Players officially reported to the Sunshine State over the weekend, with opening day of the Florida Gulf Coast League set to happen later this week. The FGCL’s inaugural season of summer softball is set to provide a welcome return of collegiate softball, albeit in a new format and locale.
Michele Smith is set to throw out the league’s ceremonial first pitch on Thursday, and a number of collegiate programs will be represented when the FGCL teams officially take the field. The league features seven teams, with rosters constructed of active college players, as well as incoming signees.
With just a few days to go until the league kicks off, let’s take a look at some players to keep an eye on as the summer season begins.
Kelsey Bennett | IF | Impact
Bennett is one of the collegiate game’s most exciting youngsters, still just a sophomore thanks to the NCAA’s extended eligibility blanket waiver. Look for the utility infielder to make an impact on the dirt and at the plate; Bennett owns twenty-one career home runs in two years at Virginia Tech and is one of the FGCL’s biggest names during their inaugural season of play.
Dani Bauer | P | Lynx
The University of Charleston freshman pitcher owns an undefeated record as a college pitcher, finishing the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season with a 9-0 record. She was named the conference pitcher of the week in back-to-back weeks to open the season, and finished the year with a 1.17 ERA.
Skyler Ball | OF | Pioneers
A career .160 hitter entering the 2020 season, Ball set career highs in batting average; at-bats; and games played, even in the shortened year. The FGCL is a prime stage for some breakout performances, and Ball could be one player that takes up that mantle.
Jenny Jansen | OF | RiverMocs
Jansen was a two-time all-conference selection entering the 2020 season, and she finished the shortened year with ten extra base hits and a .324 on-base percentage. One of college softball’s best-kept secrets, she owns a .350 career batting average and seventeen career home runs.
Madison McPherson | P/UT | Slice
The former Georgia transfer pitched sparingly during her time in Athens, and transferred to Georgia Tech prior to the 2020 season. She allowed one run in four innings in her first year with the Yellow Jackets, collecting three strikeouts along the way.
Jenna Greene | P | Squeeze
Presbyterian enjoyed Greene’s breakout campaign before the 2020 season ended, as the true freshman earned a trio of conference Pitcher of the Week awards and notched 128 strikeouts in 107 innings of work. A true freshman, she led the Big South in seven categories, including a 1.24 ERA.
Lauren King | P | Fastpitch U
King, a junior native of Seattle, Washington, performed well on both sides of the ball during the 2020 college season. She batted .429 with 24 RBIs on the year, adding twelve extra base hits, and notched a 2.65 ERA; 54 strikeouts; and a .259 opponent’s batting average in the circle.