There are a lot of great pitchers in D3 Softball. But who is the best? We put together a list of five and we'll leave it up to you to decide. The poll closes Friday at noon Pacific, so be sure to get your vote in on time, and share with friends so they can vote as well.[divider]
Kelsie Batten (Sr.) Texas-Tyler
Patriot Senior hurler Kelsie Batten’s (pictured above) 29 wins ranked third in the nation last season, as BR-1 Texas-Tyler reached the NCAA D3 Softball Championship Series for the first time in program history, finishing as National Runner-Up. Batten led the Patriots to a 50-5 record, becoming the first American Southwest Conference team with 50 wins, which was second-most wins for a D3 team in history.
Batten posted a 1.26 ERA, with 147 strikeouts in 199.2 innings on the mound. She held batters to a .203 average. She recorded nine shutouts during the season, ranking eighth in the nation, and was three times named ASC Player of the Week during the 2015 season.
Madison Leonard (Sr.) Fontbonne
Fontbonne's Madison Leonard holds the D3 record with 20 consecutive wins (photo courtesy of Fontbonne Athletics).
Madison Leonard finished last season with 24 wins for BR-83 Fontbonne, ranking sixth in the nation and entered the NCAA Division III record book with a run of 20 consecutive victories, putting her 16th on the list. She also posted 58 consecutive scoreless innings to place herself sixth all-time, and finished the season eighth in the nation in strikeouts with 226.
Leonard was named St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year for 2015.
Lindsey Thayer (So.) St. John Fisher
St. Johns Fisher's Lindsey Thayer struck out 294 hitters last season – 2nd in the nation (photo courtesy of St. Johns Fisher Athletics)
BR-130 St. John Fisher hurler Lindsey Thayer earned the ECAC Pitcher of the Year and Rookie of the Year after tallying 294 strikeouts over 202.0 innings pitched en route to recording a 1.00 earned run average. The freshman broke the previous school record of 290 strikeouts and in fewer innings pitched (222.0) – her 294 K’s ranked 2nd in the nation for D3 schools. She ranks third and fourth in Fisher's single-season top-10 lists for innings pitched and wins (20), respectively, and was tabbed a 3rd Team NFCA All-American selection.
Thayer's rookie season featured her first career no-hitter – and the program's first since 2004 – in an 8-0 win over BR-339 Elmira. In an incredible display of pitching domination, she tallied 30 strikeouts out of a possible 36 during the double-header.
Annie Pitkin (Sr.) Washington U
Annie Pitkin posted a 20-8 record for Washington U in 2015 (photo courtesy of WUSTL Photos/Mary Butkus)
For the third-straight season, senior Annie Pitkin will once again be the ace of the BR-88 WashingtonU pitching staff. Pitkin, a first-team all-UAA and all-Midwest Region selection, was named the 2015 UAA Co-Player of the Year.
Pitkin posted a 20-8 record with a 1.62 earned run average with nine shutouts along with 20 complete games. Pitkin led the UAA and ranked in the top-15 in NCAA Division 3 in strikeouts (234, sixth), shutouts (ninth) and wins (13th).
Morgan Stratton (Jr.) Alma
Alma hurler Morgan Stratton led the MIAA in seven pitching categories in 2015 (photo courtesy of Alma Athletics)
BR-8 Alma pitcher Morgan Stratton finished her sophomore season 19-9 from the circle with a 1.60 ERA and 203 strikeouts. Stratton was named all-conference, all-region, regional MVP and all-tournament team at nationals, and finished the 2015 season with 10 shutouts – ranking 5th in D3.
Stratton led the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association in seven different categories; earned run average (1.60), innings pitched (192.0), batters struck out (203), batters struck out looking (50), wins (19), appearances (31), starts (29), and tied for saves at three.