Mackenzie McFeron is enjoying a big year for the Nashville softball team, and some school records may fall as well.
McFeron, a junior, is batting .606 with two homers and 27 RBIs out of the leadoff spot. She has also scored 54 runs.
“This year, I feel like my power slap is really paying off for me,” McFeron said. “In previous years, I’ve done a mixture of hitting, slapping and bunting. But this year, my bunting and slapping are going really good.”
SIU standout, Shaye Harre, holds the Nashville record for batting average in season. She hit .598 in 2015.
“If I get could get that record, it would mean the world to me,” McFeron said. “I set goals that I want for my team to get accomplished and individually. I want to set the bar high, and my goal this year was to beat that record. Last year I was pretty close, and this year I was just really going for it.”
But the thing that sets McFeron apart from others is her great speed. The junior has stolen 52 bases and been caught just twice this season. McFeron is approaching Jordi Harre’s single-season record of 63 steals, which was also set in 2015.
“My mindset every time is, and it doesn’t matter how the catcher’s arm is, if I don’t get to that base in time it’s just an out,” McFeron said. “I’ve only been thrown out twice this year, and I feel really confident in my base running. I feel like if I can get off the bag, I’ll make it there, and that’s my mindset all the time.”
Having McFeron at the top of the order is a luxury for Nashville’s head coach, Shaun Renth.
You have free articles remaining.
“It’s almost like when she doesn’t get on base you wonder what’s going on,” Renth said. “If she gets a good bunt down, she’s probably getting on base. It’s almost automatic because she’s so fast. She’s the catalyst for our team.”
McFeron’s biggest moment of her high school career came in the Class 2A state championship game against Brimfield when she was just a freshman. The Hornettes were struggling mightily against Morgan Florey, who now pitches for the University of Evansville.
In the bottom of the 11th inning of a scoreless game, McFeron laid down a bunt single, stole second base and came all the way around to score the game’s only run on a throwing error during the steal attempt.
“Running from third base to home, I remember it in slow motion,” McFeron said. “Everyone told me that I was obviously running really fast, but I felt like a turtle. When I slid, I knew we’d won. That was the best feeling ever. That was the best softball moment of my life. It’s something I’ll never forget.”
The Hornettes are 19-10 overall this season. Outside of a couple lopsided losses to Pinckneyville, it’s been a solid year for the most part.
“This year has been a roller coaster,” McFeron said. “We’ll have our days, and we have some good and bad games. We have some losses, like to (Anna-Jonesboro) and then Waltonville earlier in the year, but then we come back and beat Carterville. Sometimes we’re hot, and sometimes we’re off. We’re a team. If one bad thing happens in an inning, sometimes it’s all bad. But when we hit, it travels throughout the whole team.”
Everyone knows McFeron is going to attempt to steal second when she gets on base, but throwing her out is another story.
“She’s a tough player to defend because you’ve got to play her honestly,” Renth said. “You know she’s going to slap, and you’ve got to be ready for the bunt. But the thing is with her, she can swing it, too, if we need her to. But she’s just so good at the other two things that we don’t require her to swing very much. Once she gets on base, it’s almost a for sure double.”