her mentally, it has yet to slow her production on the field. Wright continues to improve and continues to pose a threat to teams every time she steps onto the diamond.
The Niners are less than two weeks away from the C-USA Championship, and Wright is ready to go. As she has all year, Wright will play a big role in the team's success with only one more C-USA series against Marshall this weekend at home.