In a three-hit game against Fresno State earlier this season, Kacie Burnett became ISU’s all-time hit leader, breaking former power-hitting catcher Vicky Galasso’s record.
But this is not the first record Burnett has broken during her ISU career. Among the records are most stolen bases and most runs scored.
Her career landed Burnett on the Top 50 Watch List for Player of the Year for the second consecutive season, becoming the second ISU player in school history to make the list and the first player in school history to make the list two years in a row.
“I never imagined I would be playing collegiate ball,” Burnett said. “My dad just asked me and my sister one day if we wanted to play softball and we said yes.”
According to Burnett, her biggest improvement so far this season has been her offense.
“Just letting my mind relax completely has been a real challenge,” Burnett said.
Last year, she performed consistently throughout the season, most notably in games against Colorado State and Portland State. She ended the season on a strong note when she was named to the Big Sky Conference All-Tournament Team.
The spring of her junior season, Burnett started all 52 games in left field and finished with a .605 slugging percentage and a .533 on-base percentage.
In March of her junior year, she was named a NFCA National Player of the Week because of her performance in a series against Nevada game, where she went 10-for-12 from the plate with seven runs and was a perfect seven-for-seven in stolen bases.
She was also named Big Sky Conference Player of the Week twice last season.
“I’ve been hitting third the past two years, which really puts me in a position to hit runners in,” Burnett said in an interview with Athletic Director Jeff Tingey.
During her freshman season, she quickly proved that she was not an average freshman.
Burnett started all 55 games, set four ISU single-season records, including stolen bases, most hits and runs scored and was named Big Sky Conference Player of the Week her first month on the team.
First-Team All-Big Sky and to the Second-Team NFCA All-Region honors came after the season’s conclusion. She was also named Big Sky Conference Freshman of the Year.
“In defense situations, I just go in there and zone in,” Burnett told Tingey. “Focus on just me and the pitcher.”
Since her softball career began in sixth grade, her family has been her biggest support. Her parents have always encouraged her and her sister to participate in a variety of activities including basketball and taekwondo where Burnett, her sister and mother all earned black belts.
Burnett is currently finishing her first year in the nursing program, which she says requires a large amount of time, hard work and dedication, just like softball.
“With softball especially, it’s not just something you can pick up in a day,” she said.
While on the team, Burnett has been able to apply her dedication in a variety of ways, not just as a player but as a leader. As a natural leader, Burnett has always strived to uplift her teammates and lead by example.
“It’s always important to give 100 percent that day,” Burnett said. “We’re always going to fight and we’re never going to let down.”
The community aspect is one of the things that attracted her to ISU.
“I had some friends on the team, Haley Harrison and Gabby Lopez, that I played travel ball with,” she said.
While at ISU, some of her favorite memories have been during travel games and she says the team always finds a way to make the long bus rides fun.
“I’ve never really been a person to focus on numbers and stats,” Burnett said. “My main goal is to just go up there and set the tone for my team.”