Top 10 Senior Softball Players in the Nation

Hot 100 UPDATED 2015′s… #10-1 (10/31)

We conclude our look at the UPDATED top 100 players in the 2015 class after spotlighting 10 each day on the countdown from 100 to No. 1.  These seniors were chosen based on input and feedback from college and club coaches in the spring and summer following our initial 2015 Hot 100 posted in January, 2014.

Criteria for choosing and ranking the players including performances at the club and high school levels and projecting how they will play at the collegiate level.

Today we feature players No. 10 to No. 1 with standout players from California (7), Florida, Georgia and Ohio.

Click here to see Hot 100 2015′s #100-91#90-81#80-71#70-61#60-51#50-41#40-31#30-21#20-11

No. Player Position Club College
10 Paige Halstead
#10 - Paige Halstead
UT/C/SS Explosion – Denio UCLA
Paige looks and plays like a college athlete right now. Over the last six months she’s gotten bigger, stronger and faster aem athlete logo smallnd at 6-foot-1 she is amazingly athletic and skilled behind the plate, at shortstop and even outfield if needed. She’s a lefty power hitter who also hits for average. Last spring she batted .500 with a .568 on-base percentage, a .947 slugging percentage, 30 RBI and six home runs to earn 2nd Team Full Count Softball All-American honors. Paige has gotten more vocal as a leader and her defensive skills, including a cannon for an arm, are outstanding. UCLA’s biggest challenge could be deciding where to play her. Her work ethic and training intensity, including regular sessions at EM Speed and Power Training in Southern California which her father, Ed, started, is unmatched.
9 Kenzi Maguire
#9 - Kenzi Maguire
SS Team North Florida South Carolina
Kenzi is not your prototypical leadoff player as she’s a right-hander who’s not a slapper and her high school stats in 2014 were more typical of a 3 and 4-hole power hitter: 45 RBI, 15 doubles, seven home runs and an outstanding 1.216 slugging percentage. But she is very adept at getting on base — as she batted .589 with an on-base percentage of .650 — and coming around to score as she touched the plate 52 times. Her approach is to attack the pitch and she rarely gets fooled. The Tampa Player of the Year is equally talented at shortstop where she has great range, excellent footwork and a quick release in getting the ball out. Some coaches, in fact, feel she may be the top defensive shortstop in the country.
8 Morganne Flores
#8 - Morganne Flores
C OC Batbusters – Haning/Stith Washington
Morganne has always been one of the best defensive catchers in the country with an arm that makes it foolish for runners toem athlete logo small try and challenge her, but coaches are now saying her hitting abilities have exploded over the past year to make her one of the most elite batters as well. Morganne suffered a wrist injury her sophomore year that cost her two months, but came back strong to earn 1st Team All-Orange County honors as she hit .500 with 25 RBI in only 13 games. She has continued the improvement to where she’s now a .400-plus hitter with home run power. At the PGF Nationals this summer, the So Cal catcher led the OC Batbusters with a .500 batting average that included two home runs (both off Top 10 pitchers: Taran Alvelo and Kelly Barnhill) and five RBI. Catching six of the seven games, she was flawless on defense.
7 Brooke Vines
#7 - Brooke Vines
OF So Cal Athletics – Richardson Tennessee
Brooke is instant offense and few, if anyone, can beat you in as many ways as she can. She is one of the best athletes in the 2015 class and has great bat control to place the ball as a lefty slapper. Once on base, she has impeccable instincts and skills and frequently turns a slap hit up the middle into a run by swiping bases to put herself in scoring position. She is the ideal table-setter in that she can manufacture a walk and will rarely strikeout. Brooke has become a team leader on the So Cal A’s which she has led to two PGF National Championships. Although the A’s fell short in 2014, finishing third, Brooke did her part by going 16-for-32 at the plate for a stellar .500 average. For all her offensive skills, she’s also a great outfielder with good instincts and fundamentals that give her the versatility to play any of the three positions.
6 Taryn Alvelo
#6 - Taryn Alvelo
P Beverly Bandits Washington
Taran is one of the most feared pitchers in the country, throwing heat in the high 60’s, and is so advanced that she was invited to the USA Jr. Women’s Team tryout in January, one of only four high schoolers in the 22 player field so far. She was also a 1st Team Full Count Softball All-American after a 25-3 record with a 0.52 ERA and 380 strikeouts this past season. Taran led her high school team to the Ohio Div. III title game where she pitched 13 2/3 innings of no-hit ball and fired 24 strikeouts but lost on an unearned run. That came on the heels of a no-hitter in the semis where she had 17K’s. A workhorse who carries a team, she helped one Bandits club team to a high finish at ASA Gold Nationals this summer and then traveled to California and went 4-0 with a 0.48 ERA to help the Bandits Gold team finish tied for third.
5 Marshaylee Knighten
#5 - Marshaylee Knighten
SS Corona Angels Oklahoma
Marshaylee, nicknamed “Shay,” is a fiery, passionate leader who lifts a team up with her play and example. She comes from em athlete logo smallan athletic family as older sister Marjani is now playing with Nebraska. Shay was one of the key leaders on the Angels team that won big tournaments over the summer including the Boulder Independence Day Tournament and the TC/USA Nationals in Georgia along with a 2nd place finish at PGF Nationals where she hit .333 and had an on-base percentage of .500. Shay elevates her game when it counts the most and has great hand-eye coordination, bat control and bat speed. She’s a .500 hitter in high school but also has great pop in the bat and can unleash a home run at any time. Defensively, she has great range and arm strength too.
4 Sydney Romero
#4 - Sydney Romero
SS OC Batbusters – Haning/Stith Oklahoma
Sydney is the younger sister of Michigan star Sierra Romero and is blazing her own path due to her fantastic all-around em athlete logo smallgame. She was a 2nd Team Full Count Softball All-American and 1st Team All-State pick after batting .612 with 63 hits, 11 home runs, 30 RBI and a robust 1.106 slugging percentage. Sydney also was 13-for-13 on steals. Sheis powerful and fast but plays smart and with great instincts. Sydney is an elite hitter because she is advanced in the mental game and understands what pitchers are trying to do and what her own responsibilities are at every at-bat, be it to get on base, move a runner over or drive in a run. She can also take a pitch wherever its thrown and do what she wants with it. Another member of the OC Batbusters that won the PGF 18U Premier National Championship, Sydney hit .478 on the summer’s biggest stage, going 11-for-23 with a team-leading eight RBI.
3 Taylor McQuillin
#3 - Taylor McQuillin
P OC Batbusters – Haning/Stith Arizona
Taylor had a year players can only dream about: she was the Gatorade National Player of the Year in softball, led her high em athlete logo smallschool team to a No. 1 ranking in the Full Count FAB 50 National High School Rankings and dominated in the circle for the National Champion OC Batbusters as she pitched a shutout in the title game and didn’t give up a run all week while striking out 25 batters in 23 innings and allowing only two walks. Yes, she was dominate at every level and today is one of the most feared pitchers in the game. A 1st Team Full Count Softball All-American, she went 25-1 with a 0.72 ERA at the prep level in talent-rich Southern California and had 299 K’s versus only 17 walks all year in her 164.2 innings. Taylor is a lefty pitcher who keeps the ball down, has a nasty drop curve and strong movement on all her pitches. She throws in the mid 60’s and is a bulldog on the field who refuses to lose. The improvement she made over the last year has been impressive and her will to win and competitive fire makes her the pitcher you want when the game is on the line. Taylor is also a standout student with a 4.0 GPA.
2 Kelly Barnhill
#2 - Kelly Barnhill
P East Cobb Bullets – Schnute Florida
Kelly is so good, she’s the rare recruit who can wait to the last minute to commit to a school, which is what she did in late October as she picked the National Champion Florida Gators over Stanford. Realistically, Kelly could have gone anywhere she wanted because her physical tools and skills are unmatched. She throws consistently in the 69-70 mph range and has hit the low 70’s many times this year, but it’s not just heat she throws–she has a rise and drop that are tough to lay off of and when batters start anticipating her speed she’ll buckle knees with a brutal change-up. She has improved the last year in her consistency and confidence in throwing all her pitches. Kelly is also a blue-collar workhorse who’s tough and durable, carrying her team deep into tournaments and nationals. At PGF Nationals she threw 31 innings with a 0.90 ERA and 64 strikeouts versus only four walks in 31 innings. Kelly also dominated this fall in the Georgia high school scene and was 28-5 with a 0.26 ERA heading into the final weekend of championship play. She also surpassed the 500-strikeout mark for the season, setting the all-time Georgia record set in 2002.
1 Amanda Lorenz
#1 - Amanda Lorenz
OF OC Batbusters – Haning/Stith Florida
Amanda has “IT.” Like all the great athletes in any sport, she’s mesmerizing to watch in an at-bat in her preparation–she is em athlete logo smallconstantly moving and stretching — and at the plate as settles in and studies the pitcher to discern what is going to be thrown. For those who are students of baseball history, names like Pete Rose, Rod Carew and Tony Gwynn come to mind as she just radiates ability and confidence, but more importantly, knows what to do with every pitch including if it’s tone she wants to hit. Pitch Amanda outside and the lefty will drill a shot to left field for a double. Come inside and she’ll turn on it and stroke a single to right or, worse, put it in a gap or over the fence. Some think she has the best pure swing in the country, but mechanics aside you can’t argue with her success. Amanda was a 1st Team Full Count All-American after hitting .642 with 22 doubles, 30 RBI, eight doubles and scoring 48 runs. Teams have been known to intentionally walk her leading off a game rather than risk more extensive damage. The So Cal senior also has a great eye for pitch selection–she struck out only three times in 118 at-bats last spring, for example. At PGF Nationals she hit .478 for the week and she felt that was not up to her standards. Still, when it counted, she had a key RBI double in the championship game that was big in helping the OC Batbusters win it all. A lead-off hitter who’s not a slapper and with good, but not blazing, speed, Amanda is nonetheless a great base runner and outfielder because of advanced softball intelligence and instincts. All that being said, however, her physical tools trail what is the primary reason for her success–a fiery inner drive to succeed and compete that is second to none. Amanda has her foot on the gas all the time and is never satisfied with her own success, but is always looking to improve. Bubbly, charismatic and constantly smiling off the field, between the lines she is laser-beam focused and intense. Combine that passion with a stellar work ethic, unmatched self-motivation and finely tuned physical tools and you have the make-up for the No. 1 player in the 2015 class.

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