Story By Jordan Spurgeon
Prior to COVID halting the sports world, ASU softball center fielder Kindra Hackbarth was on top of the world, playing the game she loves with her best friends with no pressure as a Senior in a groove. But, as the team was traveling to UCLA to open PAC-12 play in March, the world had other ideas. The pandemic reached a point where the PAC-12 decided to cancel the season in the blink of an eye.
Now Hackbarth is running it back for a fifth year of college softball, one she hopes allows her and the rest of the team to finish what they started in 2020.
“I knew right away that I wanted to come back and play,” Hackbarth said. “I’m really excited to finish with my class, my twin sister, and this year’s seniors… I’m just excited to play.”
The left-handed leadoff hitter is returning with high praise, earning the nod as one of the top three outfielders in the country and is on the USA Softball Top 50 Watch List for collegeiate player of the year. She’s also a D1Softball Preseason First Team All-American. The personal expecations are high for Hackbarth, but she’s ready to embrace the challenges ahead when the season starts on February 11.
— Sun Devil Softball (@ASUSoftball) January 28, 2021
“I feel like it’s a lot of pressure, but I kind of like pressure,” Hackbarth said. “It’s a good feeling knowing that people see my ability for the future just because it’s been so long since we have played. It’s been almost a year which is crazy to think about, but it’s kind of nice honestly, it’s a good feeling.”
Her collegiate career is full of experiences and accomplishments, including a trip to the College World Series her sophomore year, but Hackbarth wanted to come back for year five to help pass the torch to the young players in the program.
Once the season ends, Hackbarth will move on to the next phase of her life. She graduated in December 2020 and is getting married in October of this year.
“I’m ready to play this season and have a great time,” Hackbarth said. “I want to play and then I want to get all my girl stuff done and move on with my life.”