There are some batters who are just on it this season.
They're hitting well. They're driving in runs. And somehow they're managing to get on base so often it seems preordained.
The 2019 season, less than a month old, has already seen a number of hitters rise to this level of intimidation. Batters with power who get extra attention on the scouting report and yet still wreak havoc on an opposing pitcher one way or another. The marathon that is the college softball season may temper some frenzied bats, but not these players. Especially these five:
Shelbi Sunseri, LSU
This Santa Fe, Texas native has had no trouble driving in runs this season. Sunseri’s knocked home runs over the outfield walls, smashed doubles and collected 17 hits already. She has she’s been a problem at the plate for opponents. A sophomore, Sunseri leads a Tigers (13-3) team ranked 10th in the latest USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Coaches Poll with eight home runs and 26 RBIs. She owns a 1.189 slugging percentage and three doubles. And she’s walked or been hit by a pitch a combined nine times.
That’s an on-base percentage of .553 to go along with a .459 batting average.
Through 16 starts and 37 at-bats, Sunseri has already eclipsed the seven home runs and 14 RBIs she totaled in 92 at-bats last year.
Emma Strouth, Virginia Tech
This Hokies star is on a tear. Through 14 games, Strouth is batting .511 with 24 hits in 47 at-bats, and owns an on-base percentage of .538. She’s only struck out once this season, an amount equal to the number of times she’s tripled. And she has two home runs to go along with four doubles and 18 RBIs. That’s 36 total bases and a slugging percentage of .766.
Strouth and the Hokies (12-2) are thriving this season and will likely find themselves in the top 25 sooner rather than later. Until then, the senior from North Carolina will just keep flourishing.
Cali Harrod, Florida State
There’s not much else this Seminoles senior could be doing to help her team win back-to-back national championships. Harrod, who may have been known at the plate last season more for her ability to draw walks than anything else, is hitting .563 through 17 games with 14 RBIs and 24 runs scored. No. 1 Florida State (17-0) doesn’t have a player on the roster who’s collected more total bases (45) or steals (14) than she has this season.
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On top of 27 hits in 48 at-bats, she has a .938 slugging percentage, four home runs, four doubles, a triple, 12 walks and an on-base percentage of .650.
Mia Davidson, Mississippi State
There are two people who have amassed nine home runs in 15 games for the Bulldogs (11-4). Davidson’s the one who’s also hitting .529. The sophomore has 18 hits in 34 at-bats and 20 RBIs. She has 16 runs scored and 14 walks. No one on her team is close to matching her .667 on-base percentage or her 1.353 slugging percentage. And to go along with her 46 total bases, Davidson also has two steals in two attempts.
The Bulldogs are top-heavy in terms of RBI production so far this season with two players boasting at least 20 and just one other with more than 10. But don’t count Mississippi State out in a race for the SEC title, even if there are five conference foes in the top 10 right now. Not if Davidson is playing this well.
Katie Clark, North Texas
North Texas (10-4) has a handful of batters off to quality starts, but none have been as influential as Clark. The junior is batting .556 through 14 games with 30 hits in 54 at-bats. She’s shown she has both the ability to knock one out of the park and scamper around the bases for a triple. Not to mention her six doubles and 13 RBIs.
Clark also leads her team in runs scored with 14 and stolen bases with five. Eleven different times she’s registered at least two hits in a game.
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She was the Conference USA Newcomer of the Year last season, and is on her way to winning player of the year in 2019.