By Alan Hieber
When Wright State starts its run at redemption in the Horizon League softball tournament Wednesday, junior outfielder Honnah Susor will be looking to make solid contact with the ball once again as the team leader in batting average.
Susor, who is a rehabilitation studies major with hopes of being a pediatric occupational therapist one day, played high school softball at Clay in Oregon, Ohio, and holds a number of school records there.
Taking the field for WSU wasn't on Susor's radar until former Raider softball player Mollie Berry, who was coaching her at Clay, mentioned the school to her.
“I had never heard of Wright State. She contacted Coach Curylo at the time and said, ‘Go watch this girl. I think you might like her,'” Susor said. “Since Mollie put my name out there I became more interested in Wright State, and it looked like a place I really wanted to go.”
It didn't take long for Susor to be on a tear as a hitter. She led her team in batting average (.361) as only a sophomore last season.
With WSU coach Justine Wichman also taking on responsibilities as pitching coach this season, Susor has noticed that she has still found time to invest giving encouragement to each individual player.
“She (Wichman) boosts my confidence if I'm in a slump. I wasn't hitting as well in the beginning of the season,” Susor said. “She would come up to me and say, ‘You know you're better than that and don't need to look at statistics. You've got to get out of your head.'”
The slump for Susor didn't last very long. In league games, she has been hitting the cover off of the ball with a .449 average. In order to stay dialed in at the plate, she says that she gets in extra reps and tries to stay calm and focused starting with the routine of putting on her elbow guard, batting gloves and helmet.
Once at the plate Susor is in attack mode.
“I'm not a first pitch swinger, but I will say that I like being behind in the count,” Susor said. “I think it gives me an extreme focus.”
“She (Susor) knows how to read the defense. When she decides to swing, the ball just jumps off her bat furiously,” Wichman said. “Her constant work ethic to always be better then yesterday has proven great results.”
In the midst of a game Susor has one positive distraction, the success of her teammates.
“I subconsciously play for them. It's a team sport, so they're always in the back of my mind,” Susor said. “They're my sisters on and off the field.”
Wichman went on to give Susor plenty of superlatives for her multi-faceted abilities on the field, including being a triple-threat offensively.
“She can bunt for a hit, slap, and hit for power. Her game speed is another bonus, and not to mention she has a cannon of an arm,” Wichman said. “I would say Honnah's leadership style is leading by example. Her continuous grind at practice and in games makes her a great teammate.”
With the connectedness her team has, Susor feels it is easier to understand what her teammates' boundaries are when they are fielding. She has this type of rapport with Raider second baseman Libby Pfeffer.
Pfeffer noted some of the strengths in Susor's game.
“Honnah is the definition of a good teammate. She puts the team first, is selfless and leads by example,” Pfeffer said “I never have any doubt when the ball is hit over my head that she won't be able to catch it. She is the girl you always want on your team.”
From expressing themselves during pregame lineup announcements to singing on the bus while on road trips, it's pretty clear this Raider team gets along. Susor agreed.
“We're a goofy bunch. There is a mixture of personalities on the team, but I think all of us together bring a different level of goofiness out,” Susor said. “We have a lot of fun together and get along for the most part.”
The Raiders have been on the cusp of a HL tournament crown as runner-up for two straight seasons. After these tough results, Susor says there has been a mentality shift on the team from taking on unnecessary pressure to perform to playing free.
“It flusters us and we start making errors and mistakes that we shouldn't make. Not putting that pressure on ourselves helps us play free,” Susor said. “We're hitting great right now, and I think that is because we can play free. You don't feel like you're carrying weights on your shoulders during games.”
Based off of her production this season, Susor probably won't play like she is carrying weights on her shoulders at the HL tournament, but will rather be giving the ball a heavy swing.
“She (Susor) is a true competitor,” Wichman said. “Most of the time she doesn't even acknowledge how good she really is.”