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Five College Softball Freshmen To Watch In 2023

kierston deal oklahoma.jpg
(Photo from Kierston Deal's Twitter)

All around the country, college softball's newest stars are waiting in the wings to have a chance to make their names known this spring.

In our opinion, the current freshman class of college softballers is a really strong one, and we expect the next generation of college softball to include some of the best and brightest talents the game has ever seen. That means great things are ahead in college softball, and we anticipate that the names below will have a lot to do with the growth of the game in the coming years.

See below for five freshmen in college softball to watch in 2023 and beyond.

Kierston Deal

Deal is a left-handed pitcher for Oklahoma. She was originally committed to the University of South Carolina, but decided to decommit during her recruiting process. Deal had a very successful high school and travel ball career. She was named the Gatorade North Carolina Softball Player of the Year as a senior after posting a 23-3 record with a 0.79 ERA and 305 strikeouts in 150.1 innings pitched.

Taylor Tinsley

Tinsley is a right-handed pitcher and utility player for UCLA. From Lawrenceville, Ga., Tinsley may be the best freshman pitcher to watch in the upcoming season. A two-time Walton Tribune Athlete of the Year and four-time First-Team All-County Dugout Club Player of the Year, Tinsley is the total package. In high school, she had 842 strikeouts in 449 innings pitched.

Aminah Vega

Vega is an infielder for Duke. She is the highest-ranked recruit Duke has gotten in its program history. Vega has smooth hands, is very quick and has an impressive softball IQ. About Vega, Duke head coach Marissa Young said, "She is a coach among her peers, a student of the game, always looking to better herself and those around her. Aminah is one of the best leadoff hitters with her high on-base percentage and ability to hit for power to all fields."

Jocelyn Erickson

Erickson is a catcher and first baseman for Oklahoma. About Erickson, Sooners head coach Patty Gasso said, "She can do special things for us." Erickson is going to help an already dominant lineup at Oklahoma. She led the state of Arizona with 25 home runs and batted .624 with 58 RBIs during her senior season at Sandra Day O'Connor High School. Erickson was also named the Gatorade Arizona Softball Player of the Year.

Atalyia Rijo

Rijo is a middle infielder for Arkansas. About Rijo, Razorbacks head coach Courtney Deifel said, “Atalyia is a middle infielder with some of the best hands in the game. She is a lefty hitter that swings a big bat, she has game savviness and competitiveness that make her one of the best players in the 2022 class.” During her high school career, which began when she was in eighth grade, Rijo was named a First-Team All-State selection and a two-time Class AA All-Star.

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