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Wayne Cavadi | NCAA.com | January 24, 2020

The top returning DII softball home run hitters for 2020

Augustana (S.D.) wins the 2019 DII Softball National Championship

The DII softball season is creeping closer. We already took a look at our preseason Power 10, anointing the reigning champion Augustana Vikings as the early No. 1 for the season. Now, let’s shift our focus to individuals that could have big seasons.

Specifically, those who hit home runs.

PRESEASON RANKINGS: Here is the NCAA.com Preseason Power 10

We all love the long ball. Here’s a look at the best at hitting home runs coming into the 2020 DII softball season.

DII softball's top returning home run hitters

Brenna Busby, Cameron

Cameron Athletics Brenna Busby is the active leader in DII softball homers.

Quick, which active player has more home runs entering the 2020 DII softball season than Busby? If you guessed no one, you’re correct. The slugging shortstop has improved in each of her three seasons, hitting 11 in her freshman debut, 14 in her sophomore follow up, and 19 last year. Her 44 home runs are two more than any other active DII softball player. Fun fact: her twin sister Callie is no slouch with the bat. She hit .371 with nine dingers of her own for Cameron in 2019.

Courtney Barnhill, Angelo State

Angelo State Athletics Barnhill has 42 career home runs in DII softball.

Barnhill is as steady as it gets. From her Lone Star Conference freshman-of-the-year campaign to her stellar 2019 junior season, Barnhill is a special talent. She's a true five-tool player that finds herself amongst the LSC leaders in hitting, RBI, runs scored, stolen bases and of course home runs. She enters 2020 with 42 in her career, second most among active players.

Chelsea Fagan, Southern Arkansas

Angelo State Athletics Chelsea Fagan hit 19 home runs in DII softball last year.

Fagan made quite the impression on her Mulerider teammates in her 2019 debut. If they weren’t already excited about the junior transfer to start the season, they were by March 1. Fagan belted two home runs in that game and drove in seven runners. On the season, Fagan cranked 19 home runs which was good for second in DII softball. 

2019 RECAP: How Augustana (SD) won its second DII softball national title

Danielle Day, Rogers State

Rogers State Athletics Danielle Day was among the DII softball home run leaders in 2019.

An active leader? Check. A returning 2019 home run leader? Check. Day enters 2020 with 39 career home runs, which is impressive considering she had just three in her 2017 freshman debut. The first baseman/ catcher exploded as a sophomore, bombing 20 home runs before capping off last season with 17. The Hillcats move to a new conference this season, which is likely giving pitchers in the MIAA nightmares heading into 2020. 

2019 TOURNAMENT: Every Regional and Super Regional result | Finals bracket

Georgia Capell, Tarleton State

Tarleton State Athletics Expect big home runs from Georgia Capell in DII softball.

Capell comes into the 2020 season with a lot of fanfare, earning Lone Star Conference preseason player-of-the-year honors. And deservingly so, Capell has hit 35 bombs in her first two seasons with Tarleton. The junior outfielder has had a highly-decorated career thus far with LSC freshman-of-the-year honors, multiple All-American awards, and all-region accolades. A home run crown wouldn’t be surprising at all.  

Kinsie Hebler, Texas A&M-Commerce

Texas A&M-Commerce Athletics Kinsie Hebler rakes for Texas A&M-Commerce softball.

Hebler had a bit of a down year by her standards, especially coming off of a huge 2018 when she hit .413 with 19 home runs and three grand slams. Still, the designated player managed to hit 12 home runs, to give her 42 on her career and put her near the top of the active leader board. If you haven’t noticed, home runs seem to come in bunches in Texas, so expect more to come from Hebler. 

Mary Pardo, Augustana (SD)

NCAA Photos Mary Pardo scores for Augustana (SD) in the DII softball championship.

What a big freshman debut for the slugging right-fielder. She earned NSIC freshman-of-the-year honors and then a national championship with the Vikings. Her 17 blasts were both second on the team and in the conference and she added 15 doubles for an impressive .663 slugging percentage. If Pardo is just getting started, the Vikings lineup is in good shape. 

DII SOFTBALL HISTORY: Programs with the most titles | Complete list of winners

The fabulous freshmen

Pardo wasn't alone in putting herself on the DII softball map with a huge 2019 debut. Keep an eye on these big hitting sophomores who raked it during their freshman campaign.

  • Kasey Boatner, Anderson (SC)
  • Lydia Goble, Grand Valley State
  • Mckenzie Henry, Lincoln Memorial
  • Kaitlyn Kelley, Union  
  • Ruby Salzman, West Texas A&M
  • Laney Sheppard, MSU Denver

DII softball's top returning home run leaders

Let's take a look at the top home runs hitters in 2019, the returning active leaders and the all-time top 10 in DII softball history.

2019 DII softball home run leaders (returners only)

Player School Home runs
Breanna Busby Cameron 19
Chelsea Fagan Southern Arkansas 19
Georgia Capell Tarleton State 18
Danielle Day Rogers State 17
Mary Pardo Augustana (SD) 17
Kat Donzella  West Liberty 16
Ruby Salzman West Texas A&M 16

DII softball active home run leaders (through 2019)

Player School Home runs
Breanna Busby Cameron 44
Courtney Barnhill Angelo State 42
Kinsie Hebler Texas A&M-Commerce 42
Danielle Day Rogers State 39
Karina Rocha  Angelo State 36

DII softball all-time home run leaders (as of 2019)

Player Team Year HR
Brooke Goad Southern Arkansas 2015-18 90
Ashley Hardin West Texas A&M 2015-18 83
Steph Denlinger Kutztown 2006-09 79
Courtney Albritton Valdosta State 2012-15 75
Jenelle Trautmann Augustana (SD) 2012-15 75
Maddie Dow Southern Arkansas 2014-17 74
Katelyn Vinson Midwestern State 2013-16 66
Cailah Niles Anderson (SC) 2015-18 63
Makayla Kovac Colorado Mesa 2013-16 62
Nicole Yancey West Georgia 2011-14 62

* = All stats from NCAA.org

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