Video: High School Softball Bat Tricks
See these impressive swings during some softball down time.
Power pitchers. Power hitters. Base stealers. Seniors, juniors and a sophomore. Take your pick. The 20 players selected for the midseason MaxPreps Player of the Year Watch List offer a lot of what high school softball features.
Of the 20, most have been MaxPreps All-Americans, play for highly ranked teams and have signed or committed to play softball at the collegiate level.
Players on the 2018 Watch List come from all sizes of schools from Rose Bud (Ark.) with less than 400 students to Hamilton (Ariz.) with nearly 4,000 students.
Eight of the 20 players are pitchers and have combined for 1,177 strikeouts in 591 innings, an average of nearly two strikeouts per inning. They have combined for 104 wins and five losses — with four of those losses being 1-0 affairs.
Highlighting the list are MaxPreps 2017 National Junior of the Year Kathryn Sandercock, 2016 National Sophomore of the Year Montana Fouts and 2017 National Freshman of the Year Jayda Coleman.
If a player isn't on this Watch List, it does not mean she can't be considered for MaxPreps National Player of the Year. Some states are in their second week of playoffs, while others are in their second week of the season. Some states will see the softball season end in early May, others will go through mid-June.
By comparison, Kasey Flores of East Lake (El Paso, Texas) has a national leading 25 homers and 80 RBIs in 36 games, while Ashley Prange, New Palestine (Ind.) has played just three games due to inclement weather. After hitting 21 homers a year, Prange has three homers and 10 RBIs in three games.
And a few players have been slowed by injury, but are back at full strength and tearing it up. One such player is Norco (Calif.) junior catcher Kenzie Hansen, who has committed to Oklahoma. She has missed six of Norco's 19 games, but has 17 hits, 20 RBIs and is hitting .524 against arguably the best pitching in the country. She has 12 hits and 12 RBIs in Norco's last six games. Norco is 17-2 overall and 12-1 with Hansen, who has signed with Oklahoma. A few more games and she most likely will join the Watch List.
The 2018 MaxPreps National Player of the Year will be named in June. Here's a brief look at the midseason top 20.
MaxPreps National High School Softball Player of the Year Watch List
P — Brooke Vestal, Canyon (New Braunfels, Texas), Sr.
Vestal is 11-1 and has 80 strikeouts in 50 innings with a 0.99 ERA for the No. 2 team in the in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 Softball Rankings. She is batting .509 with five home runs, six doubles, 29 RBIs and has a .877 slugging percentage. Vestal plays first base when not pitching and has committed one error. Her lone loss was 1-0 in which she allowed one base hit. She has signed with Oklahoma.P — Kathryn Sandercock, Bishop O'Connell (Arlington, Va.), Sr.
Despite offseason hip surgery, Sandercock is 9-1 with 105 strikeouts in 60 innings and an 0.93 ERA. She is also hitting .556 with 15 RBIs in 11 games as the Knights are 12-2. A member of the USA Girls Team, Sandercock has signed with Florida State. She led Bishop O'Connell to a 26-0 season as a junior when she struck out 330 batters and pitched eight no-hitters.P — Megan Faraimo, Cathedral Catholic (San Diego), Sr.
Faraimo was the Most Valuable Pitcher of the prestigious Michelle Carew Classic when she led Cathedral Catholic to 5-0 record and tournament title. The UCLA signee is 14-2 with an 0.27 ERA and 208 strikeouts in 102 innings. Both losses were by 1-0 margins. She has walked three batters this season. Faraimo also has a team high 15 RBIs this season.P — Paxton Scheurer, Mansfield (Texas), Sr.
Scheurer is 15-0, has allowed 22 hits, two earned runs, walked 17 and fanned 192 in 94 innings. Her ERA is 0.15 as Mansfield heads into the postseason unbeaten. She is also hitting .453 with seven homers, nine doubles and 47 RBIs. Slugging .933, Scheurer has signed with UNLV.P — Montana Fouts, East Carter (Grayson, Ky.), Sr.
The 6-2 Alabama signee is doing it all for the unbeaten and nationally ranked Raiders. She is 14-0, has yet to allow an earned run and is batting .500 with 19 RBIs. The reigning Kentucky Gatorade Player of the Year has allowed just 14 hits, walked five and struck out 186 in 84 innings. She has five no-hitters and a trio of perfect games. Fouts has also pitched four one-hitters this season.P — Aspen Wesley, Neshoba Central (Philadelphia, Miss.), Jr.
Wesley has been stingy this season allowing 21 base hits and two earned runs in 87 innings in winning 15 games. She has six no-hitters, a one-hitter and a pair of two-hitters while fanning 195 and walking eight for the 25-0 Rockets. Wesley also is hitting .450 with 25 RBIs. A two-time state Gatorade winner, she has committed to Mississippi State.P — Kelly Nelson, Norton (Mass.), Sr.
Nelson is off to another stellar season at 4-0 with a 0.75 ERA. She has 52 strikeouts in four-complete-game wins to give her more than 1,100 strikeouts for her career. She is also batting .333. As a junior, she pitched seven no-hitters and struck out 398 batters in 166 innings. The state 2017 Gatorade winner, Nelson has signed with Massachusetts-Lowell.P — Ashley Rogers, Meigs County (Decatur, Tenn.), Sr.
The only pitcher to shut down hot hitting King's Academy (2-0), Rogers has signed with Tennessee and is the state reigning Gatorade Player of the Year. This season, she has Meigs (22-2) rolling with a 16-1 record, 189 strikeouts in 86 innings to go with a 0.89 ERA. She is also hitting .589 with seven round-trippers, 25 RBIs and is slugging 1.125. She has signed with Tennessee.C — Jordyn Rudd, Center Grove (Greenwood, Ind.), Sr.
In nine games, Rudd has homered five times, driven in 15 runs and has 10 extra base hits as Center Grove is nationally ranked and unbeaten. Rudd, who has signed with Northwestern, had 15 homers, 15 doubles and 58 RBIs in 30 games as a junior.C — Macy Simmons, Hamilton (Chandler, Ariz.), Jr.
Coming up clutch often, Simmons has 26 extra base hits (14 homers), 54 RBIs and is hitting .581 for the highly ranked 26-1 Huskies. She has played errorless ball in 190 chances. Simmons, who has a base hit in all but one game this season and has driven in at least one run in 21 games, has committed to Arizona State.IF — Kasey Flores, Eastlake (El Paso, Texas), Sr.
Flores leads the nation with 26 home runs and 83 RBIs for the 31-4-1 Falcons. Despite being walked 33 times, she has 49 base hits, has driven in a run in 30 games and has homered in 22 games. Signed with UTEP, Flores has a slugging percentage of 1.387.IF — Jayda Coleman, The Colony (Texas), So.
Coleman's sensational freshman year, when she batted .677, was no fluke. Committed to Oklahoma, she is hitting .690 with 60 base hits, 52 runs scored, 40 stolen bases, a .738 on base percentage and has yet to strike out in 103 at bats as the Cougars are 20-6-1. Coleman has a base hit in all but one game this season. During her current 16-game hitting streak, Coleman has 40 base hits.
IF — Joley Mitchell, Rose Bud (Ark.), Jr.
The Missouri commit was no surprise coming into the season, but she has made an impact in every game — 12 with at least one homer, an RBI or a run scored in every game and 13 multi-hit games in her 18-game hit streak as the Ramblers are 18-1. She has 15 homers and 17 stolen bases. She has accounted for 93 runs and is hitting .702 with an on-base percentage of .774. She's leading the nation in slugging at 1.787.IF — Ashley Prange, New Palestine (Ind.), Sr.
The season is young for Prange, but her 21 homers and 67 RBIs in 33 games as a junior and quick start this season warrant attention. In four games, she has 10 hits, scored eight times, driven in 11 and homered twice. She has signed with Ohio State.
IF — Kasey Simpson, Keller (Texas), Sr.
Simpson, who has signed with Iowa State, consistently comes up big in the clutch for 25-1-1 Keller. She has 32 hits, a .492 average, 30 runs scored, six homers and 41 RBIs. In three recent wins, she had 11 RBIs. Keller is ranked No. 5 nationally.OF — Ciara Briggs, Orange Lutheran (Orange, Calif.), Jr.
The Most Valuable Hitter in the Michelle Carew Classic, Briggs is hitting .456 for the Top 10 Lancers and has 21 RBIs and 27 runs in 22 games. She is slugging .882 and has an on-base percentage of .524. She has committed to LSU.OF — Savannah Wysocki, Eastlake (El Paso, Texas), Sr.
Wysocki's numbers are off the charts for the 31-4-1 Falcons. She leads all hitters with 90 base hits and 87 runs scored and is hitting .687 with a .709 on-base percentage. But she also has 11 homers, 13 triples and 15 doubles, 26 stolen bases to go along with 56 RBIs. She has a base hit and has scored a run in 35 games and has 30 multi-hit games. For her four years at East Lake, she is averaging two hits, two runs and an RBI per game. She has signed with Lubbock Christian.
OF — Rachel Hammons, Bourgade Catholic (Phoenix), Sr.
Hammons, who has signed with Grand Valley State, has over 200 hits, 200 runs and 200 stolen bases during her career at Bourgade. A career .725 hitter for the Golden Eagles, Hammons is hitting .756 with 59 hits and 55 runs scored. She also has 14 doubles, nine triples and four homers to go along with an .802 on-base percentage and 1.320 slugging percentage. She also 36 stolen bases this season, and has two or more hits in 17 games this season.UTIL — Vivian Ponn, Fort Myers (Fla.), Jr.
First baseman/pitcher Ponn is hitting .551 and has 13 homers and 42 RBIs in 23 games, despite being walked 13 times. She is slugging 1.217. Ponn has a base hit in all but two games and has homered two times in three different games. She is also 6-1 with a 1.70 ERA and five shutouts. She has committed to Southern Florida.
UTIL — Marissa Schuld, Pinnacle (Phoenix), Sr.
Signed with Arizona, Schuld was the state's Gatorade winner in 2017 and has picked up where she left off. Schuld is hitting .575 with 27 extra base hits (nine doubles, eight triples and 12 home runs) and has drive in 47 while scoring 41. She is slugging .1.275 and is 6-0 in the circle with 72 strikeouts in 36 innings and a 0.19 ERA. She has two no-hitters and opponents are batting just .60 against her.