By Jennifer Van Tuyl
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
Second baseman Amber Flores has made a name for herself the past three years on the Oklahoma softball squad. Renowned for her offensive fire power, Flores has hit 12 homeruns this season with a .419 batting average, leading her team to a 13-4 record in Big 12 play and 37-13 record overall.
For Flores, these numbers are not a result of any magic formula, but simply relaxing and having a good time.
“I just kind of go up there with the same approach for every pitch,” Flores said. “I don’t think about anything but a good pitch and I just try to drive the ball.”
Teammate Samantha Ricketts also recognizes Flores’ offensive talent.
“It is amazing,” Ricketts said. “We give her a hard time all the time because she doesn’t lift as much as some of the power hitters, but she hits the ball further than anybody. She just goes out there and hits the ball every time and nothing bothers her, and you can see that.”
Flores’ relaxed attitude extends beyond the batters box and resonates within the entire team. Playing for OU often creates a high-pressured environment, and as a leader Flores hopes to let her confidence rub-off on the team.
“I would hope my attitude rubs off on the girls,” Flores said. “I hope everyone relaxes, especially right now during Big 12 play. Big crowds and games are usually close so it is a high-pressured environment. I just want to relax everybody and make everybody feel confident.”
There are many tactics Flores uses to help her teammates relax, including pumping everyone up when the Sooners score, pulling pranks in the locker room, and giving players a hard time if they mess up during the game.
“When she comes sliding into home she gets up and jumps on the first person she sees, pumping her fists,” Ricketts said. “In the locker room she is one of those that will be pulling pranks on people. Anything from hiding their shoes, to putting something in their shoes. If something happens, the first person you are probably going to go to is Amber.”
Flores’ favorite target is sophomore outfielder Haley Anderson.
“Poor girl,” a laughing Flores said. “We give it to her all the time. She is a good kid and I love being around her. She is one of my favorites. At times she gets a little bit stressed out, so we like to get her riled up.”
Whether Flores is hitting a homerun or cheering on her teammates, the greatest thing about Flores is that she wants to make everyone around her better.
“I think this team really has a lot of potential and we can go as far as we want,” Flores said. “We are still in the race for the Big 12 and hopefully we can win it. I think this team can go as far we want, but we have to learn from all the lessons throughout the season. Live and learn from those rough patches we hit and we will be successful.”