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Ohio's top high school softball players: Meet the state’s best first basemen

Who are the top first basemen in Ohio high school softball this season?
Ryley Pittman photo by Lowell Spencer

Ryley Pittman photo by Lowell Spencer

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be taking a look at some of the top softball players in Ohio.

We'll start with the top first basemen.

There are hundreds of outstanding first basemen in Ohio, and these lists are not intended to be comprehensive! Tag us on Twitter or Instagram at @SBLiveOH and let us know about other athletes worthy of fans’ attention.

Note: Many high school softball players excel at multiple positions. Don't be alarmed to see an ace pitcher listed here as a first baseman, for example.

Alaina Baughn, Greenville, junior

Baughn was a second-team All-Ohio selection as a sophomore, hitting .513 season with 13 doubles and 10 home runs.

Jordan Bradford, Black River, sophomore

As a freshman, she hit .380 with 22 RBIs. She can play 1B as well as pitch, and she had a 10-5 record with a 2.25 ERA while striking out 81 in 84 innings last season.

Gianna Cantini, Kirtland, senior

Cantini is an all-around leader, setting the tone as soon as the Hornets take the field. She has a powerful bat and sound defense. Last year, she hit seven home runs, five doubles and three triples and drove in 48 runs.

Jenna Collins, Louisville, senior

She hit .489 with three home runs as a junior for the Leopards. She can play either corner spot, as she started her high school career at third base. She hits cleanup in the Louisville lineup.

Renae Cunningham, Heath, junior

She earned first-team All-Ohio honors last year as she hit .541 with 14 home runs and 34 RBIs. She doubles as a pitcher for the Bulldogs and was 15-2 with a 1.16 ERA and 155 strikeouts in 115 innings as a sophomore. She is committed to Northwestern.

Gracey Dearmon, Hillsboro, senior

As a junior, she hit .361 with four home runs and 20 RBIs. She also spent some time in the circle, earning six wins against zero losses and had a 2.60 ERA with 65 strikeouts.

Madison Dies, Firestone, senior

Dies can play either corner spot and she also pitches for the Falcons. She was the co-MVP of the Akron City Series a year ago, hitting .380 with 17 RBIs, while striking out 104 batters in the circle.

Macee Eaton, Wheelersburg, junior

Earned first-team All-Ohio honors last season as a sophomore and was the Southern Ohio Conference player of the year. One of the best hitters in the area, she is committed to the University of Virginia.

Maeve Fink, Oak Hills, junior

She earned first-team all-conference honors last season as a sophomore while hitting .424 with 29 RBI.

Emma Jackson, Marlington, sophomore

Helped lead Marlington to the regionals last year by hitting .444 with 10 doubles and two home runs while driving in 32 runs as a freshman. Jackson can play either corner infield position, and she hits in the middle of the Dukes order this season.

Mackensi Kehrer, Waterloo, senior

She plays first base and pitches for the Vikings. She can hit for average and power, as she finished last season with a .542 batting average and three home runs. She finished with 17 extra-base hits. In the circle, she had a 10-7 record with a 2.77 ERA and 149 strikeouts.

Sydney Marshall, John Glenn, sophomore

Marshall can play first base and is one of the top pitchers in the area. She was named as a first-team All-Ohio selection last year in Division I. She hit .495 with 17 home runs and 50 RBIs while posting a mark of 21-1 in the circle with a 1.65 ERA and 157 strikeouts.

Trinity Nowicki, Anthony Wayne, sophomore

Garnered honorable mention All-Ohio honors as a freshman while hitting .489 with 12 home runs, eight doubles and 40 RBIs. She shows her versatility by playing multiple positions, including first base and catcher.

Ryley Pittman, West Branch, senior

Pittman hit for average and power from the left side last year, hitting .455 with eight home runs and will spend her time in the middle of the West Branch lineup. She will also see more action in the circle this season. She saw limited time at pitcher last year, compiling a 2-3 record with a 4.48 ERA.

Caitlyn Quickle, Fairfield, sophomore

Stepped in as a freshman and hit over .600 while driving in a team-high 43 runs. She will play both first base and pitch for Fairfield this season and has helped the Lady Lions get off to a good start so far in 2022.

Elly Rothenstein, Tuscarawas Valley, senior

Earned honorable mention All-Ohio by hitting .590 with 14 doubles and 11 home runs, driving in 50 RBIs. She is committed to Ohio Northern. Coach comment: “She has the most raw power I have seen in high school. Excellent teammate and is looked upon as a leader. Has been one of the hardest-working players I have ever coached. Continues to look for ways to improve.”

Raegan Smith, Tri-Valley, junior

She hit .462 with 16 home runs and 39 RBIs as a sophomore last year to earn an honorable mention All-Ohio nod.

Natalie Susa, Walsh Jesuit, sophomore

Susa plays first base and pitches for the Warriors. As a freshman, she hit .438 with two home runs and nine doubles while striking out 179 in 113 innings pitched with a 1.12 ERA. Coach comment: "Natalie is a special player. Her competitiveness and work ethic over the years have helped her to develop into one of the premier pitchers in the state of Ohio ... as a sophomore. She is a true competitor in the circle and in the batter's box. Natalie has a truly bright future in this sport!"

Maddie Summers, Little Miami, senior

Earned first-team All-Eastern Cincinnati Conference honors last year by hitting .419 last season and led the conference with 12 home runs. She was second in the conference with 45 RBIs.

Kelly Szolek, South Range, junior

Was the starting catcher as a sophomore in her first year of high school softball but can also play first base. She hit .410 and struck out just three times all season. She has worked very hard during the off-season and is hitting the ball with more power so far this season.