5-Nicole May, P/3B, OC Batbusters - Stith (Oklahoma)
Nicole has been a Top 10 player in her class for the last several years, but she’s taking her game to another level recently as she’s maturing as a player. Her physical tools allow her to be a shut-down pitcher but also be an outstanding infielder/hitter. The NorCal junior was a 1st Team Extra Inning Softball All-American at Foothill (Pleasanton, California) High as she led her team to the Section finals with a 20-2 record and a 0.65 ERA with 209 K’s in 128 innings. Nicole also batted .404. For the Batbusters, she established herself as a starter and was the go-to most of the summer including pitching the championship game in Boulder at the IDT tournament. In her pitching, fielding and hitting, Nicole does a lot of things well: in the circle she has command of her pitches with good ball movement and the ability to change speeds; at the plate she can hit for average and power and in the field she is impressive with her glove and intelligent in her play. Her versatile physical and position skills should allow her to play early at OU wherever there’s a need on Coach Patty Gasso’s team.
2—Tiare Jennings, SS, OC Batbusters - Stith (Oklahoma)
Tiare has elevated her game to another level and that was a pretty good foundation set long ago when she won the PGF 12U Nationals in 2015 and followed it with titles at Boulder IDT and USA Elite Select Championship at 14U. Mike Stith’s Batbuster team is always loaded with talent and breakout stars and Tiare looks like she will be the next great infielder after she had a magnificent summer and played shortstop with certainty and confidence. Said one scout, “Tiare made all the plays and was good with it mattered including clutch hitting under pressure.” The infielder has a great motor and showed she has power too and can take over a tournament like she did in Boulder this summer when she slugged seven home runs. Her biggest blast, however, may have been a two-out, 0-2 count against the Corona Angels when a loss would’ve sent the Batbusters home but instead propelled them to the PGF 18U Premier Championship game. What separates Tiare also is her list of intangibles, including a motor to be always improving and instincts you can’t coach. A standout in volleyball and basketball and with her 5-foot-8 athletic frame, the ceiling is very high for her to become one of the top players in the college ranks in a few years down the road. As she dominated at the club level, she also did for her St. Anthony (Long Beach, California) High team this year as she hit .590 with nine home runs, 19 RBI, a .614 OBP and a 1.638 OPS while going 14-for-14 in steals and recording a .971 fielding percentage.
1—Jayda Coleman, MIF/OF, Texas Glory - Shelton (Oklahoma)
In a class strong with infielders, there’s been one for the last four years who has continued to amaze and impress, even under the white-hot light of pressure and expectation: Jayda Coleman. Growing up around a family of softball coaches and players, the Texas junior first drew national attention at the PGF 2014 12U Nationals playing for the DirectTV Genies coached by her father, Cedric. Although the team lost 4-3 to Dave Mercado’s A’s team, it was the launching point of Jayda being recognized as the top player in her class as she hit .625 with a .700 on-base percentage and made one amazing defensive play after another. That was then… this is now. What makes Jayda an elite prospect is that she has the great God-given physical tools in addition to playing with passion. She boasts fantastic speed and explosiveness with the ability to hit for power or lay down the bunt. It’s not uncommon for her to get on base via the drag bunt, then steal second and third and finally come home on a sacrifice, fielder’s choice or passed ball. She’s heady, instinctive and seemingly always thinking ahead three steps of what would be the best outcome, but it’s her love for the game and her softball smarts that set her apart as one who makes almost every aspect of the game look easy and effortless. Said one Big 12 coach (and, no, it wasn’t one of the Sooner coaches!): “It looks like she does everything so well, she’s bored and is just waiting to get to the next level to see what she can do.” Jayda was first on the 2018 18U Texas Glory team, which won the 2018 World Fastpitch Championship and came in 7th at PGF and 5th at Colorado Fireworks Super 54, in hits, doubles, triples and runs scored. At the prep level, she earned every possible award playing for The Colony (Texas) High as she was a 1st Team Extra Inning and USA Today All-American after hitting .714 on 75 hits with 66 runs and 43 steals. This, mind you, came against excellent competition in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area so for her to put up such amazing numbers is doubly impressive, especially as she earned other honors such as the Dallas/Ft. Worth All Metro-Plex Team Player of the Year, the District 14-5A MVP and the Dallas Morning News SportsDay All-Area Offensive Player of the Year. She certainly didn’t hit a “sophomore slump” and now the question is, how much further can this amazing player go? It’s one thing to get to the top of the mountain--it’s another to stay there and defend your turf. Jayda, though, looks like she’s got every tool needed, including great teammates, coaches and family support, to keep working hard and improving her game, as much as that’s even possible. It will sure be fun as softball fans to see how far this outstanding talent can go