Top ACC Newcomers To Watch In 2022
The ACC is once again loaded with newcomer talent this year. Many of college softball's future stars will make their debuts in the ACC in 2022 and have the potential to lead their teams to deep runs in the postseason and success at the Women's College World Series for several years to come.
See below for the top newcomers to watch in the ACC this spring.
As the only New Yorker in Softball America’s 2021 Top 100 Recruiting Rankings, Shannon Becker has been one of the top young players not only in the Northeast, but also in the whole country, for the past several years. Becker committed to Notre Dame in the fall of her junior year and is hoping to bring her dominance in the circle from high school to the Fighting Irish.
A two-time New York Gatorade Player of the Year, Becker was virtually unbeatable for Mahopac High School. During her junior year, she gained a lot of attention after throwing a "perfect" perfect game, striking out 21 of the 21 batters she faced. In her senior season, she held a perfect 0.00 ERA the entire season, with 286 strikeouts in 139 innings pitched. She contributed to her team's success offensively too, batting .470.
Becker’s success in high school will likely land her a crucial spot in Coach Deanna Gumpf’s pitching rotation this season. Even being from a small town in New York, Becker’s experiences playing for a top EC Bullets team have prepared her for the big role she is going to play for the Fighting Irish this season.
Coming in at No. 15 in Softball America’s 2021 Top 100 Recruiting Rankings, Brooke Blankenship will be staying in her home state as she begins her career as a Florida State Seminole. The shortstop, who committed to Florida State when she was in eighth grade, has been a Seminole fan her whole life.
A varsity player since she was in seventh grade, Blankenship excelled during her high school years, graduating from River Ridge High School and playing for the Tampa Mustangs. Blankenship finished her six-year high school softball career with a .473 average, .572 on-base percentage, 162 runs scored and 32 stolen bases.
With a strong freshman class, it is likely that newcomers such as Blankenship will help the Seminoles make another deep postseason run in 2022.
Joining Blankenship at Florida State is another Floridian, Krystina Hartley, an infielder who was ranked No. 36 in Softball America’s 2021 Top 100 Recruiting Rankings. Hartley, who played on the same Tampa Mustangs team as Blankenship, was committed to Florida State as a ninth grader. As one of five first-year Floridians, Hartley will get the chance to represent her home state for the next four years.
A two-time Class 2A Florida Player of the Year, Hartley had a ton of success in her prep days. She was a member of her high school’s varsity softball team since the seventh grade, and especially excelled during her sophomore season when she batted .469 with a .573 on-base percentage as well as 27 stolen bases. Hartley also helped lead her Tampa Mustangs team to a 16U national championship in 2018.
As a former PGF national champion, Hartley knows what that championship feeling is like, which is exactly what she wants to feel in Tallahassee.
As the highest ranked ACC-bound player in Softball America’s 2021 Top 100 Recruiting Rankings, there is a lot of excitement for Brooke McCubbin as she enters her freshman year at Clemson. The pitcher chose to play for Coach John Rittman in the fall of her junior year.
Named Georgia’s 2019-2020 Gatorade Player of the Year, McCubbin helped lead Locust Grove High School to a class 5A state championship that year. As a junior, McCubbin compiled a 23-1 record in the circle, including a 0.65 ERA and 178 strikeouts on the season. McCubbin was also a star in the batter’s box, hitting .412 with 12 home runs and 50 RBI.
McCubbin will be a crucial addition to Clemson’s pitching staff, which will allow the Tigers to build on last season’s record-breaking success.
Ranked No. 25 in Softball America’s 2021 Top 100 Recruiting Rankings, there is a lot of excitement surrounding Brianna Peck at Virginia Tech. Peck, who originally committed to Drexel, switched her commitment to Virginia Tech, where she has the potential to be a crucial contributor in 2022.
As the Pennsylvania Gatorade Player of the Year in 2019, Peck was unstoppable on Spring-Ford High School’s mound, leading her team to a 16-1 record. Since then, Peck has spent most of her time at shortstop, where she continues to dominate. As a consistent threat at the plate for both her high school and PA Strikers teams, Peck will bring a big bat to the Virginia Tech lineup.
The Hokies are coming off a record-breaking season, reaching their second-ever super regional in 2021.