YORKTOWN, N.Y. — Christina Leader started the 2012 Springfield College softball season just hoping to avoid the injuries that had plagued her last year.
The 2010 Yorktown graduate was eager to show what she could do when healthy. Leader is displaying her talents as the center fielder and lead-off hitter for a Springfield team that is seeded first in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference softball championship.
Leader, a sophomore, is batting .381 (43 for 113) with 21 runs scored, 13 RBIs and eight stolen bases. Since moving to the lead-off spot from No. 2 in the order, she has sparked Springfield's offense.
"I received a decent amount of playing time in my freshman year, but then I suffered a partially torn meniscus and missed about two-and-a-half weeks," said Leader, who is majoring in physical education. "I had been starting in left field. When I came back, I got back into the lineup.
"Then during fall ball last year, I hurt my shoulder and missed about a week. But when I returned I felt I hit the ball well."
Leader opened the season in the No. 2 hole. But after a couple of weeks, she found herself back in a familiar spot.
"It felt like home because I am used to being lead-off," said Leader. "I had always hit lead-off in high school and on my travel team. It made feel proud when I was moved to lead-off."
Leader said she benefits from facing a high-caliber pitcher in practice: teammate and Harrison graduate Ashley Marino.
"I've been doing a lot of hitting practice, and hitting off Ashley every day has helped me a lot because she is a great pitcher," Leader said. "During a game, when I am in the box, I am looking to get a hit or get on base any way I can."