Mississippi State's Mia Davidson Approaches Home Run History
Since the first day Mia Davidson stepped into the batter’s box at Nusz Park, she’s terrorized opposing pitchers. All-Americans Kelly Barnhill, Gabbie Plain and Giselle “G” Juarez have all fallen victim to Davidson’s power stroke. They’re certainly not alone, as the Bulldog catcher approaches more history in 2021.
Entering the 2021 campaign, the senior had 52 career home runs. That put her just 19 bombs behind the SEC career record held by former Florida star Lauren Haeger and her 71 roundtrippers. She also entered the campaign just 15 home runs behind the Mississippi State record for both softball and baseball, which is currently possessed by former MLB slugger Rafael Palmeiro.
For Davidson, that one swing that can change a game is still special every time she hits a home run.
“Any time you hit a home run, it feels great. First of all, you don’t have to sprint around the bases,” Davidson said through a chuckle on a phone interview with Softball America. “It just feels so nice knowing you’re doing something for the team, scoring runs, putting the team up.”
Records are nothing new for Davidson. Her 19 homers in 2018 set the program’s freshman record. In 2019, her 26 long balls were the most hit by an SEC player in a single season and she already has the most of any Mississippi State softball player ever.
Davidson’s biggest growth point since her arrival in Starkville, Miss. has been her approach at the plate. After her freshman season, she focused on coming to the plate with an agenda. It was finding little things pre-pitch. Even using advice from former teammate and Bulldog pitcher Holly Ward about noticing grips pitchers had before they tossed the ball in.
“I’ve gotten better mentally,” Davidson said. “Having a game plan and sticking to it (is important). When I was a freshman, I just went out there and swung without thinking about it. As I started to get older, I started to think about the pitches coming in.”
There have been other helping hands along the way in Davidson’s development. Much like how Palmeiro had Will Clark as his “Thunder and Lightning” partner, Davidson has Fa Leilua. The two are much different hitters but have shared lessons and tips with one another. Since Leilua’s transfer from Arizona State, they’ve become one of the deadliest offensive combos across the nation. Entering the 2021 season, Davidson and Leilua and Arizona’s Jessie Harper and Alyssa Palomino-Cardoza are the only teammates to enter the year with 50 or more career home runs.
Davidson’s father, Eddie, has also been an influential figure in her softball career.
“He always said, ‘Never be satisfied with anything, there’s always something you can work on,’“ Davidison said. “He’d push me to keep working hard because you can learn something new each day.”
Davidson has a few favorite moments from her college career. In February of 2019, she took Plain deep three times in one game. Later that month, she crushed a game-winning grand slam against Memphis.
There is also something special to Davidson about her name next to the likes of Haeger, Kasey Cooper and Alyssa DiCarlo. Placing herself in more Mississippi State history would be nice as well, but overall, Davidson isn’t too worried about it.
“You get reminded of it, but I take it one pitch at a time,” she said. “I just want to do what’s best for the team. Records are great and you love them, but they don’t always help win ball games...I focus on helping the team and winning games the most.”
If Davidson stays within herself, the record will likely come and that advice comes from the incumbent record holder himself.
"She just needs to not change anything," Palmeiro told Mississippi State Athletics. "The one advice that I'd give her is not to worry about any kind of record, not worry about any type of totals. The numbers will be there because that's just who she is. She's going to hit home runs without trying."