The Big 12 has revealed its softball preseason team for the 2023 season. Oklahoma leads all schools with seven selections (Jordy Bahl, Alyssa Brito, Jayda Coleman, Tiare Jennings, Haley Lee, Grace Lyons, Cydney Sanders) while Oklahoma State has two (Kelly Maxwell, Kiley Naomi). Baylor (McKenzie Wilson), Kansas (Olivia Bruno) and Texas (Mia Scott) each had one player selected.
The honorees were chosen by a vote of the league’s head coaches. Players were picked regardless of position and coaches could not vote for their own student-athletes.
This is the second season in the Conference’s history in which a preseason team has been assembled.
Ten of the 12 players were First or Second Team All-Big 12 in 2022, with the exceptions being Oklahoma’s Haley Lee (2022 All-SEC First Team) and Cydney Sanders (2022 All-Pac-12 First Team). Over half of the team was either First or Second Team NFCA DI All-American last season.
Bahl was named the Big 12’s Freshman and Co-Pitcher of the Year in 2022 while Lyons is the two-time defending Defensive Player of the Year and Maxwell was awarded Co-Pitcher of the Year.
Bahl, Bruno, Jennings, Maxwell and Scott were unanimous selections.
Bahl took the softball world by storm in her debut season, pacing the Sooners in the circle with 141.1 innings in 33 appearances and 205 strikeouts while composing a 22-1 record. She became the first freshman to earn Big 12 Pitcher of the Year since OU’s Paige Parker in 2015. Her ERA of 1.09 finished sixth nationally while she threw one individual perfect game and one solo no-hitter. The three-time Big 12 Pitcher of the Week was named the 2022 NFCA DI National Freshman of the Year.
Bruno’s freshman campaign included playing in 55 games with 54 starts while leading the Jayhawks in home runs (13) and RBIs (44). The Second Team All-Big 12 member had 13 multi-hit games and finished the season with a .353 batting average.
Jennings set Women’s College World Series records for RBIs (15) and home runs (5) in 2022 while accomplishing a WCWS single-game record for most total bases (11). The 2022 CoSIDA Academic All-America Second Team member finished first in the country with 87 RBIs and second in home runs with 29. She finished the season with a .401 batting average and 39 extra-base hits while slugging .940, which ranked fifth in the nation. The 2022 USA Softball Women’s National Team member’s 87 RBIs and 83 runs scored last season rank third all-time in league history while her current career slugging percentage of .971 ranks second and her batting average of .433 ranks third in the Conference record books.
Lyons was a key part of the 2022 national champion Sooners, playing in all 62 games with 61 starts at shortstop. She turned 13 double plays and made 80 assists with 64 putouts to go with just six errors for a .960 fielding percentage. The 2022 USA Softball Women’s National Team member finished the season eighth in the country with a career-single season-best 23 home runs while ranking sixth in the country in RBIs (70). Off the field, the native of Peoria, Arizona was listed as one of the national Top 30 honorees for the 2022 NCAA Woman of the Year award.
Maxwell posted a 21-5 record in 2022 with 20 complete-game performances and 12 shutouts over 189.2 innings of work. Her 313 strikeouts were the most by a Big 12 pitcher since 2013. The two-time First Team All-Big 12 member helped lead the Cowgirls to their first Phillips 66 Big 12 Softball Championship. The Friendswood, Texas native excelled in the classroom, being named a First Team Academic All-Big 12 honoree and a CoSIDA Second Team Academic All-American. She earned Big 12 Pitcher of the Week honors on four occasions in 2022, the most by any pitcher in the league.
Scott started 64 games in a season where Texas reached the WCWS finals for the first time in program history. She hit .377 to go with a .443 on-base percentage and 38 RBIs while sporting a .877 fielding percentage to earn Second Team All-Big 12. Her five triples tied for first in the Big 12 last season while her 26 stolen bases were the second highest.
The Big 12 softball preseason poll was released earlier in the week. Oklahoma was selected as the favorite for the 14th occasion in the last 15 years. The full poll can be found here.
The season gets underway Feb. 9 with non-conference games while league play begins March 24. The 2023 Phillips 66 Big 12 Softball Championship returns to USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City on May 11-13.
Follow Big12Sports.com and the league’s social media platforms for coverage throughout the season.
|McKenzie Wilson, BU||OF/Jr.||Long Beach, Calif.|
|Olivia Bruno, KU*||UTL/So.||Topeka, Kan.|
|Jordy Bahl, OU*||P/So.||Papillion, Neb.|
|Alyssa Brito, OU||UTL/Jr.||Tustin, Calif.|
|Jayda Coleman, OU||OF/Jr.||The Colony, Texas|
|Tiare Jennings, OU*||INF/Jr.||San Pedro, Calif.|
|Haley Lee, OU||UTL/R-Sr.||Kingwood, Texas|
|Grace Lyons, OU||INF/R-Sr.||Peoria, Ariz.|
|Cydney Sanders, OU||INF/So.||San Marcos, Calif.|
|Kelly Maxwell, OSU*||P/R-Sr.||Friendswood, Texas|
|Kiley Naomi, OSU||INF/Gr.||Lafayette, La.|
|Mia Scott, UT*||INF/So.||Angleton, Texas|