Two roles that Maia Mumpfield fills on Dacula’s softball team — leader and big-hitting first baseman — are familiar. Her third major role took much more work.

The Falcons had a big void on their pitching staff entering the 2021 season after the graduation of ace Sydney Boulware, so they turned to Mumpfield, who was light on experience in the circle. She pitched for the first time as a 12-and-under recreation player, but focused on first base (her future college position) in travel ball over the years.

The left-hander didn’t pitch at the high school level until the end of her junior season.

“I knew first and foremost, (Mumpfield) was going to be a leader for us this season because that’s just who she is as a kid,” Dacula softball coach Kelli Poff said. “She’s a good character kid. I knew she was really excited about being that leader as a senior. We only have two seniors. I think she also understood that she was taking over on the mound after Sydney and Sydney carried us for four years.

“I think she was ready for that task and she was excited. She really pushed herself in travel ball. She threw a lot in travel ball to prep for it. … We kind of knew last year she was going to be our ace this year. We had talked to her last year toward the end of the season. She threw a playoff game for us last year. I think mentally she understood that back in October of last year. So I think she started to prepare herself mentally and physically to be the best she can be for us this year.”

Her best has been a key part of Dacula’s successful softball season, highlighted by a Region 8-AAAAAA championship and two wins over longtime state power Buford. The Falcons (17-5, 13-2 region) host Kennesaw Mountain this week in the first round of the Class AAAAAA state playoffs.

Mumpfield sports a 12-3 record in her new pitching role.

“It was different for me,” she said of pitching. “But after getting my bearings, I was fine. It was an adjustment. … I’ve gotten a lot better with my speed and movement (since last season). I think I’ve improved a lot with my drop and changeup. I’ve also gotten a lot faster than I used to be. That comes with working out a lot.”

In addition to the pitching, Mumpfield has done her usual work at the plate, where she excelled as a junior all-county player. She enters state hitting .458 with a .512 on-base percentage, three home runs, 29 RBIs and 15 doubles.

“She’s a gap hitter and she leads our team in doubles,” Poff said. “She has a good eye at the plate. She does such a good job.”

Those hitting skills have earned her opportunities in college softball, which will fulfill a long-standing dream. She hasn’t announced a decision yet, but has made visits to Tennessee State, Georgia State and Morehead State this fall.

“Since I started playing, I wanted to play in college,” said Mumpfield, whose older brother Konata, a Dacula grad, is a wide receiver on the Akron football team. “I fell in love with softball so early and I knew I wanted to play in college.”

“Wherever she lands, she’s going to make an immediate impact because of the person she is,” Poff said of Mumpfield, a graduate of the prestigious IDEALS Leadership School. “She’s a great softball player, but she’s an even better person.”

Before college becomes a focus, the remainder of her senior season is at the forefront. Mumpfield has been a part of the Dacula community since second grade — she was born in Japan and previously lived in New Jersey during her father Ceeprian’s 21-year career in the U.S. Army — which has made this season’s success more meaningful.

“I had faith in us from the start,” she said.

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