In Play with Tom Markowski

Girls Softball Preseason Top 25 Players: Barjaktarovich of Richmond tops the list; Overaitis and Bressler are Nos. 2 and 3

Softball   | Tom Markowski

Girls Softball Preseason Top 25 Players: Barjaktarovich of Richmond tops the list; Overaitis and Bressler are Nos. 2 and 3

 

 

  1. Carley Barjaktarovich, Richmond, ss, sr.: Above all else, Barjaktarovich is a gamer. In the Division 2 final last season, she took a bad hop ground ball to the face, which momentarily knocked her to the infield dirt. She was taken off the field but returned a short time later. In the semifinal and final, Barjaktarovich was 5-for-8 with three runs scored. As a sophomore, she helped Richmond win the state title and last season the Blue Devils were runner-up. Barjaktarovich played all but three innings at shortstop last season. “She’s a special person,” coach Howard Stuart said. A four-year starter, Barjaktarovich signed with Lehigh. Last season she led her team in batting average (.538), stolen bases (42) and on-base percentage (.600). Barjaktarovich made three errors in 113 chances (.973).

 

 

  1. Morgan Overaitis, Salem, ss, sr: A four-year starter, Overaitis was a Player of the Year candidate last season. Last season she batted .641 with a .713 on-base percentage. She scored 52 runs, had 19 doubles, eight triples, seven home runs and she batted in 56 runs. Overaitis is one of six finalists for the Detroit Athletic Club Athlete of the Year Award. She signed with Michigan.

 

  1. Jenny Bressler, Plymouth, p, sr.: A four-year starter, Bressler signed with Nevada-Las Vegas. Last season she was 20-3 with a 0.69 ERA and 283 strikeouts. “Jenny always puts us in position to win,” coach Lauren Evans said. “She’s very composed and strong (in the circle). She doesn’t get flustered.” Plymouth has won a district title in each of Bressler’s three seasons and the Wildcats reached a Division 1 quarterfinal in 2015.

 

  1. Lauren Esman, Richland Gull Lake, of/p, jr.: Last season Esman batted .675 (81 of 120) with 91 RBI. She had 52 extra base hits including 21 home runs, a school record and one behind the state record. She scored 74 runs, had 24 walks and struck out just three times. In the circle Esman was 15-11 with a 2.02 ERA. She committed to Michigan.

 

  1. Hannah Carson, Mount Pleasant, c, sr.: Carson is a four-year starter and she signed with Michigan. She’s batted .550 or better in each of her first three seasons. Last season she hit .560 (70-125) with 38 RBI and nine home runs. “Obviously, she’s a great hitter,” coach Ted McIntyre said. “She’s the best catcher we’ve had in my 43 seasons as head coach.” In 438 plate appearances, Carson has not struck out.

 

  1. Hannah Cady, Clarkston, c, so.: One of three sophomores to make this list, Cady was named first team all-state last season and her coach, Don Peters, said “she’s one of the best I’ve coached”. Peters nicknamed Cady, “Kaline”, after the Tigers’ great right fielder. Cady has tremendous concentration to go with her natural abilities. An excellent student, Cady committed to Northwestern.

 

  1. Sammy Gehrls, Caledonia, p/of, sr.: Gehrls is a four-year starter and she signed with Grand Valley State. It’s possible she will play both basketball and softball in college. Last season she was 19-9 with a 1.56 ERA. She struck out 230 batters and walked just 10. At the plate she hit nine home runs and had 45 RBI. For her career Gehrls is 49-12, with 529 batters strikeouts and she’s hit 33 home runs.

 

  1. Sydney Pezzoni, Howell, 2b/of, sr.: The daughter of coach Ron Pezzoni, Sydney signed to play at Eastern Kentucky. She’ll mostly play centerfield this season where her speed is definitely an asset. Last season she hit .460 (57-147) with a .531 on-base percentage. Pezzoni scored 56 runs and had 38 RBI. She had 17 walks, eight stolen bases (caught once) and struck out seven times in 162 plate appearances.

 

  1. Gabi Salo, Escanaba, p, so.: Salo split time in the circle last season with a senior but she’s the ace this time around. Salo was 18-3 last season and in 115 2/3 innings she struck out 185 and had a 0.787 ERA. She walked 23 and gave up 55 hits. In her high school debut Salo tossed anon-hitter and struck out nine. She committed to Wisconsin. “She’s an honor roll student,” coach Jamie Segorski said. “We want our players to be student-athletes first.”

 

  1. Taylor Dew, Muskegon Mona Shores, if, sr.: Dew is a tall (6-foot) first baseman who could see time at other infield positions. A four-year starter, she hit a state-record 22 home runs (tied with one other player), batted .453 and had 72 RBI. Dew originally committed to Ferris State but has since de-committed. She remains uncommitted going into this season.

 

  1. Taylor Nichols, Jackson County Western, p, sr.: Nichols is quite likely the best softball player in school history. Last season she set school records for RBI (70), batting average (.550) and strikeouts (313). She was 23-5 last season and had a 0.57 ERA. Nichols signed with Appalachian State.

 

  1. Aleah Marra, New Baltimore Anchor Bay, ss, sr.: Last season Marra batted .511 with a school record 68 base hits. She had 14 doubles, six home runs and had a .960 fielding percentage. Marra was 10-3 with a 2.02 ERA. She signed with Toledo.
     
  2. Josie Muffley, Portage Central, ss/3b, sr.: Muffley played second base last season but moved to the left side this season. In 84 chances Muffley committed three errors for a .964 fielding percentage. She hit .386 with a .491 on-base percentage. Muffley signed with Tulsa.

 

  1. Grace Chelemen, Riverview, ss/of, sr.: Chelemen bats leadoff and she hit .490 last season. A left-handed hitter, Chelemen is a slap hitter who uses her speed well. She signed with Michigan.

 

  1. Tessa Nuss, Lake Orion, cf/2b, jr.: Nuss is a table-setter who gets on base (.585 career average) and has not been thrown out stealing in her career.  Covers a lot of ground in CF. As a freshman, Nuss batted .567 with 39 stolen bases. She committed to Binghamton University (NY).

 

  1. Kaitlyn Bean, Oxford, p/1b, sr.: A four-year starter, Bean signed with Central Michigan. Last season she was 17-5 with a .190 ERA. In 140 innings Bean had 206 strikeouts and walked 39.

 

  1. Melina Livingston, Warren Regina, 3b, sr.: Livingston helped lead Regina to the Catholic League title by batting .632 with 12 home runs and 44 RBI. She signed with Penn State.

 

  1. Samantha Harris, Walled Lake Northern, c, sr.: Harris helped lead the Knights to a Division 1 quarterfinal last season by batting .378 with 37 RBI and five home runs. She signed with Central Michigan.

 

  1. Brooke Nadolny, Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse, p/ss, jr.: Nadolny had a breakout season as she hit a state-record 22 home runs. She led the team with a .583 batting average and in RBI with 57. Nadolny had a 1.343 slugging percentage and pitched in nine games compiling a 4-4 record with 52 strikeouts in 48 innings. She remains uncommitted.

 

  1. Paige Blevins, Clarkston, ss, sr.: Blevins has good speed especially for a power hitter. She hit 14 home runs last season and she signed with Central Michigan.

 

  1. Lauren Sciborski, South Lyon East, c/1b, fr.: Sciborski bats in the middle of a powerful lineup and is being recruited by most Big 10 schools, including Michigan, and a few from the Southeastern Conference. Sciborski committed to Northwestern.

 

  1. Sierra Kersten, Clarkston, 2b, so.: Kersten is a terrific athlete who also plays volleyball. Kersten committed to Michigan.

 

  1. Corbin Hison, Macomb Dakota, ss, sr.: A four-year starter, Hison signed with Canisius. Hison hit leadoff last season. She’s slated to bat third this season. “She has no weakness,” coach Dave Prestininzi said. “She might be the best shortstop I’ve seen.”

 

  1. Emily Koperdak, Mattawan, if/p, sr.: A four-year starter, Koperdak has led Mattawan to the Division 1 semifinals each of the last three seasons. She was the starting pitcher in each of those semifinal games, and each time Mattawan lost to the eventual state champion. Koperdak signed with Northern Kentucky.

 

  1. Sammy Mills, Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse, p/c, sr.: Mills signed with Central Michigan as a catcher though she’s the ace of the staff at L’Anse Creuse. Mills was 18-3 last season with a 1.85 ERA. She hit .545 with seven home runs and 49 RBI in 34 games.