Rising senior Myranda Bueno was hitting .468 through 12 games last season when, in the first game of a tournament in Houston, she took a pitch to the face. The injury left her recovering for a month, held back from a lineup she had started in since her freshman year. And that wasn’t her only challenge — she also switched positions in the outfield. But now she’s recovered, adjusted, and ready to go.
Was it hard moving from center to left?
Kind of, but not really. My preference, I'd rather play center. But looking at the big picture of it all, you can't be selfish. With the new coaches, I trust their philosophy. They always had a reason. And we had a great season.
How much difference is there in your preparation between the two positions?
The angle is different. It's being a little quicker, but it's a lot shorter a range to move around. In center you're covering everything, but in left field, you have the line and you have your little area about second, so I think it's just quicker reaction because the ball's coming off the bat a little differently. For the most part it's very similar.
What’s the best game you've ever had at UNLV?
I think the one that stands out to me as far as this season, [is our first-game] walk-off. It was the first time we really got to see our coaches interact. We'd been working with them and prepping for the season, but we got to see the passion they have for the game. You could see our third-base coach dancing like a fool. It just brings my love back for the game.
What was the first album you bought?
Avril Lavigne, whichever “Sk8r Boi” was on [Ed: Let Go]. I like anything I can just sing to. I'm not much of a dancer, so if I can turn it up just as loud as I can and belt to it, it's probably my jam.
How hard was it to miss games while you're hurt?
It's definitely difficult. This season I broke my face in the middle of the season. I took an inside pitch. We were in Houston. It was my first at-bat of our first game out there and I turned to hit the ball. I opened my shoulder and realized the ball was coming at my face instead. It was all just a blur.
Mentally I was ready to go, but physically, my face was broken. It was mainly getting cleared from the concussion. You want to be back on the field, but you don't want to push it because if you're still hurt, you're not helping your team any. It's being supportive and cheering as loud as you can and helping the girls with whatever they need to get prepared for the game.
I didn't wear a facemask. I always said I've been playing softball for 18 years now. What are the odds I'm going to get hit in the face now? Well, there were the odds. I'm wearing a facemask now.
When you hit your first home run, did you know you got all of it?
I didn't. It was my last game of the season, I was like, ‘You got nothing left to lose,’ and it just went. You go in there just wanting to make contact. You don't go up thinking you're going to get a home run, but when you do, that feeling is awesome. I was head down, running. They teased me because I hit and I just ran. I looked up and I was like, ‘Oh, hey, I don't need to run anymore.’
What was it like in your first game as a Rebel?
I was a little nervous. At the time I was one of the only freshmen playing with all these older girls I played for a while. It's what you prepare for your whole life playing softball. It's always that thought of play in college, play in college, and that first day it's like, ‘OK, I'm here now.’ It's just kind of dialing in those nerves and using them the right way. It's using that adrenalin to perform and not get scared, get timid about the situation.
Do you believe in ghosts?
I don't. I went through that whole Teen Wolf, vampire stage but as far as them actually being real, I don't believe much.
What is the most underrated part of softball?
I think the intensity of it. People think it's like baseball. It's different. Baseball is a little slower. Softball you have to be ready for everything. It's a faster game. The ball is coming off the bat a lot quicker. In baseball, you always see the shortstop make a mistake and somehow gets the guy out at first. In softball, it's like “All right, the girl has a chance to get to second now.”
What does it feel like when you're dialed in at the plate?
I like to take an approach like I've been here before. Don't get nervous, don't get overwhelmed. All you're doing is see ball, hit ball. Keeping it simple. I have my own batting routine that I do every time. I walk to the plate, get ready, and no matter the situation, I'm doing the same routine. It keeps me calm. I've been here before, I've done this. Whether it's bases loaded, winning run a third, or nobody's on and you just need a single. For me it's keeping the same fundamentals I've grown up with, and just staying in tune with that.