Five Of The Best WCWS Most Outstanding Players In History
Each year at the Women’s College World Series, a Most Outstanding Player is named for her extraordinary performance at The Greatest Show On Dirt.
The list of award winners, dating back to 1995, includes some very special players in the history of college softball.
Below is a look at five former college softball stars who won the award in recent history, and then went on to have successful careers beyond their collegiate playing days.
Megan Langenfeld, 2010
Langenfeld was the MOP of the 2010 WCWS as a pitcher for UCLA. The then-senior was crucial to the Bruins' success. During their championship run that ended with a victory over Arizona, Langenfeld went 12-for-17 (.706) at the plate, which is the second-best average in WCWS history. Langenfeld showed major power with her bat, setting a record with her 1.529 OPS. Meanwhile, as a pitcher, she went an undefeated 3-0 with 24.2 innings pitched and 17 strikeouts. In Game 1 of the WCWS championship series, Langenfeld homered twice, including a walk-off long ball. In Game 2, the 2010 Pac-10 Player of the Year homered again to help secure the championship for UCLA.
Since leaving UCLA, Langenfeld coached at five programs, including her alma mater, where she was an undergraduate assistant in 2011. Langenfeld later coached at Arkansas, Stanford, UC Riverside and most recently at Oregon, where she was an assistant. She spent three years with the Ducks from 2019-2021 and helped lead Oregon's pitching staff.
Keilani Ricketts, 2013
Ricketts was the MOP of the 2013 WCWS as a pitcher for Oklahoma. The then-senior was monumental in the Sooners’ championship victory over Tennessee. In Game 2 of the WCWS championship series, Ricketts drove in all four of the Sooners' runs and also hit her 50th career home run. During the 2013 season, Ricketts threw six no hitters and went a mighty 27-1, at the time, a top NCAA record for a single season, all while pitching to a 1.10 ERA.
Ricketts then went on to play professionally for the USSSA Pride from 2013-2018. Across six seasons in National Pro Fastpitch (NPF), Rickets had a 2.10 ERA and struck out 405 batters in 393.2 innings pitched. In 2019 at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, she helped the United States win a gold medal. She now competes professionally in Women's Professional Fastpitch (WPF).
Paige Parker, 2016
Parker was the MOP of the 2016 WCWS as a pitcher for Oklahoma. The then-sophomore led the country with 38 wins and was second in the nation in shutouts with 14 in 2016. That year, Parker helped the Sooners to the national title by pitching seven innings of one-run ball to top Auburn. During her collegiate career, she pitched to a 1.41 ERA and accumulated 968 strikeouts in 867.1 innings pitched.
After Oklahoma, Parker moved on to play for the USSSA Pride, by whom she was drafted sixth overall in 2018. After playing one year professionally, Parker turned to the coaching side where she has coached for four programs, and is currently an assistant for Utah. Parker works closely with the Utes' pitchers, using her expertise as a two-time national champion.
Shay Knighten, 2017
Knighten was the MOP of the 2017 WCWS and played first base for Oklahoma. The then-sophomore was one of the most productive hitters in Oklahoma City, and had a career-best 12-game hitting streak through every game of that stretch in 2017. On the way to the championship, Knighten hit .350 with eight RBIs, including a go-ahead three-run home run in the 17th inning of Game 1 of the WCWS championship series. Then, in Game 2, Knighten smashed a go-ahead three-run double.
Knighten also played professionally with the USSSA Pride and helped the team to a title with a 2-for-3, three-RBI effort in the Cowles Cup championship game. She coached one season at Oklahoma before taking a position with the University of San Diego, where her sister, MJ, is the head coach. At San Diego, Knighten is an assistant coach and works with infielders and hitters, while also managing recruiting, scheduling and fundraising.
Rachel Garcia, 2019
Garcia was the MOP of the 2019 WCWS as a pitcher for UCLA. She not only performed well in the WCWS championship series, but was also lights-out in the semifinals. Against Washington in the semis, Garcia fired 10 shutout innings with 16 strikeouts, and then proceeded to hit a walk-off three-run home run to advance the Bruins to the finals. In Game 1 of the championship series, she launched another home run.
While in college, Garcia represented Team USA and then won a silver medal at the 2020 Summer Olympics. Garcia also went on to coach college softball, starting out at San Diego State and then moving to UC San Diego, where she is currently the pitching coach.