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Under-The-Radar ACC Newcomers To Watch In 2023

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(Photo by NC State Athletics)

The ACC will feature many of college softball's future stars once again in 2023.

With fall games beginning around the country and players from the college class of 2026 getting their first action in a collegiate setting, we took a look at some under-the-radar freshmen across the conference. From dominant pitchers to difference-makers behind the plate and big bats across the board, the ACC has some quietly dangerous softball student-athletes who we believe will make an immediate impact on their respective teams this spring.

See below for a few under-the-radar newcomers to watch in the ACC in 2023.

Marena Knowles

Clemson

The Tigers burst onto the scene in the ACC, winning their first regular-season championship in their second season—and first full one—in the conference.

Adding Knowles to the mix for 2023 provides another jolt to an already dynamic lineup of big bats. The first baseman and outfielder was a Georgia All-State selection all four years of high school and led her team to four straight state championships. Her junior year demonstrates the raw skill Knowles has, as she finished the season with a .598 batting average and 1.184 slugging percentage, while hitting 11 home runs and driving in 67 runs.

Clemson signed someone who’s been at the top of her game since the beginning of her high school career. Knowles appears to be another prominent asset in the arsenal of Clemson head coach John Rittman.

Amanda Hasler

NC State

In her fourth season at the helm for the Wolfpack, Jennifer Patrick-Swift brought in what’s nationally recognized as one of the best recruiting classes in the country. The group is headlined by Hasler, who carried a huge bat in high school en route to being named First-Team All-State in Connecticut.

She finished her senior year at Avon High School with a batting average of .686 and an OBP of .776. Her presence should help improve NC State’s team batting average that fell to .268 last season.

Hasler also drove in 48 runs, garnering as many hits while scoring 52 runs. The catcher will be a tremendous addition to the Wolfpack, who sat in the middle of the pack in the conference in hits, runs and RBIs in 2022.

Makenna Reid

Florida State

Reid joins one of the top pitching staffs in the country at Florida State. Led by Kathryn Sandercock, FSU is coming off a season in which it combined to have a staff ERA of 2.07. And Lonni Alameda added Reid to bolster an already menacing staff.

As a high school senior, Reid went 27-2 and threw 199 innings with 21 shutouts and three perfect games, so she’s no stranger to pitching deep into games during long seasons. She gives the Seminoles a great option whenever Alameda sees fit.

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