Players of the Week

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Kristin Oberiano (junior) led the Tigers at the SCIAC #2 tournament over the weekend, hitting a total nine over par—just 6 strokes behind the leader—earning her fifth place overall.

Oberiano, who struggled at the beginning of the season, attributes her success this weekend largely to her improved mental toughness on tournament days.

“In the beginning of the season, I wasn’t performing the way I should have been,” Oberiano said. “I would always place in the top five after the first round, but then have a mental breakdown during the second round and drop to maybe ninth, tenth, or eleventh place. This past tournament, I was able to keep in the top five.”

Oberiano said her work with Dr. Melinda Houston, a sport psychologist at Occidental who provides mental coaching for athletes, helped her improve mental game.

Head Coach Andrew Larkin is very proud of Oberiano’s hard work, which he said is helping her reach her full potential.

“Her great round was a reflection of her hard work,” Larkin said via email. “Kristin has put in extra work on the putting green and with our team sports psychologist to help prepare to win events.”

According to Oberiano, Larkin was also a big part of her success at the tournament.

“Coach Larkin kind of pushed me this past week to start doing more with my golf game, to practice a little bit more and put more effort in,” Oberiano said. “I think that’s what really helped me gain more confidence in this past tournament.”

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Johnathan Brooks

Jeremy Bloom
Jeremy Bloom

First baseman and designated hitter Johnathan “JB” Brooks (senior) extended his hitting streak to 22 games on April 4. Brooks drove in two runs to end the stalemate with a double in the 14th inning, leading the Tigers to their 5-2 win this weekend in a three game series against La Verne. Oxy ultimately lost the series 1-2.

Brooks has been a clutch hitter for the Tigers for the last four years, gaining the title of Second Team All-SCIAC in 2013 and CoSIDA Academic All-District last season.

Brooks, who has been playing baseball since he was four, said that his strong hitting this weekend was fueled by the desire for Occidental’s baseball team to make the SCIAC playoffs.

“We are in a place where we need to win games,” Brooks said. “We’ve been around third to fifth place, and the top four go on to the playoffs, so we really needed to win games.”

According to Brooks, hitting is 90 percent mental, and the support he receives from his teammates, coaches and parents, who attend every game, is the key to his success.

“Being able to talk to my teammates and knowing that they’re there to engage me and get me back to where I need to be [helps],” Brooks said. “I think the baseball team here has a really special relationship in that we are able to call each other out in a positive manner … to better what we’re trying to do. And that’s why we’ve had success.”

Assistant Coach Jesse Rodgers said he was not surprised by Brooks’ success this past game.

“[Brooks] consistently makes hard contact and drives in runs in key situations,” Rodgers said via email. “He puts the work in and trusts in his abilities regardless of the situation.”

Brooks said that his coaches contributed greatly to his strong performance Saturday. He felt like he was off to a rough start in Saturday’s second game, and talking to both Rodgers and Head Coach Luke Wetmore helped him improve his playing later in the game.

“It can be easy to say ‘I’m having a bad day’ and just kind of fold, but [the coaches] are pretty good about catching that and reversing it,” Brooks said. “They know that I’m a very mental hitter and I need to be in the right place.”