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Big hitters and hard-throwing pitchers highlight the 2016 MaxPreps National Softball Player of the Year Watch List.
The list includes 14 seniors and one sophomore. Some have completed their seasons, while others are heading to the postseason. MaxPreps will name a National Player of the Year at the end of June.
MaxPreps National Softball Player of the Year Watch ListBradie Fillmore, Eagle (Idaho)
Entering the state tournament, the future Cal Bear has an ERA of 0.51 in 58 innings, striking out 132 batters and walking 12. She is 12-0 with five no-hitters. Fillmore, who was named the MaxPreps National Junior POY in 2015 after leading Eagle to the Idaho 5A state title and a 30-1 record, is hitting .676, with 53 RBIs, 42 runs, 11 doubles, 13 homers, a 1.412 slugging percentage, 2.136 OPS and .725 on-base percentage. As a result, Eagle is 26-0 and ranked No. 1 nationally in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 National Softball Rankings presented by the Army National Guard. Fillmore also was Idaho's Gatorade State POY in 2015.Nicky Dawson, Parkview Baptist (Baton Rouge, La.)
Despite battling achilles and hamstring injuries late in the season, Dawson was as awesome as advertised. In leading her team to the state semifinals (27-9), Dawson batted .658, slugged 1.072 and got on base almost 75 percent of the time. She had 15 doubles, eight triples, five homers, drove in 35 and scored 75 runs. The LSU signee was a perfect 58-for-58 in stolen bases and walked 35 times (12 intentionally). She set national records for career triples (49), runs scored (291) and has 324 stolen bases. Named the State Softball Player of the Year, Dawson is also the LHSAA Division 2 60-meter sprint champion.
Melanie Olmos, Grand Terrace (Calif.)
The Oklahoma signee has led Grand Terrace to the No. 2 spot in the Xcellent 25. She is 12-1 with a 0.30 ERA and has 119 strikeouts in 69 innings. She has allowed just two earned runs and only 18 base hits. Her lone defeat was 1-0 and the run was unearned. She has allowed just four extra base hits in 2016, and Olmos is also batting .411 and has driven in 17 runs.Ashlee Swindle, Curry (Jasper, Ala.)
Swindle is doing it all for Curry. She is 41-2 with a 0.62 ERA and has 357 strikeouts in 236 innings. She has won her last 16 starts, eight via shutout, and she has 21 shutouts on the season. Her two losses were against state-ranked teams that have a combined 69-24 won-loss record. Offensively, Swindle is hitting .550 with a team-leading 76 RBIs, 12 doubles and 12 home runs. She is slugging .922. The Auburn signee has won 84 games with 684 strikeouts over the last two seasons.Missy Zoch, La Grange (Texas)
Zoch, who has a high school career record of 85-4, is 27-2 with a 0.51 ERA and 286 strikeouts in 178 innings as La Grange is 35-2 on the season. She has pitched four no-hitters, six one-hitters and 14 shutouts this season. The DePaul signee is also hitting .310 with 27 RBIs.Autumn Humes, Bald Knob (Ark.)
After going 25-1 and winning the Gatorade State POY award in 2015, Humes is better than ever as Bald Knob plays in the state 3A title game on Saturday. She is 29-0 with a 0.35 ERA and has 283 strikeouts in 178 innings. She has pitched three no-hitters (including one in a state semifinal), eight one-hitters and 18 shutouts this season. Humes, who has signed with Harding, is also batting .523 with 11 homers, 16 doubles and 54 RBIs. She has 21 RBIs and 20 base hits in nine postseason games.Maggie Balint, Avon Grove (West Grove, Pa.)
The two-time state MVP is 18-2 with a 0.56 ERA. She has 271 strikeouts in 137 innings and has pitched five no-hitters and eight one-hitters. She has double-digit strikeouts in all but two games this season and fanned 15 or more in a game 10 times. Opponents are batting .083 against Balint. The future Oregon Duck is also batting .441 with five home runs, 14 doubles and 13 RBIs. She was Pennsylvania's Gatorade POY in 2015.Miranda Elish, Crown Point (Ind.)
Opponents are batting .093 against Elish, who has 135 strikeouts in 68 innings to go along with her 10-1 record and 0.51 ERA. She has allowed just 19 hits and walked only six as Crown Point is 20-1 on the season and ranked No. 3 nationally. The Oregon signee is batting .493 with 19 extra-base hits (including 14 doubles and five home runs) and has driven in 18 RBIs. Indiana's 2015 Gatorade POY has a base hit in all but one game this season.Katie Chronister, Gainesville (Fla.)
The future Florida Gator led Gainesville to a 28-2 season and the state 7A championship. She pitched 12 shutouts and struck out 273 in 186 innings. She was 28-2 with both of her losses by one run. She also batted a team-high .457 and drove in 29 RBIs. In the 7A title game, she pitched a four-hitter and had three hits, scoring the game's lone run. She was named the Florida Dairy Farmers 7A Player of the Year.Caroline Hedgcock, Downers Grove South (Ill.)
Even though she's not 100 percent recovered from a hip injury, Hedgcock is having another banner year. Her pitching has been limited by the injury but she is 7-0 with a 0.49 ERA, 74 strikeouts in 43 innings and is hitting .563 with 18 home runs (four off the Illinois state record), 53 RBIs and 42 runs. She has 45 hits in 26 games as her team is 26-3 and owns wins over two Top 25 teams. The future Arkansas Razorback is hitting .625 with runners in scoring position and has beaten both nationally ranked Crown Point and Florida 7A champion Gainesville. She has homered off Miranda Elish.Madilyn Nickles, Merced (Calif.)
A member of Team USA's Junior Women nine, Nickles has signed with UCLA. Playing on a young team, she has led Merced to a 19-5 record and is responsible for 54 of the teams 135 runs. She is hitting .562 with team highs in runs (28), hits (41), RBIs (26), doubles (15), triples (3) and home runs (8). She has a slugging percentage of 1.178 and an on-base percentage of .632. The team batting average is .292. In the circle, she is 17-4 with an 0.57 ERA and 282 strikeouts in 146 innings. She has allowed just one home run. Entering the playoffs, she has pitched three no-hitters, two one-hitters and four two-hitters and on 18 occasions had double-digit strikeouts in a game with a high of 18. Payton McBride, Deer Park (Texas)
The Texas A&M signee was named 6A District 21 MVP in leading Deer Park to a 34-4 season and a national ranking most of the season. She had 50 base hits, 16 doubles, four homers and 41 RBIs. She also walked 30 times and batted .579 with an .872 slugging percentage. She batted .579 with runners in scoring position and had 15 two-out RBIs. In the circle, she was 17-4 with four saves, a 1.78 ERA and had 138 strikeouts in 126 innings.Megan Stevens, Etiwanda (Calif.)
The Grand Canyon University signee enters the playoffs with a .619 batting average, 60 hits, 47 RBIs and 17 home runs (two behind POY nominee and teammate Vanessa Taukeiaho). Stevens has an on-base percentage of .648 and is slugging 1.268. As a team, Etiwanda has 62 homers - just nine off the national high school record. She has scored 52 runs and is also 6-1 with a 1.25 ERA. Etiwanda has been ranked in the Xcellent 25 most of the season.Vanessa Taukeiaho, Etiwanda (Calif.)
Taukeiaho leads California with 19 home runs and is hitting .639 as the playoffs begin. She also has 15 doubles, 54 RBIs, scored 53 times and 62 base hits. She is slugging 1.422 and has an OPS of 2.116. Taukeiaho has signed with Oklahoma. Montana Fouts, East Carter (Grayson, Ky.)
The lone underclassman on the 2016 POY Watch List, Fouts leads the nation with a dozen no-hitters and has East Carter off to a 28-0 start and a national ranking. Fouts, a 6-foot-1 sophomore, is 24-0 with 353 strikeouts in 156 innings and has allowed just 17 base hits this season (the most she has allowed in any one game is three). Opponents are hitting .031 against her and have only two extra-base hits. Her ERA is 0.08. A varsity starter since seventh grade, Fouts has 19 shutouts (she has 10 in her last 11 games) and four seven-inning games with 20 or more strikeouts. Committed to Alabama, Fouts is also batting .493 with 17 extra-base hits and 36 RBIs.