There’s a new face atop the Athletes Unlimited leaderboard following week three of competition.
Amanda Chidester vaulted to the top of the leaderboard following a league-leading 544 point weekend in week three and now sits in first with 1,132 points. Sahvanna Jaquish is second with 1118.
Chidester isn’t a new name to those who know softball. Following a decorated career at the University of Michigan, the Team USA Olympian has had a dominant professional run, culminating in her recent rise to the top of the Athletes Unlimited board.
At Michigan, Chidester was named First Team All-Big Ten in three of her four seasons, being named Conference Player of the Year in back-to-back seasons. Just the second Wolverine player to reach 200 career RBIs, Chidester averaged a .355 batting percentage throughout her four years, amassing 157 runs as well as 40 home runs.
As a member of the Chicago Bandits, she was named the 2019 NPF Player of the Year before joining Athletes Unlimited.
Following Athletes Unlimited’s inaugural season, Chidester was selected to the U.S. Olympic Team as a catcher, where she won a silver medal at the Tokyo Games. It was Chidester’s heroics against Australia that sent the team on to the gold medal game against Japan.
Her rise to the top of the Athletes Unlimited leaderboard shouldn’t come as a surprise. Last year, Chidester was the first-ever No. 1 pick in the inaugural Athletes Unlimited draft.
“I believed joining Athletes Unlimited would be an opportunity to grow this sport, and it would be an opportunity to play competitively against the best in the world,” she told Just Women’s Sports last September. Chidester also told JWS that while being picked first overall was “pretty awesome,” her mindset was still team-first.
“You can’t win innings by yourself,” she said. “Everyone is just as important, and everyone is so good that it really doesn’t matter when you get picked.”
While Chidester knows the importance of winning the innings, she has been deadly at the plate this year. As an infielder this season, Chidester has earned 240 points on home runs — double that of Amanda Lorenz and Sahvanna Jaquish, who have each earned 120 points on home runs to tie for second. Currently, Chidester has a .457 batting average through nine games, having earned a run in all but two games and a hit in all but one.
"It's a daily occurrence for @chiddy3." 💥I mean it's just ridiculous at this point 🙌 pic.twitter.com/QMmzz7QdoB— Athletes Unlimited (@AUProSports) September 15, 2021
"It's a daily occurrence for @chiddy3." 💥I mean it's just ridiculous at this point 🙌 pic.twitter.com/QMmzz7QdoB
Her week three was particularly notable, as she earned 544 points to catapult her to the top of the leaderboard. She had a home run in each of the three games on the weekend and amassed seven RBIs to help Team Jaquish to an undefeated weekend.
As Chidester heads into week four, her draft savvy will be tested. But a team-first mindset could have her winning innings and building on her lead over second place Jaquish. From there, Athletes Unlimited’s first-ever No. 1 pick could become it’s second-ever champion.
Editor’s note: Athletes Unlimited is a sponsor of Just Women’s Sports.