Ranking the 10 best college softball players in Oklahoma

Ranking the 10 best college softball players in Oklahoma

In honor of OU and OSU opening their seasons Thursday here is my ranking best college softball players playing in the state of Oklahoma this spring.

Jenni Carlson

By Jenni Carlson

| Feb 5, 2024, 3:00pm CST

Jenni Carlson

By Jenni Carlson

Feb 5, 2024, 3:00pm CST

The big week is almost here — the start of the college softball season.

What? You thought we were talking about the Super Bowl.

Pffft.

Oh, I guess that’s a pretty big deal, too, but around these parts, the college softball season is serious business, too. The sport has become the second biggest sport in the state of Oklahoma behind only college football, although the surging Thunder are, well, surging in the hearts of Oklahomans.

But still, college softball is a huge passion here. From the Sooners and the Cowgirls to the Women’s College World Series, people dive head-first into the sport.

And in honor of OU and OSU opening their seasons in less than a week — Thursday is the big day! — there’s nothing better during the preseason than a ranking. So, here are the top 10 college softball players playing in the state of Oklahoma this spring

10. Terin Ritz, Central Oklahoma: What, you thought this list was going to be all Sooners and Cowgirls? This state has some of the best small-college programs in the country, and Ritz is the current flag bearer for the smaller schools. The pitcher/first baseman is one of UCO’s three returning Division II All-Americans. She went 27-3 in the circle and hit .356 at the plate a year ago.

9. Micaela Wark, OSU: As a redshirt freshman on a veteran-rich squad last season, Wark became the Cowgirls’ starting first baseman. She also hit .314 with 10 home runs and 51 runs batted in. Her homers ranked third on the team, her .541 slugging percentage fourth.

 

Oklahoma State's Tallen Edwards (44) drives in a run on a double in the fourth inning a game between the Oklahoma State Cowgirls (OSU) and the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Stillwater Regional of the NCAA softball tournament in Stillwater, Okla., Sunday, May 21, 2023.

Tallen Edwards (Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman/USA Today Network)

 

8. Tallen Edwards, OSU: After graduating from Southmoore High School a year early, Edwards became the Cowgirls everyday left fielder last season in what should’ve been her senior season of high school. She became a Freshman All-American, hitting .328 and becoming the most difficult hitter for Big 12 pitchers to strike out.

7. Nicole May, OU: The steely righthander went 18-0 with a 0.91 earned run average a year ago, pushing her career record as a Sooner to 48-3. She struck out more than twice as many batters (130) as she allowed hits (60).

6. Lexi Kilfoyl, OSU: The crafty righty went 16-5 with a 1.70 earned run average last season, limiting opponents to a .188 batting average. She was especially good in the Women’s College World Series, giving up just one run in 8 ⅔ innings.

 

Oklahoma's Kelly Maxwell pitches during game 2 of OU softball's Battle Series scrimmage at Marita Hynes field in Norman, Okla., Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023.

Kelly Maxwell (Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman/USA Today Network)

 

5. Kelly Maxwell, OU: The All-American pitcher transferred to OU after a stellar career at OSU. Last season, the lefty struck out 229 batters, best in the Big 12 and second in the nation per seven innings. Opponents only hit .157 against her.

4. Alyssa Brito, OU: A unanimous first-team All-American a year ago, Brito hit .412 with a team-leading 17 home runs and 60 runs batted in. In the WCWS, she hit .417. She also moved from left field to third base and was stellar at the hot corner.

3. Kinzie Hansen, OU: A first-team All-American last season who won the Johnny Bench Award as the best catcher in college softball, Hansen hit .409 with 13 home runs. Her most notable bomb: a three-run, seventh-inning shot with two on, two out and two strikes in the second game of OU’s Super Regional against Clemson.

2. Tiare Jennings, OU: Arguably the best infielder in college softball when you combine offense and defense. The second baseman had just one error a season ago while leading the Sooners in batting average (.415), hits (76), runs batted in (66) and homers (17). Her clutch genes are big, too. In addition to her game-winning homer in that epic Super Regional battle with Clemson, she also holds the WCWS record for career RBIs with 29.

 

Oklahoma outfielder Jayda Coleman (24) makes a jumping catch over the wall in center field in the third inning during the second game of the Women's College World Series finals between Oklahoma (OU) and Florida State at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City on Thursday, June 8, 2023.

Jayda Coleman (Nathan J. Fish/The Oklahoman/USA Today Network)

 

1. Jayda Coleman, OU: Arguably the best outfielder in college softball when you combine offense and defense. Who could forget the centerfielder’s wall-climbing, home-run-denying catches in the Women’s College World Series? Always a good hitter, Coleman added power to her game a year ago. She hit a team-high 17 homers while also hitting .408 and leading the team in runs (71), walks (41) and stolen bases (16).

 

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Jenni Carlson is a columnist with the Sellout Crowd network. Follow her on Twitter at @JenniCarlson_OK. Email [email protected].

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