‘Fearless’ freshman duo supply power for Lady Tops

Freshman shortstop Amanda Thomas, left, and freshman second baseman Kelsie Mattox have hit a combined 12 home runs this season as of Wednesday. The team has hit 31 home runs so far this year. DOROTHY EDWARDS / HERALD

Nick Bratcher

There’s nothing to fear but fear itself — and a couple of Lady Toppers who believe that as well.

Freshmen Amanda Thomas and Kelsie Mattox have provided the main source of muscle for WKU this season.

The two are the top producers in doubles, home runs, RBIs and runs scored for the Lady Toppers.

A bold attitude has greatly helped the two young sluggers, Head Coach Tyra Perry said.

“They’re absolutely fearless,” she said. “They have the mental toughness of an experienced player.”

When asked about not actually being that experienced of a player, Thomas said it never factored into her expectations for her performance this season.

“I’m here to play ball no matter what age I am,” she said. “We’re all equal.”

After suffering a sweep last weekend at Troy, Perry said she hoped the rest of the team would meet that challenge of equality and step up its game to the level of its two power-hitters.

“If they can do it, anybody can do it,” she said.

Thomas has certainly done her equal share, grabbing the lead on the Lady Topper squad in hits (39), doubles (8) and home runs (6) as of Wednesday, all while maintaining a .328 batting average.

Mattox said she prepared for the season like every other player, lacking just one thing that she has now acquired after 42 games.

“Just because we’re freshmen doesn’t mean we’re any less skilled or ready,” Mattox said. “We just didn’t have the college experience.”

Mattox is experiencing some team leads of her own in RBIs (25) and runs scored (23) as of Wednesday. She’s also tied with Thomas in home runs with six and hitting a .316 batting average.

She said she felt confident before the season started that the duo would thrive at the college level.

“I’m not surprised,” Mattox said. “I knew we could do big things as freshmen.”

Thomas said an older player generally fears situations that the two freshmen simply find new and exciting.

“We’re kind of naive in a sense,” she said. “I guess I’m doing pretty well.”

But that lack of understanding can also have negative effects, Thomas said.

“Being a freshman, there is a disadvantage of not knowing how important it is to win every single conference game,” she said.

The Lady Toppers currently sit in eighth place in the Sun Belt Conference, seven games behind first-place Louisiana-Lafayette.

The team will travel to Miami this weekend to take on Florida International for another Sun Belt series on Saturday at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. and Sunday at 11 a.m.

Perry said having the two middle infielders producing so early in their careers paints a bright picture for the future of the Lady Toppers this season and beyond.

“We don’t exactly have the wins we want right now, but it shows that it’s there,” she said. “We can do more than what we’re doing if we can get the same production from our other young players.”