Dig Baton Rouge

Bailey Landry adds power game to dynamic skill set

Two kinds of hitters dominate softball: slappers and power hitters.
Slappers are masters of small ball, who use their speed and precision hitting to get on base, setting the table for power hitters, who drive them home with a barrage of long balls.
These specialized roles allow defenses to predict what a batter will do in particular situations and how to defend against it.
Enter into this black and white world, LSU’s dual-threat outfielder Bailey Landry, who does it all: from dropping textbook bunts to crushing home runs over the Tiger Park scoreboard.
After building a resume as one of the top slappers in the nation in first two seasons in Baton Rouge, Landry continued her development in the offseason by focusing on power hitting.
“It adds to the list of things that you can do and be able to get on base and help the team,” Landry said. “It’s a fun thing to develop new parts of your game.”
Since her freshman season in 2014, Landry has showcased her blazing speed with a dynamic combination of soft and hard slapping, rarely displaying her ability to drive home the long ball.
The Prairieville, Louisiana, native started making her mark early both at the plate, hitting a .368 average out of various spots in the lineup, and in the field, notching a .923 fielding percentage, in her freshman campaign.
During the Tigers’ record-setting 2015 season, Landry found a home in the No. 2 spot behind former Tiger outfielder A.J. Andrews and became one of the Tigers’ most consistent weapons, leading the team with a .426 batting average and 89 hits.
Along with breaking the program record with a 21-game hitting streak, Landry recorded 25 multi-hit games and reached base in 43-straight games.
Landry eclipsed her success in the regular season with a postseason clutch-hitting clinic, aided by the emergence of her power hitting, during the Tigers’ run to a third place finish in the 2015 Women’s College World Series.
“Bailey has always been able to swing the bat as far as stand in and swinging, and not slap,” LSU assistant coach Howard Dobson said. “But, she was so good at slapping … When postseason would roll around, she would start trying to stand in a little bit and have some pretty good power numbers.”
In the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional, Landry hit her first home run of the season in the Tigers’ 15-0 blowout of Texas Southern before earning All-Regional honors after posting a .813 slugging percentage and tying for the second-most hits with seven, including three RBIs.
Landry’s roll continued in the Baton Rouge Super Regional against Arizona. She went 3-for-7, including a home run and two RBIs, in the Tigers’ two game sweep of the Wildcats.
In LSU’s four games in the WCWS, Landry hit .357 and was tied for the team-lead with five hits.
Following her postseason power display, Dobson spent the offseason working with Landry on her power game.
“Our goal in the fall was to make her a little more comfortable and confident standing in and swinging, if we ever needed her to or if she ever wanted to,” Dobson said.
For Landry, who has hit the United States’ flagpole in dead center field in Tiger Park, power isn’t the challenge. Dobson said the most difficult part of the adjustment is mastering in which situations to slap or hit.
Understanding this balance is crucial within LSU’s system. Although Dobson said coaches will tell players situations where they should not do one or the other, it is more the player’s call on whether to hit or slap during her at-bat.
Thirty-seven games into the 2016 season, Landry is still in the midst of the learning process.
Though she leads the Tigers with 27 strikeouts, the junior outfielder has notched 16 RBIs on 38 hits while maintaining a .415 on-base percentage.
Dobson has seen Landry’s maturity blossom through her understanding of which pitches she should swing at and those she shouldn’t. Instead of asking why she missed a pitch, Dobson said Landry can identify when she swung at a pitch she didn’t need to.
With five weeks remaining in the regular season, Landry has plenty of time remaining to settle into her dual role before the Tigers begin another postseason run toward a berth in the WCWS.
“Once she figures out the balance between when to be a slapper and when to be a power hitter,” LSU head coach Beth Torina said. “She’s going to be off the charts and be an even better player than she was before…We are shooting for Bailey Landry to be hot at the end and for her to continue this growth process she’s going through. We have all the confidence in the world in her.”

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