The 2022 DII softball season is hitting its stride as April is quickly approaching. Let’s look at some of the hottest hitters right now.
Due to the staggered start of DII softball, the players considered here have played at least 15 games through March 15 (all stats per NCAA.org).
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Kayson Boatner and Jessica Neadow, Anderson (SC)
Anderson is out to a 20-4 start and the big bats of Boatner and Neadow have contributed greatly to that record. Combined, the duo has blasted 22 home runs, the most by any duo in DII softball. Boatner entered the season among the top-5 active home run leaders and hasn’t missed a beat, blasting 12 more to boost her career total of 50 career home runs (and counting). But Boatner isn’t boom or bust: The Trojans’ first baseman is hitting .417 with 14 doubles (second in DII) and her 35 RBI are also a top-5 mark in DII.
Neadow is having a breakout season. After hitting a mere two home runs last year, the versatile second baseman already has 10 home runs. Much like her teammate, Neadow isn’t simply raking long balls, but hitting everything that comes her way. Through March 15, she is leading the Trojans with a .438 batting average while scoring a team-high 32 runs, both career-high marks already.
BOMBS AWAY: Here's a look at the active home run leaders entering 2022
Nicole Shano, Harding
Shano is no stranger to hitting a softball. She hit .411 as a freshman in 2020 and followed that up with a big sophomore campaign, hitting .354 with eight home runs. Shano is off to an electric start and is already setting career highs through 26 games. She opened the season on a 24-game hitting streak with multiple hits in half of those games. On the season, Shano is hitting .402 with a career-best 11 home runs.
Zoe Willis, Georgia Southwestern
Willis is a two-way player for the Hurricanes, but it is her bat that has been helping win ball games. Right now, Willis leads the team in just about every offensive category, hitting .458 through 20 games with a career-high 11 home runs, 25 runs scored and 26 RBI. Her ability in the circle has helped hone her eye at the plate: Willis has walked more than she has struck out leading to an impressive .566 on-base percentage.
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Jamie Odlum, Minot State
Minot State is off to a sensational 17-4 start with key victories against some nationally ranked teams. Odlum’s red-hot bat is helping lead the charge. She opened the season on a 12-game hitting streak, with at least two hits in eight of those games. Odlum has yet to cool off, registering at least one hit in all but two games this season. Currently, she is hitting .518 on the season after leading the Beavers with a .423 average last year.
Taylor Lambert, Pittsburg State
Lambert is off to an electric start for the Gorillas. She has 47 hits in her first 84 at-bats, leading all DII softball hitters that have played at least 15 games with a .560 batting average. Lambert has recorded at least a hit in each game she has played this season, with 15 of her 24 games being of the multi-hit variety. She also leads the team in runs, has an on-base percentage north of .600 and is very good on the base paths, successful on 17 of 19 stolen base attempts this season.
Hannah Towery, Newberry
While Towery isn’t the Wolves leader in batting average, she has been an extra-base machine in 2022. Through March 15, she is hitting .400 and her 16 doubles lead all DII softball. She’s also belted five home runs and has a triple, seeing a whopping 61% of her hits go for extra bases. Towery also leads the team in RBI and OPS as a key contributor in the Wolves' 24-8 start.
Jade Miller, Southern Arkansas
Miller, a transfer from Utah Valley, has been a steady presence all season, but has really come alive of late. She has five-straight multi-hit games and has recorded 14 hits over her current seven-game hitting streak. That has her average up to .429, but she’s also among the DII softball leaders with eight home runs. Miller is also leading the Muleriders in runs scored, RBIs and stolen bases.
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Others to watch
- Madison Hurt, Albany State (GA): The freshman is hitting an impressive .529 through her first 19 games.
- Ashton Friend, Washburn: The Ichabods' slugger had a 14-game stretch where she belted nine home runs.
- Emily Harris, Carson-Newman: The Young Harris transfer is scorching hot right now with 24 hits in her last 14 games.
- Kyleigh Taylor, Flagler: The Saints’ catcher is heating up with five home runs and eight RBIs in her last six games.
- UT Tyler: The Patriots’ lineup has six hitters — SIX — hitting better than .400 to start the season. Bayli Simon, Ashley Perez, Courtney Plocheck, Amanda Marek, Michelle Arias and Hanna Fradkin are scorching hot to start the season. Arias has been hitting everything with a 1.492 OPS, five doubles, three triples and six home runs.