Mid-Major Leadoffs To Watch In College Softball This Season
The 2023 Division I softball season is finally here, and so too are the college game's most electrifying stars on both sides of the field. Among those stars are underrated players around the country at mid-major college softball programs, who are members of conferences outside of the Power Five.
Within many mid-major lineups are extremely talented leadoff hitters, who set the table for the rest of their respective offenses to follow.
Below, we take a look at three star leadoff hitters at the mid-major level of Division I softball who we think will make headlines this spring during the 2023 season.
McKinney's final NCAA softball season is here, and she hopes to leave Wichita State as one of the best players in the college game today. The 2022 NCAA batting champion was a huge threat at the leadoff spot for the Shockers last spring, leading her team in several offensive categories, including on-base percentage, hits, doubles and runs. Not only did she set her school's all-time record for batting average, hits and runs in 2022, but she was also named an All-American for her otherworldly performance for Wichita State last year. We expect McKinney to build on her illustrious career numbers this season and help lead Wichita State to great success in 2023.
It’s not often that you see a catcher as a leadoff hitter, and that’s what makes Delaney Cumbie so special. One of the most unique ways she is able to get on base for her team is with her knack for getting hit by pitches. She was hit by 22 pitches last year, which is more than double the next player on her team, and she ranked within the top five in hit by pitches per game in all of Division I softball. Aside from that, she also posted some impressive power numbers in 2022 with 16 homers and a 1.137 OPS in the leadoff spot for UNC Greensboro. Don't be surprised if the fifth-year player has her best season yet for the Spartans in 2023.
With her incredible freshman season now in the rear-view mirror, Sierra Sacco is absolutely a leadoff hitter to watch in her sophomore year and beyond for Louisiana Tech. She led all freshmen in batting average last season, and led her team in on-base percentage as well. She was named the C-USA Freshman of the Year in 2022, and broke the Louisiana Tech single-season hits record with 83. To boot, Sacco stole 28 bases for the Lady Techsters in 2022. Her first act in college softball will be a tough one to follow, but if anyone can do it, it's the ultra-athletic and speedy Sacco, who we expect to get plenty of national attention for her performance on the field this spring.