Transfer Mya Stevenson Ready To Bring Her Power To The SEC
It’s an exciting time to be a fan of the University of Mississippi's softball program.
The Rebels are looking for their seventh straight NCAA Tournament appearance going back to 2016, which is a program record that continues to grow. Senior slugger Tate Whitley is back after a career year, during which she led the team in hits with 77 and batting average at .387. The pitching staff gained a strikeout hurler in Oregon transfer Makenna Kliethermes, who recorded 116 strikeouts last year alone for the Ducks. The offense and defense are getting a boost as well from Georgia transfer Savana Sikes, who only committed one error last season. And the final piece of the puzzle? The addition of Marshall University’s all-time home run leader and All-American Mya Stevenson.
A Texas native, Stevenson finished her four-year career at Marshall with 59 home runs, beating the previous record of 58 set by former All-American Rachel Folden. She left the program placing second all time in slugging percentage, fourth in RBIs and fourth in total bases. Her senior season performance earned her NFCA Third-Team All-American honors, making her only the fourth player to be honored as an All-American in Herd softball history. For Stevenson, it was the fulfillment of a lifetime goal.
“I wouldn’t have done it without my teammates and just being there at Marshall and my coaches that were there,” said Stevenson. “So, that was really exciting for me.”
She now joins an Ole Miss squad led by Jamie Trachsel, who came to Oxford from the University of Minnesota after leading the Gophers to their first WCWS appearance in 2019. In her 10 full seasons as a softball coach, Trachsel has made the NCAA Tournament eight times.
For Stevenson, it’s a decision that is already paying off. Having the chance to play for Trachsel has given her an opportunity to learn new things about the game of softball.
“She’s helped me realize little things I wouldn’t have (previously realized),” said Stevenson. “I appreciate how she also wants to be there, and she cares for others and just wants the best for you. She’s always going to help.”
The addition of Stevenson to the lineup helps the Rebels in the power department. Going back to her high school playing days, hitting a home run is a skill that she has always excelled at. She left Mesquite Poteet High School in Mesquite, Texas as the career leader in home runs with 36 dingers and in strikeouts as well, tossing a whopping 737 of them.
Last season, she found her power stroke as well, hitting 19 home runs to close out her career with the Herd. Her freshman season was a sign of things to come, as she found her way early into the record books. She hit 20 home runs in 2019 to set the program record for freshmen and also set the freshman record for total bases with 130, easily beating the previous record of 119.
So, what's Stevenson's strategy at the plate? She says, to keep it simple.
“I just think, ‘see ball, hit ball hard, line drive, gap,’ and then it goes over,” she said. “I really train on making sure I do my part in the game, and when the home runs come, they come and that’s really exciting.”
What came first before the home runs and before even stepping on the diamond was an idea that her grandfather had when she was a kid after witnessing the pattern of sports talent in the family.
“He went to my mom one day and handed her a bag of balls (because my aunt played at Bethune-Cookman), and two times told her to let me play, and he really got me into it,” said Stevenson. “And then my dad really took on the role (of coach), and that’s how we got started.”
Her journey, beginning with her grandfather, has led her to play in the SEC, which is arguably the most competitive conference in college softball. It’s a challenge that Stevenson knows she is ready for.
“I’m excited just to get out there on the field and just getting to experience a good time with this team,” Stevenson said. “I believe in this team so much.”