Roadrunners Q&A with Amanda Lehotak
SAN ANTONIO — Head softball coach Amanda Lehotak just completed her second season at UTSA and guided the Roadrunners to a 27-26 mark, which was a three-game improvement from the previous campaign. Lehotak recently sat down with goUTSA.com to reflect on the season and look ahead to the future.
It’s been about a month since the end of your second year at UTSA and you’ve had some time to reflect on your team’s performance during the year. Did the team meet your expectations for the season?
“I am very pleased with the overall body of work by the team this season. Our success was not a surprise to me, but I do believe at certain times during the year our success was a surprise to our student-athletes. I think they now see what we can be, how we can be what we want to be and that we are right on track. The team now is completely on board and is focused. I am very proud of them. There are points of the year that I am still dissecting where I felt we dipped in play and my staff and I are in the process of analyzing everything to make sure we as coaches do not let that happen again.”
The team committed just 43 errors and posted a .970 fielding percentage, which ranked 32nd in the nation, with four new infielders and in many cases two new outfielders. What was the key to that defensive success?
“I think their overall attitude was a big key to that success. They bought in to our defensive philosophies from the first day and kept it simple. Our goal is to get an out on every play. We never are afraid to give up a run to get an out and I think when a team buys in to that you start limiting the other teams opportunities, which gives you a tough defense to hit against.”
Your squad also stole 35 bases this season, which was the most by the Roadrunners since 2004 and more than the previous two seasons combined. How happy were you with the team’s aggressiveness on the basepaths and what did that extra speed allow you to do this season?
“Having steal threats was fun! It just changes the entire game plan of another team if they worry about your speed. We want to start stressing the other team before the first pitch is even thrown. As a coach, when you start talking about how fast a team is, it’s automatic stress for seven innings. The speed we had this year allowed us to score from second on a base hit rather than have to hit a double to score a runner. It was fun. The exciting thing is speed is a huge part of our recruiting and Roadrunners fans haven’t seen anything yet when it comes to speed. In the next few years we will have some student-athletes that can flat out fly!”
UTSA just finished up its first and only season in the Western Athletic Conference and will join Conference USA on July 1. How excited are you and your staff for the transition?
“We are thrilled. To be in such a top notch softball conference is going to be a blast. We are really looking forward to competing against great softball programs and I am really looking forward to competing against some of the top coaches in the country that reside in Conference USA.”
What challenges do you think the new conference will bring?
“I think the challenges that we face in the future are more about us than the conference. Conference USA plays the same game as the Western Athletic Conference and the Southland Conference. The game doesn’t change. We are going to just continue to focus on our team and play ball when it’s time.”
What are some goals you have for yourself and your staff during the offseason?
“One of our goals is to continue to recruit the top softball players in the country. Besides recruiting, we will continue to study the game, learn new drills, watch film and continue to be better for our student-athletes. We cannot ask our athletes to train all summer if we are not training, as well. We each have homework in different areas of the game to that will help us be better coaches.”
As it is with each sport, summer is a busy time for recruiting by you and your staff. What are a few characteristics that you look for in a potential Roadrunner, regardless of what position they play?
“Attitude. We want players that love the game and want to be great in all areas of their lives. I do not do well with players that just want to be good. I want players that want to be great in everything that they do.”