BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Samford softball’s Logan Champion has a knack for catching people. She’s thrown out 13 baserunners so far in 2023 from behind the plate – good for second in the nation. 

Champion, a sophomore, said her secret behind stopping the opposition in their tracks is trusting herself while not panicking nor thinking about it. Bulldog head coach Kimball Cassady said Champion’s got a cannon of an arm.

Besides her exceptional fielding abilities, the Marietta, Georgia, native is helping propel Samford’s offense. Her 10 doubles are 16th across the country. Champion’s notched a .374 batting average and .670 slugging percentage, not to forget her 34 hits and 14 RBI. Plus, her 61 total bases are registered at 38th among all baserunners. 

“I don’t think I had as much confidence when I was a freshman than right now,” Champion said. “I think I’m more comfortable in my position on the field and in myself, so I think that helps tremendously.” 

Last season, the 5-foot-4, right-handed swinger appeared in eight games, recording five at-bats with no hits. Cassady said Champion’s limited playing time was because then-senior Kolby Holcombe started every game at catcher. But after Holcombe left the program, it was Champion’s time to shine. 

“I think throughout the fall, we saw her not only come around offensively but she was, during scrimmages, throwing out a lot of runners and having a lot of success behind the plate,” Cassady said. “So, it was a no-brainer that she would be our starting catcher.”

Cassady mentioned Champion is seeing the ball well right now and has good pitch selection. Though the health sciences major and aspiring dentist wouldn’t typically bat in the No. 2 in the lineup, Cassady said she does because of her high batting average, noting she is more of a No. 3 or No. 4 hole hitter for them. 

Though the Bulldogs rank in the top 100 with a 2.82 ERA, their .258 batting average is outside the top 150. Cassady said Champion has been the main constant in their lineup. 

“I worked really hard over the summer, and I tried my best to be just as good as I can be and just fell into place I guess,” Champion said. 

Samford is 11-18 as it heads into a matchup at North Alabama on Wednesday with Champion riding an eight-game hitting and 10-contest reach base streaks. After the midweek affair, the Bulldogs commence their Southern Conference campaign in a doubleheader against Mercer on Saturday at home. Samford was selected as the preseason favorite to win the conference in the league’s preseason poll. 

Cassady said the campaign is a sprint, not a marathon. Champion is the only listed catcher on Samford’s roster, so Cassady said the staff has to be careful on what she can do during practice so she can stay healthy. 

“She’s probably one of the most chill on the team,” Cassady said. “She always tries her best, always is a good team leader and she’s kind of a quiet leader for us. But I think the girls gravitate toward somebody like that, that’s kind of quiet and zoned in on what they’re doing, and she does a good job for us.”