From walk-on to all-star, Duffield had quite the run at UTEP
Kacey Duffield of Fairbanks just wanted an opportunity to prove she could play softball at the highest college level when she walked on the team at University of Texas El Paso.
Two years later, she walked away as one of the program’s finest first basemen.
Duffield led the Miners with a .388 batting average, .640 slugging percentage and .482 on-base percentage in addition to ranking second with 10 home runs and 89 total bases.
Defensively, she showed lots glove love with a .933 fielding percentage. She had 13 assists and made only two errors on 280 total chances as UTEP registered the lowest amount of errors is a season in program history.
Duffield, of Lathrop High fame, made a little history with the bat as well.
She is just the third Alaska woman to hit double-digit dingers in a single season at the NCAA D1 level.
17 Lillian Bullock North Carolina A&T 2007
12 Pauline Tufi Louisiana Tech 2015
11 Pauline Tufi Louisiana Tech 2016
10 Kacey Duffield UTEP 2019
After Duffield hit 31 home runs and drove in 126 RBIs at Indian Hills Community College, she took off the 2017 season and all of the D1 offers dried up.
She basically recruited UTEP and then walked on the team without the promise of playing time.
“She has so much character, she never quits,” coach Tobin Echo-Hawk told the El Paso Times. “That’s how she is, she wants to be successful. We couldn’t have been luckier that she came here.”
Her gamble paid off.
Duffied hit .341 in her two seasons and her 15 home runs were the most by a D1 player from Alaska since Taria Page’s 15 bombs with Louisiana Tech from 2016 to 2018.