CM – Five things you should know about James Madison’s stout mug, Odicci Alexander

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Alexander, now 2-0 in the Women’s College World Series, was a three-sport star in high school

by limiting Oklahoma to three runs in the season – after becoming the nation this season with 11.1 runs per game – James Madison pitcher Odicci Alexander lived up to every hype she led during a Redshirt senior season in which she made the mid-important for his debut appearance in the Women’s College World Series ( WCWS).

The Dukes are now 2-0 in the WCWS after Alexander brought their team to a second surprise on Friday evening against Oklahoma State with 2-1. She beat the entire game, surrendering only three hits.

The dominant pitching performance in Game 1 on Thursday by Alexander, who limited the Sooners to six hits, shocked the college softball world when the non-power -5 program hit a national powerhouse that has won two of the last four championships (and finished runner-up). up to UCLA in the last championship in 2019).

Alexander continued their dominance over seventh-placed Oklahoma State on Friday night with a dramatic win that improved their season record to 18-1. James Madison became the first unset team to win two games in WCWS, a win that marked that spectacular game by Alexander that kept Oklahoma State from drawing the game in its final at-bat.

Alexander , Colonial Athletic Association’s Pitcher of the Year who chose to return to James Madison after the coronavirus pandemic cut the 2020 season short, emerged as a nationally recognized star Thursday by defeating senior Oklahoma. </ Your tournament credentials were rock solid: 16 wins, a 1.14 ERA, and two no-hitters (including a perfect game). She also hit 19 thugs in an NCAA regional win against Liberty, and has now recorded wins against Missouri, Tennessee and now Oklahoma and Oklahoma State in the past two weeks.

While Alexander started playing softball at age 7, it lasted another three years before she started pitching. « I was the player who always wanted the ball in hand, » said Alexander D1 Softball. “I wanted to be in control of the game.”

Early lessons for Alexander were to throw a ball against the fountain in her grandparents house. « I sprayed stains on the fountain and just threw it on it, » she said, « and it would bounce back on me. »

When she mastered hitting the spots on the fountain at speed, Alexander next learned how you throw a changeup.

« I watched YouTube videos about different grips and such, » she said in the D1 Softball interview. « I’ve seen different pitchers from different colleges. »

When James Madison’s coach at the time, Mickey Dean, was competing in a semi-finals of the Virginia High School State Championship in 2014, he had a pitcher in his sights who would finish at the top-ranked 3A -Team of the state threw. While watching the game, Dean couldn’t take his eyes off Alexander playing for the opposing Park View High School team. « As I watched, I thought, ‘I want her,' » said Dean, now the softball trainer at Auburn, through Alexander. “She was the best player on the field. Powerful. Determined. Your team really shouldn’t have been competing with the team they were up against. But she kept them in the game. ”

Park View lost that game, but Alexander gained a life changing admirer. By the end of the year, Dean had offered her a scholarship with James Madison.

« At that point, she was only playing locally and was under the radar, » said Dean. “She became aware of her when she was playing on a travel team in the summer of her senior year. We were lucky enough to sign her when we did. « 

 » She was good, but I didn’t offer her, « said Dean. “I just liked Odicci. She was powerful and you just knew she would be highly motivated. ”

Alexander’s high school softball resume is impressive: a first-team infielder across the county as a freshman; Second Team All-State Second, First Team All District, First Team All Conference, and District Pitcher of the Year Junior; and first team-all-district / second-team-all conference as senior.

But Alexander was also an all-conference guard on the Park View basketball team, doing the all-district and all-conference in volleyball Teams.

« She’s always been one of the best athletes in every sport she played, » said Park View softball coach Dean Crutchfield, who had been a great shooter her career since she was 7. Just good at everything she’s done. ”

Isaiah Maurice, Alexander’s older brother, began his college career in Kansas State in the 2016-17 season before moving to Memphis, where he played for Anfernee Hardaway.

Maurice, a 6-foot-10 forward, started 20 games in his two seasons in Memphis and had the best game of his career in the 2018-19 season when he scored 21 points in a win over central Florida. His career average: 3.5 points and 2.2 rebounds.

When Alexander was asked about her grandparents Washington and Emily Alexander, who she and her four siblings, during an interview with ESPN reporter Jalyn Johnson just before WCWS started raised her, she got emotional.

« Everything my grandparents did for me, it’s like I couldn’t thank them enough, » said Alexander, fighting back tears. “You were my rock from the start. I just thank God for blessing me with such great people in my life. ”

Meet Odicci Alexander, @JMUSoftball’s breakout star pitcher, in this wonderful interview with Jalyn Johnson about Odicci’s WHY, Goals for WCWS, how she hopes little girls can look up to her and how she started playing the WELL in her backyard. @ 2seas __ @ jregina14 pic.twitter.com/4sifd58cwG

Her grandparents, especially her grandfather, were Stuck in the stands at most of Alexander’s games since she started playing softball.

« When they went with Odicci on their official visit, they [her grandparents] were so grateful for everything, » said Dean, the former coach by James Madison. “You have always held them accountable, which is important because every child goes through trials and difficulties. [Her grandfather] always encouraged her, telling her to put her head to the grindstone and get things done. « 

 » We have traveled everywhere from South Carolina to Texas to Louisiana to Georgia for softball games, and Mr. « Alexander doesn’t miss a thing, » said Crutchfield. « He can’t be there right now, which is why I imagine she got so emotional. »

While he wasn’t traveling to Oklahoma, Alexander made sure she sent her grandfather a social media shout-out .

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Jerry Bembry is a senior writer on The Undefeated. His bucket list points include serenading Lizz Wright and watching the curtsey at an NBA game in June.

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