OKLAHOMA CITY — USA Softball announced today the Top 3 Finalists for the 2023 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year. The award is considered the most prestigious honor in Division I college softball and recognizes outstanding athletic achievement among Division I softball players across the country.
Previous recipients of the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award include Stacey Nuveman (UCLA – 2002), Cat Osterman (2003, 2005, 2006 – Texas), Jessica Van der Linden (Florida State – 2004), Monica Abbott (2007 – Tennessee), Angela Tincher (2008 – Virginia Tech), Danielle Lawrie (2009, 2010 – Washington), Ashley Hansen (Stanford – 2011), Keilani Ricketts (2012, 2013 – Oklahoma), Lacey Waldrop (2014 – Florida State), Lauren Haeger (2015 – Florida), Sierra Romero (2016 – Michigan), Kelly Barnhill (2017 – Florida), Rachel Garcia (2018, 2019 – UCLA) and Jocelyn Alo (2021, 2022 – Oklahoma).
Represented by three juniors from three NCAA Division I universities and athletic conferences, the Top 3 Finalists for the 2023 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year include Clemson’s Valerie Cagle (ACC), UCLA’s Maya Brady (Pac-12) and Florida’s Skylar Wallace (SEC) — each of which will take the stage at regional play this weekend.
As the 2023 Pac-12 Player of the Year, Maya Brady proves to be a force at the plate with a conference leading .458 batting average — which also ranks sixth in the nation – while placing among the Top 10 in five additional categories including total bases (2nd — 148), runs per game (7th — 1.12 RPG), slugging percentage (7th — .892), RBIs (9th — 59 RBI) and home runs (10th – 18 HR). Brady is also recognized as a three-time All-Pac-12 honoree while earning four Pac-12 Player of the Week selections.
Among the nation’s top two-way players in NCAA DI softball, Valerie Cagle has etched her way on the nationwide leaderboard in both pitching and hitting with a .457 batting average, .889 slugging percentage and 23 wins in the circle – a feat that places her at No. 11 on the NCAA leaderboard. Making history during the 2023 season, Cagle set a new single-season record for the Tigers with 18 home runs while remaining dominant on defense with a 23-5 record and a 1.20 ERA through 169 innings pitched.
Three-time SEC Player of the Week and 2023 SEC Player of the Year, Skylar Wallace leads the nation with a 1.036 slugging percentage while ranking fifth in the nation with a .460 batting average. A true threat at the plate, Wallace also stands on the NCAA leaderboard in on-base percentage (2nd – .610 OBP), triples (2nd – 8 3B), runs per game (3rd – 1.33 RPG), total bases (4th – 142 TB) and home runs (7th – 19 HR). Among her SEC opponents, Wallace finished at the top in slugging percentage (1.036), total bases (142), and triples (8) while ranking second in walks (49), runs scored (69) and stolen bases (30).
The 2023 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will be announced on May 30 at the athlete banquet prior to the NCAA Women’s College World Series (WCWS) set to take place at the Softball Capital of the World® June 1-9.
Paired with the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award, USA Softball is also in its 21st season of presenting the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll, which is released every Tuesday throughout the regular season with one final poll being released at the conclusion of the 2023 WCWS. Follow along with Division I NCAA Softball all season long at USASoftball.com.