10 College Softball Hitters To Watch In 2022
As we approach the 2022 college softball season, hot hitters all around the country are preparing to light it up on the diamond this spring.
Below, we name 10 hitters to watch in 2022. The players chosen for this list are those who proved in seasons past how dominant they can be, and we believe this year could be the most memorable one yet for them at the plate.
It all starts with the reigning National Player of the Year, Jocelyn Alo, who had an otherworldly season last year for Oklahoma. Alo hit 34 home runs in 2021 to lead the country. The Sooner standout also ranked in the top 10 in the nation in several offensive categories, including batting average, slugging percentage, on-base percentage and hits. The returning first-team All-American is well on her way to breaking the current all-time home run record.
A freshman year for the ages. That is the way Tiare Jennings’ rookie campaign could be described. Jennings was last season’s National Freshman of the Year, and had an unheard of debut campaign that included nation leading numbers in doubles with 25 and RBI with 90. Let's not forget to mention that the exceptional freshman was second in the country with 27 home runs behind Alo.
Notre Dame returns its best hitter from last season in Abby Sweet. The All-American led the Irish with a batting average of .445, recording 65 hits that included 18 doubles. The Irish were one win away from reaching their first-ever super regional, and Notre Dame has the same opportunities this year with the return of Sweet to the Irish lineup.
After having her opening season cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic, Valerie Cagle showed the country that she can do it not only from the circle, but also at the plate. Cagle had a freshman campaign at Clemson that included 17 home runs and a batting average of .404, while also picking up 28 victories in the circle, making the dual threat All-American one of the most exciting players in the country to watch this season.
Kayla Kowalik had a season to remember in 2021. Kowalik led the country with a .495 batting average, while also becoming the only player to record 100 hits last year. Kowalik was a hitter to watch because she had the speed to bunt and steal bases, while also having the power to hit 12 home runs. This season, she hopes to help the Wildcats advance to their first Women’s College World Series since 2014.
Addison Barnard from Wichita State had a debut season for the ages herself. The Shocker recorded 22 home runs in her first year of college softball. She set new single-season records for home runs and RBI as a freshman. With a year's worth of experiences now under her belt, expect to see Barnard continue to set more records in 2022.
Charla Echols, who is one of the toughest hitters to strike out in all of college softball, returns for another year at Florida. The Gator struck out just three times all season in 160 plate appearances. An All-American last year, Echols blasted 15 home runs and had a .375 batting average. She also led her team in RBI and home runs and is set for another terrific season in 2022.
The reigning Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and last year's Pac-12 Batting Champion, Janelle Meoño is back at Arizona this year. The Wildcat was exceptional at the plate, racking up 73 hits and a .439 batting average. The returning All-American had a ridiculous hitting streak that lasted almost two months, and is now looking to lead a new-look Wildcat team in 2022.
Baylee Klingler returns to Washington as one of the best all-around players in college softball this year. Last season, she became the first Husky softball player since 2017 to record 50+ RBI and 50+ runs scored. Not to mention, she went yard 16 times. With a batting average over .400 the last two seasons, expect Klingler to step up as Washington’s top hitter in 2022.
Haley Lee is back for more home runs at Texas A&M this college softball season. The Aggie standout was one of the best home run hitters in the country, sending 25 balls over the fence last year with a .422 batting average.