‘Monster truck’: how Iowa’s freshman softball hitter got her nickname

Iowa softball’s Denali Loecker got a hit in four of six at-bats on Sunday, displaying her hitting prowess.


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa designated player Denali Loecker rounds second after reaching second on an error during a softball game between Iowa and Nebraska on Sunday, May 9, 2021 at Bob Pearl Softball Field. The Hawkeyes defeated the Cornhuskers 4-1.

Sarah Watson, Executive Editor

Denali Loecker dominated in the batter’s box in Sunday’s double header against Nebraska, getting a hit in four out of her six at-bats between the two games. 

And her teammates and fans recognize her hard-hitting consistency.

Each time Loecker, a freshman from Ogden, Iowa, stepped up to the plate Sunday, the home stands started chanting her nickname “monster truck.”

Once during hitting practice, Loecker recalled, fellow freshman Grace Banes stood in the outfield and commented to her teammates “oh monster girl’s up” when Loecker stepped up to bat. After telling Loecker about it the next day, Loecker decided she liked that type of nickname.

“I was like, actually, I like monster truck. And so, we all got nicknames and mine’s monster truck,” Loecker said.

Loecker posted three hits in her first three at-bats against Nebraska on Sunday and drove in three runs during the doubleheader. The Hawkeyes won three of their four games against the Cornhuskers over the weekend. 

Those three runs came from one play. With bases loaded and two outs on the scoreboard, Loecker was up. After getting down in the count, she drove an inside pitch to the outfield for a double to score all three runners on base. 

“I was just seeing the ball, putting it at play and moving my teammates,” Loecker said. “So, I was just looking for that inside pitch and drove it to the fence.”

That kind of confidence has impressed teammates, including senior pitcher Allison Doocy.

“She’s taking the fitness she needs and driving the ones that are best for her. She’s doing a great job,” Doocy said. “And I’m always impressed by her as a freshman coming out and taking care of business.”

As a freshman batting third in the lineup, Loecker said doing her part for her teammates is what keeps her calm and sharp under stressful situations.

“It definitely feels good to score my teammates,” Loecker said. “Whenever I get people on base, it doesn’t put pressure on me — I want to score people even more and get a hit even more for my teammates.”

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