Longhorns’ senior backstop excels both offensively and defensively

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Amy Hooks, left, has been a calming presence for sophomore pitcher Blaire Luna this year.

Photo Credit: Trent Lesikar | Daily Texan Staff

Amy Hooks has had four great years at Texas. In her time here, she has grown as a hitter and a catcher and become a force in the Longhorn lineup, becoming the all-time home run leader in Texas history last Saturday at Texas Tech.

Oddly enough, she didn’t even start out as a catcher. Hooks was a shortstop before donning the catching gear for her select team.

She decided to try catching after her coach suggested it after practice one day, and thanks to her love for a famous Texas Ranger, she gave it a shot. The rest has gone down in Longhorn softball history.

“Growing up I loved Pudge Rodríguez, and I was like ‘Anything to be like him,’ so I put on the gear and started catching,” Hooks said.

Getting the hang of the position was difficult for Hooks at first, especially blocking balls in the dirt. With practice, she has molded herself into the catcher she is today; one that has maintained a .997
fielding percentage.

“I can’t say that I’ve always had that fielding percentage because I know I used to have problems with blocking,” Hooks said. “I really give the credit to [Texas assistant coach] Megan Willis who took the time out to work with me. We’ve done drill after drill to get better at blocking, so all the credit goes to her.”

Hooks has also shown the same growth at bat, going from hitting a paltry .193 with three home runs her freshman year to batting .370 up to this point in her senior year, with 12 bombs.

So how did she go from batting below the Mendoza Line to being the all-time home run leader in Texas history? Hard work.

“Having a couple of years under your belt and knowing the level of the pitchers and the desire of wanting to have a great season, too, and to go out with a bang my senior year, I’ve just been putting in more effort and wanting to strengthen that part of my game,” Hooks said.

Perhaps the most important part of Hooks’ job description is being the field general for the defense and working with the pitchers to call the games.

“She does calm me down. She definitely helps my confidence and helps me to get through the situation, and I know she has a lot of faith in me, like I have in her,” said pitcher Blaire Luna.

Hooks excels at all parts of the game, and part of that all-around excellence comes from the fact that she thinks like a coach. That’s not surprising, considering she has aspirations to be one in the future.

“She’s going to be a great coach at some point,” said Texas head coach Connie Clark. “She’s always thinking of the next step, thinking big picture, and she has fun doing it.”

Despite all there is to praise about her game on the field, it doesn’t manage to fully describe what she means to the program, her teammates and her coaches. But Clark sums it up best when she talks about Hooks’ career in Austin.

“Amy Hooks is absolutely amazing, and I’ve thought a lot about it over the last few weeks, and I’m going to miss the heck out of that kid,” she said.