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Freshman year not so easy for standout catcher

by Tony Burns | July 31, 2021 at 4:55 p.m.

On paper, Karli Goocher’s freshman softball season at Lindenwood University looked really successful. The Smackover product earned third team All-Conference and Academic All-Conference, batting .337 with three homers and 24 RBI. She had a .983 fielding percentage at catcher.

That’s very impressive on paper. In reality, Goocher admitted it was more challenging than she ever imagined.

“Well I didn’t really know what to expect when I first went to college. Of course, I heard stories but I didn’t want to base my first experience off of other people,” Goocher said. “But going to college further away from home where no one knows you is like starting completely over. It was honestly kind of scary for me because I find a lot of my confidence in the way that my friends and family believe in me. So not having them behind me was really scary to me. As soon as it hit me that they weren’t going to be there, I kind of thought to myself okay, time to be a big girl. And honestly, that’s probably been my biggest challenge, just relying on me to give myself the confidence that I need in order to do my job correctly. It’s hard to do that whenever you’re used to other people giving you that confidence.

“But I can say that this whole experience has and still is doing nothing but bringing me closer to God and if that’s what I’m supposed to get out of this situation, then I am perfectly fine with that. I can now put my faith and confidence in the one who will always win and will always fight for me.”

Goocher was one of Lindenwood’s top power hitters. Defensively, she split time at catcher and designated hitter. Behind the plate, she committed just two errors all season and just one in conference out of 78 chances.

This summer, she’s enjoying her last season of tournament softball. She won’t turn 19 until September so she’s competing in 18U.

“My old tournament team that I played with last year isn’t together anymore because most of the girls are too old to play. But I’m a youngster so I’m still able to play this summer.” she joked. “I’ve picked up with a local team called Rage. My friends from all over play on that team. The coach is Charles Robinson, Karis Robinsons' dad. I’m also playing with So Cal Athletics. They’re out of Missouri.”

For Goocher, this summer was a time to stay in the swing of things so she can be prepared for the fall season. After going through the typical adjustments in her first year away from home, she hopes the toughest hurdles are behind.

“Obviously, a lot has changed in my personal life being away from my family and stuff, but a lot of things have changed with softball as well. This past season has honestly been the hardest season of my life so far,” she said. “I have fought mental battles on and off of the field that seem impossible to win. I feel like I've been through a lot both mentally and physically. Lindenwood is a great school and there are great people there, but my first season there was hard for me. The only reason I'm sharing all of this information with you is because I want others to know that it's okay to go through hard times in your life because when those seasons are over, you look back at what you've accomplished and you are so proud of yourself. Then you realize that the season that you thought was the worst, actually helped you the most. This season on and off of the field really helped grow my relationship with God. I cannot take any credit for the achievements I received for this past season because I didn't win those, God did. He is always working even when we don't feel or see Him working.

“With that being said, I would like to share a little advice. No matter what situation you're in, no matter what you're going through, there's always light. Even if you can't see that light just yet, keep pushing and keep having faith. God will always seek you. Matthew 17:20 - So Jesus said to them, Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you."

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