The National Fastpitch Coaches Association has teamed up with Schutt Sports to present the inaugural NFCA/Schutt Sports Division III National Player of the Year watch list.
Fontbonne University senior pitcher Madi Leonard (Imperial, Mo./Seckman) is won of the first 50 student-athletes chosen. The list will pair down to the top 25, top 10 and then three finalists. The eventual winner will step from the next grouping of 25 players. The list is a collaborative effort between the NFCA's Division III Head Coaches and All-America committees.
Leonard is one of 13 from last season's NFCA Third Team All-American honorees. This will be Leonard's fourth season as a Griffin. She is Fontbonne's all-time leader with 523 strikeouts and 53 wins and second with 75 pitching starts and 415 innings pitched. Last season she won 20 consecutive starts, 12th most in NCAA Div. III history.
The Griffins open 2016 play at the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Columbus, Ga. on March 11th, taking on No. 2-ranked Christopher Newport, Augustana and No. 14-ranked Linfield before finishing with three games of pool play. Fontbonne will return to St. Louis to host No. 20 Central College on the campus of St. Louis University on March 19th.