On the sidelines with Brock junior softball player Mia Richards

May 5—Get to know Brock junior softball player Mia Richards on and off the field.

You hit 18 home runs this year and received countless intentional walks. How were you able to be so dominant at the plate?

"Gaining my confidence after I committed was one of the biggest things I could've done because I didn't have to worry about who was watching me or which coach I was impressing. It really helped me figure out how I can be productive at the plate without getting in my own head. That's the problem I had last year, and of course I had home runs, but seeing yourself be that dominant against pitchers really gets you going. As soon as you hit double digits, it just fuels the fire and keeps you going."

You are both a leader in production and in the dugout. How much pride do you take in being a strong leader for your team?

"I would say I take 100 percent pride in it. Everyone that knows me knows that I get my loudness from my dad, so knowing that from a young age, I knew it would be effective in softball. Whether it's getting in pitchers' heads, getting the coaches mad — I knew there were things I could do to get me and my teammates going. If my teammates overpowered me with their energy, I'd honestly be okay with that."

You committed to Wichita State last summer to continue your softball career. What made the Shockers the right choice for you?

"Wichita State was actually the first visit I went on. Obviously, I was talking to other schools at the time, but I went to visit at the end of September — the 26th or 28th. Initially, my dad wanted me to keep my options open, and since he doesn't get to come home a lot, I told him I wanted him to come on the visit. I needed him to see it. After I got done bonding with the girls, meeting the coaches and having my parents meet everyone, my dad told me he couldn't see me going anywhere else. After talking to my parents, I couldn't see myself going anywhere else either. The coaches on the team are so supportive and the girls are exactly like me — they're dawgs. I knew it was where I wanted to be."

When you aren't playing softball, how do you like spending your free time?

"I actually go to Rangers games because I try to stay in contact with the sport as much as possible whether it's through baseball or softball. I help out youth teams as well. It's just something that I can't get away from — it's a part of my personality and who I am. I'm willing to accept that at this point. People will say I'm doing something just because I'm all worried about softball, and I tell them they're right — it's what I was born to do at this point. I either stay as involved as possible or I sleep."

If you could ride into battle on any animal, what would it be and what would its name be?

"My favorite animal growing up as a kid was a giraffe, so that's what it would have to be. We used to go to Fossil Rim, where you can pet the animals. One time I went there with my mom, and we found a giraffe with a unibrow that we named Geoffrey — it was one of those things."

If you could meet any one person — dead or alive — who would it be and why?

"I think it would be Bryce Harper because of how cocky he is. I would just want to know how someone can be so cocky even when they struggle so much. I mean, when I struggle, I get down on myself, but I'll watch videos of him after he makes a bad play and I think, 'How does he even do that or act like that?'"

On the Sidelines is sponsored by Bratton Family + Sports Medicine.