Finding her way: Morgan Leinstock’s softball journey and battling deafness

By Courtney Mims
on 2024-05-15 20:57 PM

FAYETTEVILLE, Ar. (KNWA/KFTA) – The bright lights and loud cheers doesn’t bother Arkansas pitcher Morgan Leinstock.

“I usually zone out, I’m locked in on the catcher,” Leinstock said.

Her world on the softball diamond is loud, but off of it, it’s much quieter. The First-Team All-SEC pitcher was actually born deaf.

“So it’s called malformation of the cochlea, it’s like a snail shell and that’s how yours is, mine is not like that, it’s weird and deformed,” Leinstock said.

At two and a half years old, Leinstock got cochlear implant surgery to help her hear.

“A lot of people expect when you have it on they expect you to talk but I was still a baby and not talking and so I had to go to a special school to learn how to hear, how to talk, how to communicate with others,” Leinstock said.

It didn’t take her long to discover she had a passion for sports.

“I moved to Washington and that’s when I started playing sports, I played basketball, soccer, softball, volleyball everything cause I was so tall at a young age so I was just natural at playing sports and sports is a visual thing,” Leinstock said.

Just because athletic ability came naturally to Morgan, playing the game didn’t come without it’s hardships.

“As a first baseman you can’t see the catcher, so I was just so focused on trying to hear what she was saying so that’s why it was kind of stressful,” Leinstock said.

However, when a coach told Morgan she should be a pitcher because of her height, everything changed.

She fell in love with it and that passion is shown out on the diamond with the Bogle Bombers.

Leinstock tunes everything out and nothing really gets to her.

“There’s times when we’re in games and the other teams are trying to rattle a pitcher, and they are like ‘ball 3.’ It’s like ‘she can’t hear you, good try,'” Arkansas head softball coach Courtney Deifel said.

Watching her pitch, you would never know the adversity she has faced in her life, but that’s exactly how she wants it to be.

“With the challenges she’s had and the people who have counted her out it’s only fueled her and it’s only made her stronger and her story is just really inspiring you just root for her,” Deifel said.

“I mean I proved the doubters wrong and I just can’t wait to see where I am five years from now, ten years from now so it’s been a tough journey and I’m just excited to be where I’m at,” Leinstock said.

(Last updated: 2024-05-15 20:57 PM)