Iowa softball’s Allie Wood prepares for final Hawkeye season

Despite enduring injuries and offensive challenges, Wood has made preseason adjustments to her game to benefit her team.

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Iowa softball’s Allie Wood prepares for final Hawkeye season

Allie Wood hits a line drive against Iowa State Saturday, Sep. 30, 2017. The Hawkeyes tied the Cyclones 3-3. (Paxton Corey/The Daily Iowan)

Allie Wood hits a line drive against Iowa State Saturday, Sep. 30, 2017. The Hawkeyes tied the Cyclones 3-3. (Paxton Corey/The Daily Iowan)

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Lily

Allie Wood hits a line drive against Iowa State Saturday, Sep. 30, 2017. The Hawkeyes tied the Cyclones 3-3. (Paxton Corey/The Daily Iowan)

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Lily

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Lily

Allie Wood hits a line drive against Iowa State Saturday, Sep. 30, 2017. The Hawkeyes tied the Cyclones 3-3. (Paxton Corey/The Daily Iowan)

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Senior Allie Wood has had a roller-coaster career in the Iowa softball program, but she has the potential to make a big impact on her final season.

“She’s grown through her four years here,” head coach Marla Looper said. “She’s a phenomenal young woman, but in her four years here, she’s had some highs and lows, she’s had some injuries that have set her out for a while, and she’s fought to come back. It’s a sign of a true, gritty, team player that she’s done what she’s done and hasn’t given up over the years, and I think we’re going to see that more and more this year.”

Despite being out for almost half the season during her sophomore year, Wood returned for her junior season to start 50 games.

Resiliency is important in a game that is based mainly around failure.

“She’s working through some kinks, trying to change her approach at the plate, and when she can do that regularly, she’s going to be a tremendous asset for us,” Looper said. “It’s a different mindset, again, that we’re trying to take up to the plate, and be in the attack mindset, and attack early and hit pitches that we want to hit, and not wait for somebody else.”

Wood has the ability to provide a big bat for the Hawkeyes, with a third of her hits last season going for extra bases.

However, Looper said, she doesn’t want the pressure to produce runs to get into Wood’s head.

The mindset is all about relaxing in the box and doing she knows she is capable of doing when there are runners on base.

“She does provide power; the challenge is getting good wood on the ball — no pun intended — but the challenge is if she doesn’t let the ball carry and doesn’t square it up, then it doesn’t do us much good,” Looper said.

RELATED: Iowa softball ties with Iowa State

This season, Wood said, she likes the way her preseason work has been going, both skill-wise and teammate-wise.

“Individually, I think that I still have a lot of work to do, but I think that the process is going along well,” Wood said. “I think that I have some things that I have to work on to be a better leader that I want to be, but I think overall, it’s going in the right direction.”

She has communicated with the coaching staff on what she needs to do to have a bigger presence on the field so that she can benefit the team.

Senior teammate Cheyenne Pratt has built “great communication” in the outfield over the past few seasons.

Wood attested to how her leadership shines through in game, starting with her focus.

“I think just the fire in her and the way she approaches everything, she approaches it with like a great mentality to push us together every day,” Wood sayd.

As a whole, she believes this Hawkeye team has the personality to fight through every battle. That came to light in a big offensive eighth inning that led to a 6-5 win over Drake on Oct. 1.

“My favorite part I think would be our spunk,” Wood said. “We have a couple things going on in the dugout, we’re working some things out, we have fight there. We’re always going, we’re always doing things. The fight, the effort, and the spunk that we’ve got is really working for us right now; we just have to get the other things in order.”

Being from California, Wood has felt a unique effect of Iowa’s softball program on her life.

Hawkeye softball stepped in to fill that family void and has helped her to become the strong individual she is today.

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