Season Preview: College Softball


Design by Elisabeth Lee

These top 3 teams are the most anticipated teams to watch this 2023 college season. Current players like Kelly Maxwell (OSU), Maya Brady (UCLA), Joclyn Alo (OU), and Rachel Garcia (UCLA) are ready to show off their talents with their teams during the season.

Trina Lizama, Staff Writer

College softball is one of the highest watched college sports. Softball and baseball have almost the same amount of viewers for their world series games but with softball exceeding baseball by 300k. One of the many reasons people watch college level softball is because of the intensity of the game and the energy the players bring, with there being many divisions to play at the collegiate level, such as D1, D2, D3, NAIA and NJCAA. 

Viewers mainly watch Division 1 sports because of the competitiveness in the game. Throughout the years of college softball, many teams have been up and down record wise. For the 2023 season, the rankings of the division 1 schools have been released. These rankings are their preseason ranks and can be compared to how they’ve done past years. 

Ranked #3 in preseason is OSU, Oklahoma State. They have been climbing the ranks every year and were close to going into the World Series last year with the team dominating with pitchers and a few standing out such as Kelly Maxwell and transfer Lexi Kilfoyl. Both of these pitchers have been outstanding on the mound and both have outstanding ERA’s. Head coach, Kenny Gajewski, has been coaching the softball program since 2015. Since coaching, he has given the team a new environment and created an energy that teams have thrived on through the years. OSU, Ohio State University, has had 15 All-Americans, 29 All-Region honorees, two Big 12 Players of the Year, two Big 12 Pitchers of the Year and 33 All-Big 12 performers. 

Ranked #2 in the preseason is UCLA, University of California, Los Angeles. The Bruins have always had a big name to keep up with. As previous years have shown, this softball program has had a legacy of big name athletes and hall of fame inductions. Since 2007, Kelly Inouye-Perez has had 15 All-Americans, 29 All-Region honorees, two Big 12 Players of the Year, two Big 12 Pitchers of the Year and 33 All-Big 12 performers. UCLA also has the most former players to be on the Olympic roster in 2020.

In the #1 spot is Oklahoma, who are back to back Women’s College World Series champions. OU had an amazing 2022 season and won the Series. With their redshirt senior, Joclyn Alo, being a big part of last year’s win and successes. Their softball program has been led by Patty Gasso for the past 28 years. She has 70 All-Americans, 157 All-Region honors and 116 first-team all-conference selections. With the unanimous decision in being #1 for the preseason, this gives every college they play against a run for their money.

The preseason standings have people predicting how the 2023 season will go. Many of which think someone in the top 3 will win it all. With those top 3 teams having an overall outstanding softball program, it is just a matter of watching these teams execute their talents. 

“I like how [these teams] are competitive,” sophomore Briauna Lakin said. “I think it will either be down to Oklahoma or UCLA, maybe even Texas. I think UCLA can win it all again!”

With millions watching college softball nationwide, many people have their own favorite teams. Whether it be going out to see the games in person or watching them at home, there is a different vibe watching these games.

“The intensity and strategy that coaches use,” softball coach Mrs. Campbell said. “It’s a little different per level. That whole idea of out matching your opponent [is great].”

Watching college softball can lead to having favorite players on different teams. There have been so many standout players the past few years, many of which have gone professional. 

“My favorite player was Alexis Bennett,” junior Lily Castro said. “She really inspired me to work harder so she stands out to me.”