NORMAL — In Mack Leonard's last softball game on March 7, the Illinois State sophomore charged out of the batter's box on a hit to left. She proceeded to dive into second base going for a double.
Uh, that's not exactly what a pitcher wants to do.
"Now I know not to dive without some protection on my hands," she said after breaking her right thumb. "But when I'm hitting, I'm a hitter."
Leonard, a former Normal Community High School standout, was enjoying a breakout sophomore season for the Redbirds. She was hitting .443, with 18 of her 31 hits going for extra bases that included six home runs, in 20 games. Leonard also was becoming more efficient in the circle, posting a 3-2 record with a 3.70 earned run average.
Although Leonard could still have hit with a splint on her thumb, about a week after her injury the season was finished for everyone. The COVID-19 global pandemic struck this country with a flourish and the NCAA shut down spring sports.
Luckily for Leonard, her softball career will be restarting shortly.
Leonard will be playing for the Myakka City River Mocs in the Florida Gulf Coast League. She will be leaving Friday for Florida and, after a week of mini-camp, begins a five-week 25-game schedule starting June 20. MORE