It’s been another great start for Mandi Baer in 2014. Sporting a .440 batting average (11-for-25) with eight runs scored and five driven in, the Daniel Boone graduate is doing everything she can to help the Bloomsburg University softball team win games.
She can do that in so many ways. With power to deliver 54 extra base hits in her three-plus years on the team, she can also spray the ball to all fields, and bunt for a hit when her teams needs her simply to get on base. She is also an excellent second baseman with good range and a great sense of the game.
“She’s a tremendous athlete, person, teammate and competitor,” said Susan Kocher, the Bloomsburg University head softball coach. She is one of the hardest working athletes I have ever coached.”
Her work paid off some last year when she was named second team All-Atlantic Region by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association.
“This (the award) meant a lot to me,” said Baer. “I was very excited to see that I’m on the right track of hitting my goals to improve as an overall player.
“Bloomsburg softball has been a great fit for me. Each year my performance has increased and so has my confidence to be a leader on the field. I have had a lot of personal growth which I attribute to the coaching and team as a whole.”
Baer was a standout player for the Daniel Boone softball team throughout her high school years. She led her team to a district championship her senior season.
“The feeling of accomplishing that goal is something I will never forget,” said Baer.
When she headed to Bloomsburg University the following year, Baer had little time to adjust. She was inserted as the starting second basemen in all 42 of Bloomsburg’s games during her freshman season.
It was a struggle at first. She hit just .212 (28-for-132) that season with four home runs and 18 RBIs.
“It was an adjustment for me,” said Baer. “In college, every pitcher you face is good, and has a variety of pitches, so it took practice and preparation to be ready for any pitcher I faced.”
Never one to shy away from hard work, Baer put in the time and effort to improve her game in the offseason. It showed during her sophomore year when she hit .352 (62-for-176) with 16 doubles, 41 runs scored and 19 RBIs. As her experience grew, so did her confidence, and her batting average.
Actually, Baer started her athletic career playing baseball. But when she was 13, there was little opportunities for a girl in baseball, so she switched to softball. In addition to playing for Daniel Boone, she also played with the Penn Eclipse, Amity Explosion and the Sellersville Bells.
Every games she played honed her skills and made her the player she is today. Although most of it comes through hard work, she gives a lot of the credit to her father, Charles.
“My dad is the person that has influenced me the most in softball,” said Mandi. “Since I was able to pick up a bat and ball, he was always there to teach me and support me. He coached me throughout my entire career and is one of the biggest reasons why I’m where I am at today.”
According to her coach, Baer brings everything to the table when she plays. It’s not only her physical abilities, but the attitude she takes on the field every game.
“She plays with tremendous passion, not only in games, but in practice every day,” said Kocher.
Baer is a psychology major and would like to pursue something in the field of sports psychology after she graduates.