Video: Softball player breaks bat in half
See Alyssa Triner and one of last season's crazier plays on the diamond.
The top two teams in the 2018 MaxPreps Xcellent Preseason Top 50 Softball Rankings each have nine players who have signed or committed to play collegiately. Each lost just two starters from their powerhouse 2017 teams. Each defeated the other a year ago. Each returns the top players in their state led by a MaxPreps All-American and several future PAC-12 players.
They are just 40 miles apart. And on the final day of the 2017 season, they played one another.
Hamilton (Chandler) and Pinnacle (Phoenix) give Arizona the Nos. 1-2 spots in the first MaxPreps rankings of 2018.
Last year, Pinnacle won the first meeting between the two, but Hamilton won the final two, including Arizona's 6A championship. The two losses to Hamilton (30-6) were the only blemishes in Pinnacle's 34-2 campaign.
Highlighting Hamilton's lineup will be MaxPreps All-American outfielder Taylor Gindlesperger, who has signed with Stanford after hitting .555 with nine home runs 71 hits, 50 RBIs, 51 runs scored, 21 doubles and stole 18 bases a year ago.
Headlining Pinnacle's lineup is MaxPreps All-American Marissa Schuld, who was named the Arizona Gatorade Player of the Year in Softball and the Arizona Female Athlete of the Year. The Arizona signee had a monster junior season — 22-1 with a 0.80 ERA, striking out 248 batters in 131 innings. Schuld also hit .505 with 15 home runs, 57 RBIs and a 1.064 slugging percentage.
The Pioneers were state 6A runner up to 6A champion Hamilton the last two years.
The two teams meet early, March 2 to be exact. In the last two years, they have played one another six times with Hamilton winning five.
Returning Texas 6A champion Keller opens the season at No. 3. It has pitching, hitting, defense, speed and experience in its quest to win its third-straight 6A title. But coach Christina Gwyn-Barton said the most important component is the program itself.
With eight players who have signed or committed, a trio of transfers and seven returning starts, all the pieces are in place for Keller, which opened its season in mid-February.
Marist (Chicago, Ill.) doesn't open its season until March 14, but opens at No. 4 in the preseason rankings.
The Redhawks return 14 players (including six who have signed or committed to play collegiately) and have added three newcomers who have all committed to play softball at Division I universities.
According to coach Carol Biebel, the Redhawks' strengths are "Lots of speed in our offense and a very strong versatile defense."
Pitching will be strong with the return of junior Angela Zedak and sophomore Mia Crotty and freshman Abby Dunning, who will turn heads early as she's among the top-ranked freshmen in the country. Zedak is recovering from knee surgery, but should be 100 percent when the Redhawks begin the postseason.
If Zedak, a Northwestern pledge, opened the season healthy, the Redhawks likely would have been the preseason No. 1.
What, no California team in the Top 4? Not to worry. Californians are at 5, 6 and 10 (and 14, 16, 17, 18) and well represented throughout the Top 50.
Foothill (Pleasanton, Calif.) opens at No. 5 as all nine starters return, including sophomore All-American pitcher Nicole May, an Oklahoma commit.
Foothill coach Matt Sweeney says his team strengths are his returning pitcher (May, who averaged better than two strikeouts per inning) and catcher Courtney Beaudin. Both are sophomores and Beaudin's is high on everyone's recruiting list.
"All returning players are very determined, hard working and very coachable," said Sweeney. "And all are very good offensively." And only three of the returning nine starters are seniors.
Rounding out the Top 10 are pitching loaded Cathedral Catholic (San Diego, Calif.), The Colony (Tex.), Hurricane (W. Va.), Canyon (New Braunfels, Tex.) and Valencia (Calif.)
MaxPreps 2108 Xcellent 50 Preseason Softball Rankings
1. Hamilton (Chandler, Ariz.) 2017 record:
Rocky ParraPlayers to Watch
• Taylor Gindlesperger
, MaxPreps All-American senior outfielder signed with Stanford. (2017 stats: hit .555 with 33 extra base hits, 51 runs scored and 50 RBIs).
• Abby Andersen
, senior outfielder/pitcher signed with Arizona State (2017 stats: hit .500 with 37 RBIs and 10-3 with 2.20 ERA in circle).
• Ali Ashner
, senior signed with Arizona. (2017 stats: 56 hits, 37 runs, 27 RBIs, .444 average).
• Lorena Vasquez-Inzunza
, infielder being heavily recruited (2017 stats: hit.400 with 19 extra base hits. One of two sophomores to hit a home run in last year's state championship game).
• Macy Simmons
, junior catcher has verbally committed to Auburn (2017 stats: hit .419 with eight homers and 37 RBIs).
• Madison Seigworth
, senior pitcher (2017 stats: 11-3 with a 1.92 ERA, 146 strikeouts in 98 innings. Winning pitcher for back-to-back state championship games).Hamilton notes
• Sophomore Hannah Vargas
has verbally committed to Missouri. and senior pitcher/infielder Kylee Saunders
has signed with University of Kansas Ottawa.
• Hamilton might have the best outfield of any high school team in the country with future PAC-12 players Gindlesperger, Anderson and Ashner. All are fleet-footed seniors, who can bunt, slap and hit with power.
• Parra is high on freshman Loganne Stepp
, a pitcher/infielder who is being courted by Arizona State and Arizona, "The future of Hamilton pitching is in good hands." He adds four sophomores are waiting in the wings.2. Pinnacle (Phoenix) 2017 record:
Bobby PenaPlayers to Watch
• Marissa Schuld
, senior signed with Arizona. The MaxPreps All-American, state Gatorade softball winner produced monster numbers as a junior — 22-1 with a 0.80 ERA, striking out 248 batters in 131 innings. Schuld also hit .505 with 15 home runs, 57 RBIs and a 1.064 slugging percentage.
• Cassandra Kelley
, senior has signed with UMass-Amherst (2017 stats: hit .363 and combined for 51 runs).
• Taylor Fawcett
, junior Grand Canyon commit (2017 stats: 10 homers, 42 RBIs and .400 average as a sophomore).
• Emma Bullard
, versatile sophomore has committed to Houston (2017 stats: hit .392 and combined for 53 runs scored or driven in).
• Nicole Amodio
, senior has signed with Boston College (2017 stats: hit .316 and played error-free ball in 36 games).
• Jessica Mabrey
, senior has signed with Pacific (2017 stats: hit .377 with 18 extra base hits, 46 RBIs).
• Marie Funes
, senior infielder who has signed Sacred Heart-Fairfield (2017 stats: hit over .300 as a sophomore at Xavier College Prep).
• Morgan Smith
, sophomore transfer from California has committed to LSU (as a freshman in California, Smith hit .473 with 11 homers and 44 RBIs in 30 games). Pinnacle notes
• Pinnacle will be strong in every aspect of the game — solid pitching and catching, the defense is deep with multi-talented players in the infield and speed/arms in the outfield. Pena said "there is very good hitting one through nine and depth on the bench."
• Pinnacle's returning roster was loaded, then added impact transfers Smith, Funes and Nicole Russo
. All three will play collegiately and are versatile.3. Keller (Texas)2017 record:
Christina Gwyn-BartonPlayers to Watch
• Kasey Simpson
, shortstop signed with Iowa State (2017 stats: hit school-record 10 home runs and led Indians with 16 doubles, six triples and 48 RBIs).
• Caraline Woodall
, outfielder committed to Indiana (2017 stats: hit .402 with 40 runs, 33 RBIs).
• Amanda DeSario
, outfielder committed to Texas Tech (2017 stats: batted .443 with team high 44 runs).
• Hanna Jones
, signed with Harding (2017 stats: In 34 games, had 53 hits, 25 steals and set the school record with a .558 batting average).
• Dylann Kaderka
, pitcher was a MaxPreps Sophomore All-American following her 30-5 and 1.65 ERA season. Kaderka was named the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram's Super Team Player of the Year.Keller notes
• Other signed or committed players: senior catcher Courtney Cagle
(UT Permian Basin), senior infielder Kathy Davis
(Friends University), sophomore infielder Riley Love
(Texas Tech pledge) and transfer catcher Hayden Brown
(LSU pledge), considered one of the top sophomores in the country.
• Keller won its second-straight Texas 6A title in 2017 and have an impressive corps of returnees and future college players to be the preseason favorite for a three-peat.
• Woodall, DeSario and Jones combined to steal 86 bases in 89 attempts and scored 123 runs.
• In addition to newcomer Brown, add a trio of impact newcomers — freshman infielder Alexa Langeliers
, freshman infielder/pitcher Tessa Galipeau
, and junior pitcher Olivia Shimmin
— and Keller might be better than its last two title-winning teams.4. Marist (Chicago)2017 record:
Colleen BiebelPlayers to Watch
• Angela Zedak
, junior pitcher is a Northwestern Commit (2017 stats: batted .505 with .957 slugging, 58 RBIs, 11 homers, 37 runs (28 games) and had 14, two-out RBIs; pitched 157 innings with 19-7 record.
• Cassie Lindmark
, junior catcher committed to Kentucky (2017 stats: batted .440 with 563, .693 slugging, 25 RBIs and .981 fielding percentage behind the plate).
• Alexis Voss
, junior committed to Michigan (2017 stats: batted .349 with 18 RBIs and 19 runs).
• Jessica Balich
, junior committed to Iowa State (2017 stats: knocked in 26 runs, scored 18 and had 13, two-out RBIs).
• Brianna Brown
, highly recruited sophomore with 2.6 home-to-first speed (2017 stats: batted 271 with 26 runs scored as a freshman).Marist notes
• Other signees and pledges include senior Kara Apato
(Northern Illinois), Maggie Kehoe
(Western Michigan) and transfers Gabby Atobelli
(a sophomore and Wisconsin commit) and junior Kelly Walinski
(Northern Illinois pledge).
• A trio of talented freshmen — Easton Lotus
(Pittsburgh pledge), Kali Case
and Abby Dunning
— are all ranked among the top freshmen in the country.
• Though still young, the Redhawks might have the most depth of any team in the country. In almost understatement fashion, coach Biebel says the team strength is experience with 14 returning players. Add transfers Altobelli and Walinski, plus the trio of highly regarded freshmen and Marist is two-deep at every position.
• If the youngsters produce early and Zedak comes back 100 percent, the Redhawks could run the table.5. Foothill (Pleasanton, Calif.)2017 record:
Matt SweeneyPlayers to Watch
• Nicole May
, sophomore pitcher has committed to Oklahoma. As a freshman, she won 24 games, struck out 293 and posted a 0.84 ERA.
• Courtney Beaudin
, heavily recruited sophomore catcher (2017 stats: hit .453 with 10 homers, 37 RBIs).
• Hope Alley
, junior shortstop is Pittsburgh pledge (all-league first team).
• Hailey Hayes
, sophomore second baseman (all-league second team).
• Lauren Hermes
, senior first baseman (all-league Honorable-Mention).Foothill notes
• In addition to five all-leaguers, junior third baseman Ellen Ebbers
, senior outfielder Nikki Thornton
and junior outfielder Gianna Lyng
also return and are expected to play at the next level. If a player receives all-league honors in the talent rich EBAL, that says a lot. And Foothill has five all-leaguers returning.
• Orange County gets a lot of hype (and rightly so) as the top high school softball region in the country, but the East Bay League is screaming "What about us?" It makes a good argument with two pitchers on the 2018 MaxPreps Preseason All-American team in Danielle Williams (Amador Valley) and Foothill's May. The EBAL's strength is a testament to how loaded Foothill is this year. 6. Cathedral Catholic (San Diego)2017 record:
Margaret MauroPlayers to Watch
• Megan Faraimo
, senior pitcher who has signed with UCLA. Went 27-1 with a 0.60 ERA and 251 strikeouts in 175 innings. Faraimo's only loss was a one-run affair. She also batted .402 with 26 RBIs and 14 extra base hits.
• Jacey Bourgeois
, senior catcher has signed with Long Beach State (2017 stats: two errors in more than 250 chances, batted .381 with team high 31 RBIs and 18 extra base hits).
• Marisa Estrada
, junior infielder (2017 stats: batted .356, scored 27 runs, collected 37 hits and drove in 16 runs).
• Sara Rusconi
, junior infielder (2017 stats: batted .326, scored 21 runs, collected 31 hits, drove in 22 runs and 10 doubles).
• Kaelene Walter
, junior outfielder (2017 stats: batted .374, scored 29 runs and collected 34 hits and drove in 17 runs).Cathedral Catholic notes
• The CIF-San Diego Section champions return seven starters. Mauro noted that the "sophomore crowd carried its weight last" and are a year older. All are being recruited.
• "We will find out what we are made of in ‘The Best of the West Tournament' in March and the Michelle Carew Classic in April," said Mauro.7. The Colony (Texas)2017 record:
Deana ColemanPlayers to Watch
• Jayda Coleman
, sophomore infielder has committed to Oklahoma (2017 stats: hit 11 homers, .677 average, MaxPreps National Freshman of the Year).
• Madison Hirsch
, Kansas pledge (2017 stats: ripped 15 homers and 65 RBIs to go with .560 average).
• Karlie Charles
, junior pitcher has committed to Iowa State (2017 stats: 19-2, 0.86 ERA and averaged a strikeout per inning in 2017).
• Jaycee Hamlin
, sophomore is a Texas Tech pledge (2017 stats: District 9-5A Newcomer of the Year. Hit .420 and combined for 54 runs). The Colony notes
• Others signees include seniors Zariya Stiner
(Hardin Simmons) and Meredith Amrhein
(University of St Mary's).
• The Colony has it all — power, speed, defense and pitching. At least six future college players return, and coach Coleman is quick to add that four newcomers — junior Elexus Favors
, sophomores Jodee Duncan
and Adrianna Honderich
, plus freshman Carlie Goldy
— "are impact players."8. Hurricane (W. Va.)2017 record:
Joshua CharlesPlayers to Watch
• Kiersten Landers
, senior center fielder signed with Florida State (2017 stats: batted .573 with five triples, 39 stolen bases and 63 runs scored as a junior).
• Jayme Bailey
, senior third baseman signed with Virginia Tech (2017 stats: batted .497 with 52 runs scored, six home runs, 50 RBIs and 20 stolen bases).Hurricane notes
• Other future committed college players include junior shortstop Caiti Mathes
(Virginia Tech), sophomore pitcher Harlie Vannatter
(Bowling Green), junior catcher Zoe Dunlap
(Youngstown State), second baseman Lindsey Phares
(Wisconsin-Green Bay) and junior first baseman Taylor McCray
(Saint Leo University).
• The Redskins, who finished the season with 16 straight wins, won their third-straight West Virginia large school title and with at least eight college players in the starting lineup, are favored for a fourth.9. Canyon (New Braunfels, Texas)2017 record:
26-5 Head coach:
Kevin Randle Players to Watch
• Brooke Vestal
, senior pitcher who has signed with national champion Oklahoma (2017 stats: Vestal recorded a 1.31 earned run average with 244 strikeouts and an 18-6 record in 144.0 innings, and hit .381 with 33 RBIs and eight home runs. In 2016, went 25-8 with a 1.73 ERA and 346 strikeouts in 210.0 innings pitched and hit .432 with 41 RBIs and 10 home runs).Canyon notes
• Signed players include Sydney Owens
(Iowa), Rylee Hopper
(St. Mary's), Bailey Zibelin
(Blinn), Desirae Rocha
(Northeast Texas Community College) and Kaylee White
• Committed players include Sydney Belvin
(McNeese) and Aliyah Pritchett
• Any team with Vestal in the circle has to be highly ranked. Coach Randle is quick to note that this year's team is pitching and power-hitting strong. His eight college signees or commits will be bolstered by impact newcomers Mia Macchia
and Hunter Vestal
. 10. Valencia (Calif.)2017 record:
Donna LeePlayers to Watch
• Allysa Shipman
, senior catcher has signed with Tennessee. Despite being walked 33 times, Shipman batted .613 with 15 homers, 39 RBIs, 11 doubles, two triples and 40 runs scored. Shipman had a 2.088 OPS (.726 on-base percentage and 1.363 slugging percentage).
• Shea O'Leary
, senior pitcher has signed with Texas. Despite one of the toughest schedules in California, she posted a 24-6 record with a 0.24 ERA, 240 strikeouts and 30 walks in 211.Valencia notes
• Other signees include Noel Dominguez
(College of Charleston), Kyla Hardy
(Utah Valley State), Alexis Genovese
(Coppin State), Nikki West
(Academy of Art University) and Amarys Miller Godsey
(Fairleigh Dickinson University).
• The Vikings are strong up the middle and have added a trio of impact players in sophomore Emma Montoya
and freshmen Emma Bramson
and Lani Paragas
. Valencia might steal Orange County's softball spotlight.11. Fort Myers (Fla.)2017 record:
Johnny ManettaPlayers to Watch
• Hannah Perkins
, senior pitcher has signed with Eckerd (2017 stats: 22-1 with a 0.71 ERA in 2017, Perkins was state 7A Player of the Year).
• Vivian Ponn
, junior has committed to South Florida (2017 stats: led Green Wave with a .512 average and 29 RBIs and was also 8-1 in the circle).
• Maria Angelino
, junior infielder has committed to South Florida (2017 stats: batted .449).
• Ryley Topliff
, (2017 stats: batted .393 and combined for 46 runs).
• Jessica Wilson
, senior outfielder has committed to Eckerd (2017 stats: hit .437 with six doubles, three triples and two home runs while adding 17 RBIs and scoring 24 runs).
• Riley Ludlam
, junior catcher has committed to Kennesaw State (2017 stats: .396 with four home runs, four triples, eight doubles, drove in 28).Fort Myers notes
• Fort Myers won the 2017 state 7A title with three juniors and nine sophomores on its 12-player roster. It hit .389 and scored 223 runs in 32 games. Fort Myers averaged less than three strikeouts per game.
• Perkins, Ponn, Wilson and Ludlow were all first team 7A All-State and Angelino was second team.12. Deer Park (Texas)2017 record:
Carrie AustgenPlayers to watch
• Maleah Olvera
, senior has signed with Tyler JC (2017 stats: batted .409, drove in 41 and led team with nine homers).
• Sara Vanderford
, junior is a Texas State commit (2017 stats: 23 extra base hits, 65 hits, 40 RBIs, .442 average).
• Courtney Plocheck
, sophomore is a Texas State pledge (2017 stats: .438 average as freshman).
• Jasie Roberts
, junior has committed to Houston Baptist (2017 stats: batted.381 and combined for 53 runs).
• Ashlyn Wade
, senior has signed Texas-San Angelo (2017 stats: 40 RBIs on 51 hits, .421 average).
• Amaya Montano
, junior committed to Texas A&M (2017 stats: batted .343 with 22 RBIs).
• KK Morado
, junior has committed to Texas-San Angelo (2017 stats: defensive standout hit .259).
• McKayala Chamberlain
, (2017 stats: batted .411, scored 41 runs).Deer Park notes
• "We are blessed with talented hitters. I'm excited what this team can do," said coach Austgen, who noted three starters are gone. "But we picked up (Haidyn) Hardcastle and some of our sophomores are gaining momentum."
• Haidyn Hardcastle
is a highly recruited freshman infielder who hits with power. And seven hitters who homered a year ago are back.
• Austgen also pointed out that it is an even year. The Deer won state titles in 2012 and 2014.13. East Carter (Grayson, Ky.)2017 record:
Derek CalhounPlayers to Watch
• Montana Fouts
, senior pitcher has signed with Alabama. As a junior, she recorded 448 strikeouts over 213 innings with a 29-4 record and a 0.39 ERA. She pitched 19 shutouts and allowed just 12 earned runs. She was equally dominant on offense, hitting 67-121 (.554), including 12 home runs and 66 RBIs.
• Eden Mayo
, senior catcher has signed with Louisville (2017 stats: batted .504, had 29 extra base hits and drove in 40 runs, while scoring 67).
• Taylor Jackson
, senior has signed with Vanover (2017 stats: batted .410 with 48 RBIs and 28 extra base hits).
• Madison Sparks
(batted .375, combined for 57 runs).
• Graycee Castle
(batted .350).East Carter notes
• Seven players return from 36-win season, but it all starts — and ends — with Fouts, considered by many to be the top pitcher in the country. While she struck out better than two batters per inning, she had at least one base hit in 37 of 41 games. Career wise, of her 111 high school wins, 77 have been shutouts with 41 coming over the last two seasons when she has recorded 927 strikeouts in 434 innings.14. Norco (Calif.)2017 record:
33-1 Head coach:
Players to watch
• Kinzie Hansen
, catcher committed to Oklahoma (2017 stats: batted .456 with 15 extra base hits and had team highs with 43 RBIs and 47 base hits).
• Sarah Willis
, sophomore pitcher committed to Washington (2017 stats: played for Chino Hills-Ayala, where she helped the Bulldogs to a berth in the D2 Southern Section semifinal. She was 12-8 with a 1.62 ERA and 144 strikeouts in 137 innings and batted .380 with 23 runs scored, 23 RBIs and four home runs).
• Mikayla Allee
, senior shortstop signed with Mississippi and has 86 wins in three seasons.Norco notes
• Other signees include seniors Toni Camarillo
(Bryant), Bianca Gonzalez
(West Point) and Sierra Marshall
(LMU). Other committed players include Grace Dudden
(Seattle), Lexi Quartaro
(Cal Baptist), Paige Smith
(Mississippi), Raegan Cheyne
(Mississippi), Megan Forbes
(Fairfield), Maile Maletta
(Dixie State), Katelyn Olson
(Cal State Fullerton) and Allison Beecher
• The Cougars won their first 33 games before losing to No. 1 Los Alamitos on the final day of the 2017 season. Gone is MaxPreps National Player of the Year Taylor Dockins, but plenty return starting with All-American Hanson, who drove in 43 teammates as a sophomore and has committed to Oklahoma.
• Coach Richard Robinson: "Our offense has a nice mix of speed and power and the returners have a year more maturity. We should be very solid defensively which will help our young pitching. Our pitchers have big shoes to fill. Sarah Willis should see a lot of the No. 1 pitching time, but freshman Stevie Hansen and Hannah Doi will be ready when needed. We learned a lot from last year's season and are driven to finish it off this year."
• Thirteen Norco players have signed or committed. Add motivation stemming from the final game loss and the Cougars might not stay at No. 14 long.15. Barrington (Ill.)2017 record:
Perry PetersonPlayers to Watch
• Abbey Jacobsen
, senior catcher has signed with Loyola-Chicago (2017 stats: batted .482 with 67 hits, 15 doubles, seven home runs and 46 RBIs. She threw out 27-of-50 base stealers and picked off 14 base runners).
• Leyden Atlas
, junior outfielder has pledged to Rutgers and hit .435 in 2017).
• Kendall Peterson
, junior third baseman has pledged to Northwestern (2017 stats: hit .397 with 46 hits, eight doubles, 30 RBIs and 14 stolen bases).
• Catherine McMahon
, All-State senior pitcher (2017 stats: 25-3 record, seven shutouts, 1.93 ERA).Barrington notes
• While many teams ahead of Barrington in the rankings have impressive newcomers, Barrington will field a roster with no underclassmen.
• With three future D1 caliber pitchers in Tori Meyer
(DePaul), Caroline Hoppe
(Central Florida) and McMahon, Barrington competes every day. They combined for 37 victories last season.16. Los Alamitos (Calif.)2017 record:
28-3 Head coach:
Janet FettigPlayers to Watch
• Daisy Munoz
, Cal State Fullerton signee has transferred from Kennedy (2017 stats: batted .542, 10 homers, 35 RBIs and 16 doubles).
• Brianna Jewett
, senior pitcher signed with Harvard.
• Madison Blossey
, Biola University signee.
• Berlyn Carreon
, signed with Utah Valley.
• Karrington Houshmandzadeh
, LSU signee.
• Danielle Lew
, Nevada-Reno signee.
• Kaitlin Parsons
, Tennessee signee.Los Alamitos notes
• Junior pitcher Sarah Ladd
has committed to Michigan State, senior pitcher Samantha Fowler
has signed with Long Beach State and sophomores Kennedi Houshmandzadeh
(LSU) and Aliya Belarde
• CIF-SS D1 champion and MaxPreps national champion, have reloaded and have a surplus of pitching and team speed. Though the Griffins lost 14 to graduation, they have eight who have signed and three others have committed. They open the season with a 13-game win streak, but with a large target on their backs.
• Add three stellar freshmen — Erin Mendoza
, Julianne Ronquillo
and Emma Sellers
— and losing 14 players to graduation seems a lot less imposing.17. Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)2017 record:
Jessica FoleyPlayers to Watch
• Kelli Godin
, signed with UCLA (2017 stats: batted .424, scored team high 32 runs and stole 22 bases. She is also a five-time CIF finalist in track).
• Mackensie Kohl
, signed with Ohio University (2017 stats: 14-4, 2.26 ERA ).
• Emma Clark
, signed with Notre Dame (2017 stats: batted .425 with 22 RBIs).
• Nyomi Jones
, junior has committed to Tennessee (batted .421 with team high 40 base hits).
• Erica Holt
, committed to Michigan State (2017 stats: batted .343 as sophomore).Mater Dei notes
• Other college-bound players include Daniela Alvarez (Providence), Donna Friedman
(Virginia), Madeleine Peters
(Western Michigan) and Amanda Valle
(University of San Diego).
• Mater Dei has speed to burn.18. Gahr (Cerritos, Calif.)2017 record:
Shawn QuarlesPlayers to Watch
• Madison Huskey
, senior has signed with Washington (2017 stats: batted .549 with 16 homers, 15 doubles and 53 RBIs).
• Vanessa Foreman
, senior pitcher has signed with Arizona. In limited time in 2017, 4-0 with 38 strikeouts in 32 innings.
• Danielle Martinez
, senior pitcher has signed with Duke.
• Jazmine Hill
, junior infielder has committed to Arizona State (2017 stats: .482 average, 50 runs and 16 extra base hits).
• Giselle Tapia
, junior infielder committed to Duke hit .487.
• Hannah Kumiyama
, junior pitcher has committed to South Carolina. She went 6-0 with a 0.82 ERA and allowed just 16 hits in 34 innings and struck out 45.Gahr notes
• After winning their first 26 games in 2017, the Gladiators were upset in the second round of the postseason. Until that six-run loss, they had hit 57 home runs and allowed just 37 runs. It would be an understatement to say their motivation is high.19. Katy (Texas)2017 record:
Kalum HaackPlayers to Watch
• Alyssa LeBlanc
, Texas A&M-Commerce commit was top player in the district a year ago. She hits and pitches.
• Cait Calland
• Chloe Cobb
(Texas Tech commit).
• Kayla Garcia
(Texas A&M commit). Katy notes
• Other future college players include Tori Whillock
(Texas), Bailee Shashack
(Illinois) and Brianna Diaz
• With a similar lineup, Katy won the 2015 state 6A championship. Katy batted .423 as a team a year ago and most of that lineup returns.20. Eustis (Fla.)2017 record:
26-2 Head coach:
Britany BeallPlayers to Watch
• Delaney Heaberlin
, state 5A Pitcher of the Year as a sophomore (2017 stats: 26-2 with a 0.81 ERA and 177 strikeouts in 155 innings and allowed one home run).
• Jaycie Michael
, senior signed with South Florida and was state 5A defensive Player of the Year (2017 stats: batted .500 with 21 extra base hits, 45 runs, 35 RBIs and 29 stolen bases).
• Tori Rodebaugh
, signed with Jacksonville (2017 stats: 465 average, 38 RBIs).
• Leea Hanks
, junior committed to Notre Dame (2017 stats: batted .500 with 48 runs, 35 stolen bases).Eustis notes
• Other signees include Graelyn Crawford
(Ave Maria University) and Seriah Brokenborough
(Florida A&M University).
• All but one starter returns from the team that lost the state 5A title game, 2-1. And seven of those starters were All-State picks. The only losses a year ago were to 5A state champ Coral Springs Charter and 9A titlist West Orange.
• The Panthers batted .379 as a team and stole 128 bases. More of the same is expected in 2018 when Eustis cracked the Top 50 for the first time.21. West (Salt Lake City)2017 record:
Keith LopatiPlayers to Watch
• Huntyr Ava
, junior has committed to BYU (2017 stats: .595 average, 66 RBIs and 21 homers).
• Jazmyn Rollin
, senior has signed with Missouri (2017 stats: .600 average, 58 runs, 47 RBIs, 16 homers, 26 stolen bases).
• Kamora Masina
(2017 stats: 42 runs, .494 average, 27 RBIs).
• Daisy Taloa
(2017 stats: .448 average, 47 hits, 39 runs).
• Macayla Ulibarri
(2017 stats: 3.37 ERA, 22-7 record and 147 strikeouts in 147 innings).West notes
• The reigning state 5A champion Panthers return seven starters from a team that batted .434 and averaged 11 runs per game. The big swinging West squad struck out only 86 times in 32 games.22. Krum (Texas)2017 record:
Bryan ChaneyPlayers to Watch
• Maddie Goin
, senior outfielder signed with Tarleton State (2017 stats: batted .488 with 63 hits, 49 runs).
• Regan Smith
, senior signed with North Central Texas College (2017 stats: batted .480 with 52 RBIs and 33 extra base hits).
• Lindsay Beutnagel
, junior infielder committed to Texas Woman's University (2017 stats: batted .455 with 60 hits, 42 RBIs).
• Morgan Sebastian
, senior catcher signed with Tarleton State (2017 stats: batted .452 with 51 RBIs and team high six homers).
• Tristan Bridges
, senior pitcher also is Tarleton State signee (2017 stats: hit .400 and was 35-4 pitching with 22 shutouts and three of her four losses were by one run).Krum notes
• The Bobcats are defending Texas 4A champ with five .400-plus hitters returnees and 40-game pitcher Bridges, a MaxPreps All-American.23. King's Academy (Seymour, Tenn.)2017 record:
Marc WeeklyPlayers to Watch
• Madison Webber, pledged to Tennessee (2017 stats: .556 average, 15 home runs, 71 runs. The first team, All-State pick hit .600 in the state tournament with two home runs and four RBIs).
• Regan Weekly
, junior committed to Dartmouth (All-State three consecutive years starting in 8th grade. Hit .652 in 2017 and .731 with runners in scoring position, 50 RBIs).
• Haydyn Jenkins
, junior Toledo Commit (2017 stats: .398, 45 RBIs).
• Kaylan Cole
, All-State sophomore pitcher (2017 stats: 28-3. 1.95 ERA, 180 strikeouts. Also batted .406 and hit .476 with runners in scoring position).
• Katelyn Norris
, Junior committed to Charleston Southern (2017 stats: .440 average and batted .405 with runners in scoring position).
• Teygan Bouknight, senior signed with Charleston Southern (2017 stats: .395 average with .410 with runners in scoring position).
• Sarah Knight
, senior signed with Maryville College (2017 stats: .358 avg, 33 RBIs).King's Academy notes
• In addition, senior Tori Voiles has signed with Kings College.
• King's Academy might have the lowest enrollment of any team in the Top 25, but there is nothing small about its softball program. Seven players have signed or committed and two others are fielding division one offers, said coach Marc Weekly, son of Tennessee head coach Ralph Weekly.
• The Lions have speed and batted over .400 with runners in scoring position a year ago. With Cole in the circle, they will again compete with anyone.24. Ridge Point (Missouri City, Texas)2017 record:
James McClanahanPlayers to Watch
• Makinzy Herzog
, signed with Florida State (2017 stats: District 23-5A MVP after posting a 0.99 ERA and 67 strikeouts in 35 district innings while batting .610 with 20 stolen bases).
• Abby Odneal
, signed with Houston (2017 stats: batted .500 with 16 runs and 13 RBIs in league play).
• Payton Jackson, committed to Texas Tech (2017 stats: hit .500 with 12 runs in district action as a freshman).Ridge Point notes
• Other signees include Danielle Garrison (Missouri), Mia Arnett
(Weatherford College) and Lauren Banks
• With All-District players Herzog, Odneal, Jackson, Banks, Arnett, Garrison, and Kate Dycha, Ridge Point is poised for a state title run. The jump to 6A should add fuel to their fire.25. Forney (Texas)2017 record:
Pat Eitel Players to Watch
• Trinity Cannon, sophomore transfer is a Texas A&M pledge (2017 stats: .451 average, 15 home runs and 47 RBIs).
• Savanna DesRochers
, a Kansas pledge named a freshman All-American by MaxPreps and All-State. (2017 stats: 24-6 with a 1.28 ERA and hitting .477 with 12 home runs and 52 RBIs).Forney notes
Forney, which returns all nine starters, lost in three games in the 5A Region II final to eventual state champion The Colony. Cannon will move one of the 2017 starters to the bench. Not sure this team has a weakness. All the pieces are there for a state final run.The Next 25
26. Huntington Beach (Calif.)2017 record:
18-10Huntington beach notes
With nine future college players — Allee Bunker
(Oregon), Jadelyn Allchin
(Washington), Shelbi Ortiz
(Utah), Megan Ryono
(Columbia), Kelli Kufta
(San Diego University), Katelyn Mangrello
(UC Santa Barbara), Jaelyn Operana
(Tennessee), Valerie Rudd
(Abilene Christian) and Grace Uribe
(Missouri) — it was hard to keep the Oilers out of the Top 25, but pitching needs to prove itself after 2017's 10-loss season.27. Bishop O'Connell (Arlington, Va.)2017 record:
27-0Bishop O'Connell notes
The Knights won the state large school title with Team USA girls member Kat Sandercock
pitching. The MaxPreps National Junior Player of the Year is coming off labrum surgery (hip/back area), but according to longtime Knights' coach Tommy Orndorf, "recovery seems to be going well and according to her teammates is looking better than ever. An unknown certainly at this point, but I am optimistic based on feedback that I am getting." If Sandercock is healthy, the Knights could finish a lot higher than No. 26. Though they graduated three big bats, six players with averages higher than .375 return with Sandercock one of them (.471, 56 RBIs and 25 extra base hits). 28. James Logan (Union City, Calif.)2017 record:
23-4James Logan notes
The Colts lost to No. 5 Foothill in the CIF-NCS finals, but return six starters including leading hitter Cassandra Wenn
(.507), leading run producer Aliyah Yates
(25 RBIs) and leading pitcher Camille Rodriguez
(18-3, 1.15 ERA, 154 strikeouts in 134 innings). The Colts fielded .972 a year ago with only 20 errors in 716 chances.29. Glencoe (Hillsboro, Ore.)2017 record:
All the components are there for one of the best seasons in school history: pitching, Isabel Womack
(Central Washington); catching, state 6A Player of the Year Ashlyn Bailey
(New Mexico); and speed, shortstop Morgan DeBord
(Loyola Marymount). 30. Mt. Carmel (New Orleans)2017 record:
21-5Mount Carmel notes
With LSU signee Shelby Wickersham
(Most Outstanding Player on the Louisiana Sports Writers Association Class 5A All-State softball team) in the circle, Mount Carmel is good every day. Wickersham compiled an 18-3 record for the state champion Cubs (192 strikeouts in 123 innings with a 0.78 ERA). She was clutch down the stretch, striking out 106 batters in her final 62 innings. Wickersham's future LSU teammate Jordyn Perkins
batted .483 with nine homers and 45 RBIs a year ago. That's a duo that gets everyone's attention.31. Clovis (Calif.)2017 record:
Senior pitcher Danielle Lung
(Fresno State signee) leads a list of 14 returnees, including Jordyn Martinez
(Sonoma State), Ashley Kincaid
(Azusa Pacific) and Tori Mueller
(University of Massachusetts Lowell). Lung was named Tri-River Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year, going 24-4 with an ERA of 1.04. In 184 innings, she struck out 263 and tossed 10 shutouts.32. Palo Verde (Las Vegas)2017 record:
37-6Palo Verde notes
Six starters return to a team that batted .420 with 160 extra base hits and won state large school title. Seniors Makall Whetten
(Southern Utah signee) and Makensa Martin
combined for a third of those extra-base hits and totaled 174 runs accounted for in 43 games. Senior pitchers Taylor Askland
(22-4, 1.75 ERA) and Kendall Hopkins
(11-0, 1.89 ERA) also return. Askland has signed with Indiana.33. Scott County (Georgetown, Ky.)2017 record:
The Cardinals allowed only 52 runs a year ago and that was due largely to pitcher Kennedy Sullivan
(15-5, 0.76 ERA, 219 strikeouts in 129 innings). Other key returnees include Hannah Davis
(53 RBIs), Carly Oliver
(.444 average, 42 runs and 22 extra base hits) and Emily Jasper
(.444, 30 runs).34. Canyon del Oro (Tucson, Ariz.)2017 record:
30-4Canyon Del Oro notes
The 4A title team returns big boppers Ellessa Bonstrom
(11 homers) and Alexis Kaiser
(14 homers) along with sophomore pitcher Amya Legarra
. CDO enters the season with an 11-game win streak.35. Howell (Mich.)2017 record:
The Highlanders lost a trio of big hitters, but return a trio in Sydney Pezzoni
, Maddie Gillett
and AJ Militello
, who combined to hit .500, drive in 160 runs and score 179 in 2017. In addition, sophomore pitcher Molly Carney
is back after earning MaxPreps Freshman All-American team honors (32-3 with a 1.51 ERA and a strikeout-per-inning average).36. Spain Park (Hoover, Ala.)2017 record:
48-9 Spain Park notes
After earning All-State honors as an 8th grader, Oklahoma State pledge Annabelle Widra
is the key to the Jaguars as she begins her freshman season. She was 36-6 with a 1.26 ERA and 272 strikeouts in 200 innings in her debut. She also batted .414. Other key returnees are juniors Bailey Bowers
and Auburn commit Maddie Majors
, who batted .518 and scored 56 times.37. Daphne (Ala.)2017 record:
Big sticks return in Aspyn Godwin
, Kennedy Cronan
and the Pierce girls (Makenna Pierce
and Karsen Pierce
), who combined for 31 home runs and 191 RBIs a year ago. The Pierce girls also combined for a 34-4 record.38. Union County (Union, S.C.)2017 record:
Bailey Betebaugh, a junior pitcher committed to South Carolina was state Gatorade softball winner, returns after batting .495 with seven home runs, nine doubles, and 43 RBIs. She was also 14-4 with a 1.44 ERA and 118 strikeouts in 121 innings pitched. Other returnees include Kayelynn Petty (signed with Presbyterian) and Newberry signees Rebecca Lee
and Abby Valentine. The reigning state 4A champions split with 5A champions Byrnes. The two teams meet again March 5 for early season state bragging rights.39. Gibbs (Corryton, Tenn.)2017 record:
What's missing? The Eagles return players who hit 38 of their 39 homers, stole 100 bases and pitchers who combined for 43 wins. They enter the season as state 3A champions and with 17 wins in their last 18 games. Frosh All-American Macey Hughes
leads the way after batting .417, with 27 extra base hits, 71 RBIs and 64 runs a year ago. And she was walked 27 times. She also committed just two errors in 124 chances. Add Sierra Hucklebee
, a Lincoln Memorial commit, who batted .500, with 84 hits, 66 RBIs and 24 doubles, and returning 33-game winner Rayna Pendleton
and the rush for gold is on.40. Gainesville (Fla.)2017 record:
Gainesville returns six starters who shined a year ago, including seniors Olivia Hanson
(nine homers and 37 RBIs), Hallie Karas
(batted .398) and sophomore Alissa Humphrey
(21-3 with 1 .75 ERA and 198 strikeouts in 144 innings). The 2016 7A state champions could be headed to the finals again.41. Land O' Lakes (Fla.)2017 record:
Land 'O Lakes notes
Callie Turner, the state 6A Pitcher of the Year has committed to Tennessee. She was dominant a year ago — ERA (0.21) and strikeouts (249) despite missing nearly two weeks while recovering from an injury. Add Tia Williams
(Nova Southwestern) who in 2017, batted team high .444 with 24 RBIs, 31 runs, 11 steals, Ashley Smith
, (team high 30 RBIs, batted .390, 16 extra base hits), Shelby Westbrook
(30 stolen bases, batted .400, team high 36 runs) and Brianna Lindner
(33 RBIs) and a lot of wins are forecast.42. Shawnee Heights (Tecumseh, Kan.)2017 record:
24-0Shawnee Heights notes
The Thunderbirds captured the Kansas 5A state title and are poised for a repeat with returning All-Staters Paige Petefish
, Aniya Holt
, Sydney Wellshear
, Kaleigh Bayless
and Abbey Fischer
. Add All-City players Olyvia Ostenson and the T-Birds are heavy favorites for a repeat. Wellshear (.712), Bayless (.583), Holt (.565), Ostenson (.508), all batted over .500 a year ago and Petefish ended her sophomore season with a 16-0 pitching mark and a 1.00 ERA, striking out 120 batters in 77 innings. Petefish allowed 37 hits and 14 walks on the season. Petefish and Wellshear have committed to Central Missouri and Bayless to Mid-American Nazarene.43. New Palestine (Ind.)2017 record:
31-2New Palestine notes
The Dragons enter the season with a 23-game winning streak and as state D3 champions. Yes, they lost a lot to graduation, but Ohio State signee Ashley Prange
(batted .552 with 21 homers and 67 RBIs), Emily O'Connor
(batted .558 with 59 RBIs, 14 homers and 32 extra base hits), Michaela Jones
(batted .406, 22 extra base hits) and DePauw signee MacKenzie Jones
(9-0 with a 1.71 ERA) return.44. Byrnes (Duncan, S.C.)2017 record:
The state large school champions return eight starters from 2017 and will be deep in all areas. Pitching depth comes from South Caroline-Upstate pledge Kasey Widmyer
(19-5 1.64 ERA) and unbeaten Tatum Arboleda
(6-0, 0.66 ERA). Hitting comes from college signees Haven Pesce
(Lander University), Christa Whitesides
(Erskine College), Amber Campbell
(Spartanburg Methodist) and Wydmar.45. Donovan Catholic (Toms River, N.J.)2017 record:
Everyone returns from 25-1 team that allowed 24 runs and limited opponents to .148 batting average. Everything is in place — defense (only 15 errors in 26 games), hitting (.415 as a team) and pitching (combined 0.76 ERA and 1.5 strikeouts per inning return in junior Drexel pledge Lindsay Nelson
and sophomore Kait Mulcahey
).46. Kingsway (Woolwich Township, N.J.)2017 record:
In 166 innings, Mississippi State signee Gracie Fagan
struck out 316 batters with a ERA of 1.13. Add 16 returnees, including senior Danielle Dominik
(Monmouth signee), and the Dragons are loaded. Dominik homered 11 times and batted .475 with a slugging percentage of 1.150.47. Ooltewah (Tenn.)2017 record:
33-10Ooltewah notesKayla Boseman
(Mississippi State), Cheyanne Sales
and Mabry Carpenter
(Chattanooga State signee) combined for 47 doubles, 21 home runs and 202 runs a year ago. Though recovering from a preseason vehicle accident, Boseman was 15-6 with a 1.63 ERA and 1.5 strikeouts each inning. She'll get support from Mackenzie Patterson
and Hadley Morrow
, who combined to go 15-4.48. White Knoll (Lexington, S.C.)2017 record:
28-4White Knoll notes
A roster full for future college players and in all the right positions bodes well for the T-Wolves. Key returnees are signed seniors Ginna Leaphart
(College of Charleston) and Madison Miller
(Newberry College) and committed juniors Hannah Goodwin
(North Carolina State) and Andrea Lyon
(Gardner-Webb). Lyon was 26-4 with 1.92 ERA and 200 strikeouts in 189 innings and batted .407 with nine homers and 35 RBIs. Other college college-committed players include Libby Williams
(Belmont Abby College) and Briannah Workman
(Columbia College).49. Jesuit (Portland, Ore.)2017 record:
The Crusaders are loaded with seniors who were on the state title-winning team as sophomores: pitcher Olivia Strickland
, outfielders Jaclyn Flood
and Hannah Malin
, infielder Emma Gordon
and juniors Jenny Marnin
and Reyan Tuck
.50. Neshoba Central (Philadelphia, Miss.)2017 record:
30-3Neshoba Central notes
Led by junior pitcher Aspen Wesley
, the Rockets won the 5A state title and return eight starters from that team. Wesley struck out 349 batters in 180 innings and posted a 0.77 ERA in going 25-2. Eighth-grader Tenly Grisham
batted .340 and stole 31 bases a year ago. A Mississippi State commit, Wesley has two state softball Gatorade awards to her credit.