Midseason Recognition: Most Improved
Over the next several days, Softball America will release its midseason recognition. Each category will feature three athletes who we think you should keep a close eye on for the second half of the season.
Our second category is for Most Improved. That term can mean several things but for us, it represents a player who has overcome challenges, turned heads and has the country asking, “Did you see how she did in her last game?”
Fa Leilua, Mississippi State
Fa Leilua began her career at Arizona State in 2016. She led the Sun Devils as a freshman with a .368 batting average and followed that up with a stellar sophomore campaign. She led the team with 13 home runs, a .667 slugging percentage and 30 walks.
Her world was rocked with the passing of her father and she took 2018 off. She decided to put her cleats back on and transferred to Mississippi State where she is crushing it.
She is second on the team in batting average (.369), slugging percentage (.854), hits (38), runs scored (29), doubles (five), home runs (15) and RBIs (38).
Jordan Dail, Oregon
As a freshman at Virginia Tech last season, she pitched 98 innings, appeared in 25 games and started 14. She had a 3.07 earned run average and had a 6-10 record.
She transferred to Oregon in the offseason and has stepped into the ace role for the Ducks. Her 3.77 earned run average doesn’t do her justice. She is 10-8 in 25 appearances and 133.2 innings pitched. She has accumulated 142 strikeouts and recorded two no-hitters.
Shelbi Sunseri, LSU
Shelbi Sunseri has stepped up when called on this season. She is a two-way player for the Tigers and is a threat in the circle and at the plate.
Offensively, she leads the team in slugging (.967), home runs (13) and RBIs (50) She’s second on the team in batting average (.424) and doubles (11).
When she is in the circle, she has an 8-4 record with a 2.00 earned run average. She has pitched a team-high 66.2 innings and appeared in 15 games with 10 starts.
To compare to last season, she hit .261 with seven home runs and 14 RBIs. She only pitched 13.1 innings.