Five Super Seniors To Watch During Their Extra Season
March 12, 2020 was a wild day around the country for college softball players. That's when the NCAA announced that all spring competitions were canceled due to the ongoing threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.
That decision left all senior student-athletes to wonder what would happen next with their eligibility. Then, on March 30, news dropped that the NCAA would extend the eligibility of spring student-athletes impacted by COVID-19 cancellations. That gave seniors, including several star players in Division I softball, the option to return to the field in 2021.
Below, we examine five of the most intriguing super seniors to watch in 2021 during their extra season of college softball.
Jessie Harper has a chance to make history in Tucson this season. With another extremely successful season, Harper could pass Oklahoma legend Lauren Chamberlain as the all-time leader for home runs in NCAA softball.
Harper currently has 76 home runs to her name, which is a mark that is just 19 shy of Chamberlain's record of 95. Harper also has 206 RBI in her career, which puts her into a position to notch a top 10 spot all-time in that category. In the shortened season, Harper finished with a .395 batting average, 10 home runs and 29 RBI.
Sis Bates has become arguably the most popular player in college softball. As a Husky, she has blossomed into a superstar and a recognizable name in the sport.
Although she is known for highlight-reel defensive plays, Bates has a proven bat with eight home runs and 113 RBI in her career at Washington. She was also the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year as a sophomore and junior. In the shortened season, as well, Bates had a .529 batting average.
Oklahoma State Re-Establishing Itself As National Powerhouse
Under Kenny Gajewski, Oklahoma State is re-establishing itself as a national softball powerhouse.
OF, Arizona State
Kindra Hackbarth has continued to improve every season she has been at Arizona State. She had a breakout season as a junior in 2019 with a .412 batting average, 17 home runs and 57 RBI. In the shortened 2020 season, Hackbarth continued to show out with a .443 batting average, six home runs and 27 RBI.
Maddi Hackbarth, her twin, had a similar breakthrough as a junior with 19 home runs and 53 RBI and, then, nine home runs and 32 RBI in the shortened season.
1B, Oklahoma State
Alysen Febrey transferred from Georgia to Oklahoma State before the 2020 season and made an immediate impact in Stillwater as the new starter at first base for the Cowgirls.
In the shortened season, Febrey finished with a .382 batting average, 11 home runs and 32 RBI.
Haley Cruse has been a staple in the outfield for Oregon since her arrival in Eugene. Although power isn't the name of her game, Cruse clearly has the ability to make some noise with her bat. In the shortened season, she finished with a .457 batting average, two home runs and 16 RBI.
No word yet, but it is probably safe to assume Cruse will continue to provide fans with more fun TikToks throughout her extra season as well.
Honorable Mentions: Carrie Eberle (RHP), Oklahoma State; Amber Fiser (RHP), Minnesota; Kendyl Lindaman (1B), Florida; Bailey Hemphill (1B), Alabama; Maddi Hackbarth (C), Arizona State.