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Michella Chester | | February 16, 2023

Best Arizona softball players: The all-time lineup

Arizona softball: The best players in Wildcats history

Eight Women's College World Series championships and numerous legendary players. That is Arizona softball. 

Here's one look at an all-time roster for this program, as in the best player at every position to ever play at Arizona. And by the way, every player on this list is in the Arizona Hall of Fame. 

I dug deep into the record books to pick these players, and based the selections heavily on career statistics and Arizona all-time records, All-American honors, other awards and championships.

Amy Chellevold — First base (1992-1995)

Chellevold was a two-time national champion at Arizona in 1993 and 1994, All-American, and a finalist for the Honda award in 1995. You can find her pretty high up in multiple career records lists at Arizona. She is tied for second all-time in career fielding with a .995 percentage. She was one of the most dangerous lead-off hitters in the game. 

Jenny Dalton — Second base (1993-1996)

Dalton made the second base choice easy. She was an all-around hitter that pulled off the first triple crown in Pac-10 history in 1996 by hitting .469, knocking 25 home runs and driving in 109 runs. She became the second player in Arizona history to win the Honda award for most outstanding softball player in 1996 after leading Arizona to its fourth NCAA Championship and earning the 1996 College World Series MVP. She ranks fourth at Arizona in career home runs, and first in career RBIs with 328. 

Current Arizona stars: Catching up with Jessie Harper

Toni Mascarenas — Third base (1998-2001)

Mascarenas helped lead the 2001 Arizona team to the national championship with 25 homers and was named to the All-College World Series Team. Mascarenas ranks in the top 10 in multiple statistical categories at Arizona. She played in the second-most games at Arizona in her career (276).

Jessie Harper — Shortstop (2017-2021)

Jessie Harper

Jessie Harper certainly goes down as one of the best Arizona softball players in history. She was a three-time All-American at two different positions (1B and SS), and was a first-team All American in 2017. She finished her career tied for first in Arizona history and second all-time in the NCAA with 92 home runs. She is now tied for third in NCAA history in homers. 

With the addition of Harper, Laura Espinoza had to be removed from this position. This is not an easy one to remove, considering Espinoza set an NCAA record of 37 home runs in her senior season that still stands. The three-time All American won two championships at Arizona was a Honda award finalist in 95.The power hitter ranks third all-time at Arizona in career home runs with 85 and holds the record for RBIs in a season with 128. 

Leticia Pineda — Utility (1995-1998)

Pineda could play just about anywhere, and unbelievably well. She is the only DI athlete to be named first team All-American at three different positions: catcher, third base, and first base. She helped guide the Wildcats to the WCWS in each of her four years, winning championships in 1996 and 1997. 

Dejah Mulipola — Catcher (2017-2021)

I re-visited this all-time lineup to add Harper to the SS position. And I decided the catcher needed a second look as well since Mulipola finished her decorated career. Arizona has had a plethora of incredible catchers. The list of options is not even funny. Leah Braatz, Stacie Chambers and Jody Miller Pruitt. But listen to Mulipola's accolades: She was a three-year starter at catcher (since she did forgo one season for the Olympics). She was named Johnny Bench Catcher of the Year in 2019 and NFCA Catcher of the Year in 2019 and 2021. In 2019, she became Arizona’s first, first-team NFCA All-American catcher since 1998 (Leah Braatz). She is a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team (2019-current) and finished her career with 68 career home runs, 9th most in UA history. Braatz had more home runs, but also over 20 years ago. The choice is tough, but I added Mulipola to my all-time lineup. 

Here is what I had previously written for Braatz:

The choice for behind-the-plate was a difficult one. There were multiple standout players in Arizona's history that played this position, including Dejah Mulipola who was a Wildcat just last year and is foregoing this season to play for the US Olympic team. Jody Miller Pruitt was unbelievable defensively, and there is Stacie Chambers and Leah Braatz that were powerful sluggers. Braatz was an impressive four-time first team All-American selection and won back-to-back national honors for NFCA catcher of the year. She tied Espinoza for home runs with 85 and was the third player in NCAA history to drive in more than 100 runs in one season along with former teammates Espinoza and Jenny Dalton. 

Alison Johnsen McCutcheon — Outfield (1994-1998)

This one was a no-brainer. McCutcheon holds Arizona’s all-time records for season batting average (.534), career batting average (.466), hits in a season, career hits (405), career triples (22), stolen bases in a season (67 in 70 attempts) and career stolen bases (95 in 98 attempts). Her career total of 405 hits makes her the only Arizona softball player in the program's history to eclipse the 400 mark and her career batting average of .466 still ranks among the nation's best college softball players. 

Caitlin Lowe — Outfield (2003-2004, 2006-2007)

This is another name that fills the Arizona all-time records lists. And now of course, is the head coach at Arizona. She ranks second in career batting average at .446. Lowe was quick and is the Arizona all-time leader in stolen bases. In 2006, she was named All-American for the third consecutive year and was again at the top of the rankings in stolen bases, only caught twice. She was a member of the most-recent Arizona national championship team. 

Leah O'Brien — Outfield (1993-1994, 1996-1997)

O'Brien was a three-time NFCA first team All-American. She ranks third in career batting average at Arizona right behind Lowe at .428 and took home three national championships during her time at Arizona. That is a loaded career. 

Jennie Finch — Pitcher (1999-2002)

You can stop scrolling now, you made it to the most well-known player from Arizona, and maybe even the most well-known player in softball. There are many pitchers to choose from in Arizona's history, but Finch was an obvious pick. She is perhaps the best player to ever wear a Wildcats jersey. Her 2001 was one for the ages. She went 32-0 and ended the year by shutting out UCLA, 1-0, in the Women's College World Series championship game. Finch won the Honda award for National Softball Player of the Year in 2001 and 2002. 

Nancy Evans — Pitcher (1994-1998)

For the last pitcher spot, you can't go wrong with Debby Day, Susie Parra, Nancy Evans or Alicia Hollowell. These were all extremely accomplished pitchers at Arizona. 

Evans still holds the NCAA record for career win percentage. The All-American pitcher put together an amazing season in 1998 to earn the Honda Softball Award as the nation's best. In the circle, she tied her own Arizona victories mark with back-to-back 36-2 records and finished with a career ERA of 0.98.

Honorable mentions: Leah Braatz, Laura Espinoza, Jody Miller Pruitt, Stacie Chambers, Alicia Hollowell, Susie Parra, Debby Day, Taryne Mowatt-McKinney, Julie Standering, Loveianne Jung, Kristie Fox, Jamie Heggen, Lauren Bauer, Autumn Champion, Kenzie Fowler. 

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