USA Softball announced its initial 50-player watchlist for the Collegiate Player of the Year award, with Sis Bates, Baylee Klingler, Morganne Flores, and Gabbie Plain all named. The four Huskies named to the list are a program record.
This is the fourth consecutive year that Washington has had multiple players on the preseason watchlist and 18th consecutive year at least one Husky was named to the list. Washington had never had four players named to the watchlist in the same season: the previous program record was three players, which was accomplished last season when Bates, Flores, and Plain were all named.
For Bates, Flores, and Plain, this is the third consecutive year they have been on the 50-player preseason watchlist. This is the first time in Klingler’s career she has been named to the Player of the Year watchlist.
Plain has earned All-American honours every year of her career that the award has been given. This is her fourth straight season on a National Player of the Year watchlist: her first season, she was a finalist for Freshman of the Year before earning her way onto the USA Softball Player of the Year watchlist each of the last three years now. She has the fifth-lowest ERA in Washington history at 1.39 and was the fastest Husky ever to 50 career wins, doing so in 74 appearances. Plain is the only Husky ever to throw 100+ innings and allow fewer than 100 hits in the same season, having done so twice.
Bates is a two-time All-American, having earned the award in each of the last two years it has been awarded. She enters 2021 second among active players in Division I in runs scored and fourth in hits. In the shortened 2020 season, Bates hit .529/.574/.667 and did not make an error in 15 games at shortstop. She is currently second in Washington history in batting average, behind only Ashley Charters’ .396 mark. Bates is 15th in Washington history in hits and 14th in runs scored. Since the beginning of her sophomore year, Bates has reached base safely in 119 of 138 games.
Flores is fifth in Washington history in home runs entering the 2021 season and has had plenty of accolades in her career. A 2019 All-American, Flores earned the Johnny Bench Award in 2020 as college softball’s best catcher. She has recorded an on-base percentage over .400 twice: in her other two seasons, Flores has had an OBP of .388 and .398, respectively. Flores has also excelled on the big stage, having already secured her place as Washington’s all-time leader in postseason home runs.
Klingler burst onto the scene in her first year at Washington, leading the Pac-12 in batting average and RBI in the abbreviated season. Klingler ended 2020 on a nine-game hitting streak, with multiple hits in each of the last eight of those games. After back-to-back hitless games on the season’s first weekend, Klingler would go hitless just four times in the remaining 21 games, with multiple hits in 14 of those games. In addition to leading the Pac-12 in average and RBI, she was fifth in slugging percentage, sixth in OBP, and second in hits.
The 2021 season will begin soon. The schedule will be released publicly as soon as possible.
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