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The Future Of Washington's Middle Infield Is In Good Hands

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Each program has specific honors. In Seattle, being a part of Washington’s middle infield is one of them.

Sis Bates, Ali Aguilar, Ashley Charters, Sara Pickering and others have all earned All-American honors playing up the middle for the Huskies. Now, Heather Tarr and her staff hope that they have found their next star duo for years to come.

In the Huskies’ 2021 signing class, Washington brought in Rylee Holtorf and Kinsey Fiedler, two of the top four recruits in Softball America’s 2021 Recruiting Rankings. Holtorf and Fiedler are each middle infielders, and both know that it takes special athletes to control the middle of the infield for the Huskies.

“It’s an honor,” Holtorf told Softball America in a phone interview. “I’m so excited to go in and hopefully fill the shoes of Sis Bates, Ali Aguilar and Taylor Van Zee. Hopefully I can grow into the (type of) player that they were. I want to leave an example for younger girls that they left for me. I think that’s such a cool thing to be able to play on the same field and the same spot as those girls.”

“With so many All-Americans in the middle, it’s definitely something you come in knowing and come in to fill some big shoes,” Fiedler said. “It’s why you go there.”

Last Wednesday’s national signing day finished two different recruiting trails for Holtorf and Fiedler. Holtorf had been committed to Washington since eighth grade. She’s helped Sandra Day O’Connor High School to an Arizona state title and aided the Arizona Storm in becoming one of the most talented travel teams in the nation. Putting ink to paper felt “surreal” for her.

Fiedler’s process wasn’t as simple. The product from Lee's Summit North High School in Missouri didn’t commit to Washington until late in 2019. Originally a Missouri pledge, Fiedler wanted a feeling of home from the program she ended up at.

“I wanted to choose somewhere that felt like home,” Fiedler said. “Being previously committed to (Missouri), I wanted that hometown feel. I knew that if I was going to be that far from home in Seattle that it had to feel like it was going to be home. The girls, the coaches made me part of the family. That’s what set them apart for me.”

The pair of future Huskies have talked a lot in the short time they’ve been committed to the same school.

“Kinsley and I talked a bit in the beginning of her process because hers was different than mine,” Holtorf said. “With her more recently committing to (Washington), going through her process I was just like, ‘This would be so fun, it’d be so cool for us.’ But now, (she) and I are excited to get there and hopefully work to earn our spots.”

To land two of the top recruits in one class takes a special staff. Softball fans know the culture that Tarr has established in Seattle and the words that come from players who have yet to play a game for her speak to that.

“They’re very welcoming and such great coaches because they are tough on you, but it’s tough love,” Fiedler said. “They want you to be the best that you can be. They’re going to push you when they know you need to be pushed.”

Tarr had this to say about her two top recruits coming in:

"Rylee is going to come in and make a huge impact in our infield," Tarr said in a statement. "She is a right-handed power bat who brings energy to a program like ours that she's grown up watching.

"Kinsey is a very exciting middle infielder with speed, a very fun player to watch. When I watch her, she is a competitor, she wants to win, she wants her team to win. She will find any way possible to get energy to the dugout and get people behind her."

Even with Sis Bates and Taryn Atlee departing after the 2021 season, it doesn’t seem like Washington’s middle infield will skip a beat.

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