By Andrew Alexander
In the realm of college softball, there may not be a name more feared by pitchers than Bianka Bell.
With a fantastic 2015 season, the LSU Lady Tigers shortstop earned the moniker of “Home Run Queen” when she surpassed former Tiger outfielder Rachel Mitchell’s career home run record of 33 against Arkansas. Through 39 games, Bell currently sits at 38 career home runs, slugging .951% and batting a mind-boggling .512 —165 points over her previous career best.
Before a daunting six-game road trip to Starkville, Knoxville and Lake Charles, DIG Magazine caught up with the sweet-swinging Tiger.
DIG: Do you remember when you hit your first home run as a kid?
Bianka Bell: I actually do not remember that. I’m pretty sure it was like 14 and under. It was cool, and after that I had a bunch more.
DIG: What’s the most significant home run you’ve hit in your career?
BB: I think so far the most significant home run for me was last year against Tennessee. It put us ahead and secured the series win.
DIG: How do your current statistics (.512 avg, .951 slg%, 12 home runs, 63 hits) compare to your own preseason goals?
BB: I’m pretty content with how things are going so far. I’m just hoping to continue to go on as the season progresses and stay comfortable, see the ball well in the box and trust my team to come through when need be. And stay focused on getting to the College World Series.
DIG: Do you have a friendly wager with sophomore Sahvanna Jaquish (14 home runs) about who will hit more homers this season?
BB: No, we don’t really discuss things like that. Home runs don’t really mean anything unless it’s a big home run when we really need it. They’re just hits and RBIs. We’re just focused on producing runs and doing our job in the three and four holes.
DIG: What’s your best coach Beth Torina story?
BB: Coach is really fun to be around. We’re really big on joking around. Sometimes I’ll hide behind a door and scream really loud and scare her. A couple of weeks ago she got me back. I had my headphones on, and I was listening to music coming up the stairs. Coach jumped out to scare me, and I literally almost pooped my pants.
DIG: What’s your favorite pregame meal?
BB: I’m not really a big eater before games, but if I had to pick something, it would probably be Mexican, like Qdoba or Izzo’s.
DIG: What are some of your softball superstitions?
BB: I like to wear a different type of ribbon every game. I put my socks on the opposite feet, and my batting gloves go on a certain way.
DIG: Favorite sports movie? Favorite quote from said movie?
BB: Remember the Titans. My sister and I can quote it. It’s a really good movie, and it pumps us up. My favorite quote is when Gerry Bertier is in the hospital and Julius Campbell comes in to visit and the nurse says “Only kin’s allowed in here,” and Gerry responds, “Are you blind? Don’t you see the family resemblance? That’s my brother.”
DIG: What’s an interesting fact about yourself that most Tiger fans wouldn’t know?
BB: Most people know me to be pretty outgoing and fun. I don’t have any hidden talents, but I scream really loud randomly. I scream just to do it.
DIG: What’s been your favorite memory so far of this season?
BB: It wasn’t a great memory, but playing in the snow in against Kentucky was the coolest thing so far. It was my first time to even see snow.
DIG: Outside of a College World Series appearance, what are some of your personal goals for the remainder of the season?
BB: I’ve been working towards this since my freshman year, but I want to be an All-American and make the All-SEC team and stuff like that.
DIG: How do you feel about fans referring to you as the LSU softball home run queen?
BB: I don’t really consider myself the “Home Run Queen” because Sahvanna Jaquish is by far surpassing anybody with the home runs. I just try to be the RBI queen.