The old adage that everything is bigger in Texas is certainly true of the 2018 DII softball season. Take, for example, the insane home run numbers coming out of the Lone Star State, with six of the top 15 leading sluggers in DII softball hailing from Texas. To put it in perspective, seven different states round out the remaining nine spots, with those six Texas players combining for 120 home runs.
There's a reason pitchers don't mess with Texas.
Here's a look at each one:
West Texas A&M’s dynamic duo
The Lady Buffs lead DII softball with 1.94 home runs per game. That’s thanks to a combined 50 home runs from Ashley Hardin and Kylee Moore. With 25 home runs apiece, the duo is tied for second in DII softball behind the all-time home run queen, Southern Arkansas's Brooke Goad.Moore, a junior infielder, built off of her 2017 breakout campaign with a big 2018. Her 25 home runs are three better than her freshman and sophomore year combined. Hardin capped off her four seasons in Canyon, Tx. with a career-year, and that says a lot when you look at her overall numbers. Not only did she set a career-high with those 25 home runs, she hit .420 while doing it, 13 points higher than her previous career-best. She beat her own single-season home run mark of 23 set in 2016 this year while becoming the program’s all-time leading slugger with 83 home runs, besting second place by 21 home runs.
Mariah Jameyson, Texas A&M-Commerce
The Lions reeled off 39 wins en route to their second NCAA postseason, establishing a program record along the way. They can thank Jameyson and her unbelievable season for those results.
The senior catcher trumped her outstanding Second-Team All-American 2017 campaign by a wide margin. Jameyson .530 batting average is second in all of DII softball as are her 1.112 slugging percentage and 80 RBI. She’s slugged 22 home runs so far, good for fifth-most in DII softball.
Georgia Capell, Tarleton State
2018 Lone Star Conference Freshman of the Year goes to Georgia Capell! Congrats G! pic.twitter.com/Z9fSM9uFfz— Tarleton Softball (@tarletonsball) May 4, 2018
Capell sure made her presence felt right from the start of her career. The TexAnns slugging infielder leads the team in home runs with 16 while she's also tops in doubles giving her an impressive .805 slugging percentage. After going quiet for a bit in the middle of the season, she caught fire again in April, smashing home runs in four-straight games.
The good news for Tarleton State is that Capell is only a freshman. Capell is one of three freshmen in the top 20, each with 16 homers, but she is the lone member representing Texas.
Morgan Dufour, Lubbock ChristianThe junior infielder is the only big bat hailing from the Heartland Conference on the list. Dufour got the season rolling quickly, launching three home runs in the second game of the season. Since then she has paced the Lady Chaps with 16 home runs. Though she finished second in the Heartland to Rogers State's Dannelle Day's 19 home runs, her .781 slugging percentage was tops in the conference. It shouldn't come as a surprise that Dufour is one of DII softball's premier sluggers: she's donned in No. 44, the same number of Hammerin' Hank Aaron.
Karina Rocha, Angelo StateAngelo State had a magical 2017 that saw them fall one game short of a national championship in Salem, Va. They lost some of the firepower that helped fuel that 60-win season, graduating 26 of their 67 home runs between the loss of Kenedy Urbany and Alexis Evans alone. That's where Rocha steps in.
The Rambelles sophomore first baseman rounds out our list with 16 home runs of her own, the newfound leader of power on Angelo State. She had a torrid stretch in mid-February, slugging a home run in five-straight games. The Belles won yet another Lone Star Conference title and are heading to the NCAA postseason as a No. 1 seed. They'll need Rocha's big bat if they want to survive a brutal South Central Region, especially with the superpower Colorado Mesa possibly in their way of Salem.