Teichler relaxes, returns to form

WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM Liza Teichler
WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM
Liza Teichler
WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM

March 22, 2007

BELLINGHAM, Wash. -

March 22, 2007

BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Following a forgettable sophomore season, Western Washington University catcher/designated hitter Liza Teichler is once again on top of her game and leading the Vikings in hitting with a near school record-pace .429 average.

As a freshman in 2005, Teichler paced Western with a .395 batting average and was named to the Great Northwest Athletic Conference all-star second-team. She slumped to .194 last year before rebounding this spring.

"I think it was more my mental game," said Teichler. "I put too much stress on myself and I was trying to be too perfect. I've learned now that if I just relax and play my game, then I hit the way that I should."

Western head coach Lonnie Hicks concurs.

"As a freshman, she just went out and played without a lot of expectations," he said. "The better she hit, the more confident she got. She tried to duplicate that season as a sophomore and began pressing when things didn't happen. This year, she just went back to playing the game."

In 14 games this season, Teichler already has had four three-hit games and has hit the first two home runs of her three-year career, including a walk-off grand slam in an 11-9 come-from-behind win over arch-rival Central Washington.

"I've been lifting a lot," Teichler said of her new-found power. I began lifting two weeks after last season ended, and I've been going every week since then."

The 5-foot-5 Teichler is tied for second among GNAC leaders in hitting, and leads the league with six doubles. She has driven in 10 runs and scored eight.

Teichler also has been solid defensively, handling 42 chances without an error.

Teichler is a graduate of Skyline High School in Sammamish where she hit .421 as a senior in helping the Spartans to league and district titles and the quarterfinals of the Class 3A state playoffs.

She also played on the Eastside Elite team. Three other current Western players who competed on that squad are pitcher Sarah McEnroe, first baseman/pitcher Ashley Osman and pitcher/shortstop Nicole Walker.

Western is off to an 8-6 start, its best in three years, and looks to be a solid contender for the Great Northwest Athletic Conference title. That would give it an automatic berth in the NCAA Division II West Regional.

"I'm really excited about this team," Teicher said. "We've got great chemistry and we've got all the tools to have the best season since I've been here."