Jasmine Benitez, Hannah Murchison share college softball experiences
Published 12:16 am Thursday, March 23, 2023
Every team comprises a mix of players, some still developing and reaching their full potential and others with their feet on the gas in the late stages of their careers.
At Lamar State College Port Arthur, sophomores are essentially the senior leadership on the team, guiding freshmen and helping them adjust to college ball.
Two players, Jasmine Benitez and Hannah Murchison, are prime examples of these two types of players.
Benitez, a sophomore leader from Dobie High School on the outskirts of Houston, has seen a remarkable improvement in her softball stats this season compared to her previous year as she’s adjusted to her home in Port Arthur in her second season.
“It’s been good. It’s been fun,” she said. “I’ve gotten used to it. It’s different not seeing my family every day, but any chance I get, I go home. It’s fun here, and the girls make it a good atmosphere.”
In her first 21 games played, she knocked in 18 runs and boasted a .388 batting average, a massive jump from last year’s 6 RBI and a .260 average in nearly double the games.
“Individually, I’m feeling good because last year I had a really rough start, and this year I’m actually doing pretty good,” Benitez said, attributing her success to a change in mindset.
“Last year I was nervous; this year is just more about having fun playing every game like it’s your last game.”
Hannah Murchison, a freshman from Bridge City High School, is developing and adjusting to college ball and doing it quite well.
“I’m kind of nervous, not gonna lie,” said Murchison about the season. “It’s my first year here and playing college ball. But I feel like I have a good support system through my teammates. They help out the nerves, so I feel like it’s going to be a good year.”
A good year it has been. In Murchison’s first 16 games, she has a .286 batting average, 5 RBI and one homer.
Most impressively, 75 percent of her hits have been for extra bases, giving her a solid rookie slugging percentage of .619.
According to the National Junior College Athletic Association statistic database found at njcaa.org, the average slugging percentage of all players in the league during the 2019-2020 season was .392. So, though Murchison offers a small sample size in her 16 games, it’s not hard to see a glimpse of what’s ahead in her career.
She, too, has found solitude just down the road in Port Arthur.
“I thought it was going to be a hard start or something different, but it’s been really fun as I opened my mind to it,” she said. “I always thought I would want to go off — go far away, but I’m really happy that I chose to come here. It’s where I really always wanted to go.”
Both young women are playing right at home in Seahawks blue, and there will only be more highlights as they continue conference play through the beginning of May.
— Written by Clayton Eaves