Athletes Unlimited announced 2021 Women’s College World Series standout pitcher/inf Odicci Alexander from James Madison University, University of Arizona’s Jessie Harper and Alyssa Denham and Louisiana Lafayette’s Ciara Bryan are among nine players added to the 60-player roster of the sport’s best competitors for its second softball season to be held at Parkway Bank Sports Complex in Rosemont, IL, from August 28 – September 27.
In addition to the four college players, three of which were selected during Athletes Unlimited’s inaugural draft in May, other signees include current Team USA members Ali Aguilar (Inf) and Kelsey Stewart (Inf) as well as Sam Fischer (Inf), Courtney Gano (Inf) and Riley Sartain (Inf). Both Stewart and Fischer are returning for a second season with Athletes Unlimited.
All 30 Athletes Unlimited softball games will broadcast or stream in both English and Spanish around the world as part of an unprecedented distribution package that includes CBS Sports Network, FOX Sports, FOX Deportes, Facebook and YouTube.
”I am very excited and will be forever grateful for the opportunity to continue my professional softball career and show my passion and love for the game,” said Odicci Alexander. “Softball has given me so much, and it is a dream come true to compete on the same field with so many other talented athletes that I have idolized for years. “
“We are so excited to welcome some incredibly talented draftees to Athletes Unlimited. They all made such an impact at their respective schools, and I know they will do the same in our league,” said Tori Vidales, current member of Team Mexico and the Athletes Unlimited Player Executive Committee.
“Coming off of the record-breaking success of this year’s WCWS, we are thrilled to add four future superstars as well as two US Olympians and other accomplished players to our roster for season two of softball,” said Jon Patricof, CEO and Co-Founder of Athletes Unlimited. “We cannot wait for these amazing athletes to showcase their talents in front of live fans in Rosemont as well as around the world via our incredible media partners.”
Odicci Alexander, P/IN, James Madison University
Alexander was one of the most compelling stories of the 2021 WCWS leading the Dukes to the semifinals. She was the Colonial Athletic Association Pitcher of the Year and finished the 2021 season with a 1.71 ERA and 204 strikeouts in 143 2/3 innings.
Alexander was also named to WCWS All-Tournament Team and for the third straight year was named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-America Team.
As a red shirt senior, she was named to the USA Softball Top 50 watchlist and named to Softball America’s preseason Top 100. She had a season high 19 strikeouts against Liberty on May 21, 2021 and posted a 1.71 ERA for the season. In her senior season, she made VaSID All state Second Team and was named a preseason All-American by Softball America. She is a two-time CAA player of the year, and in 2019 was named the most outstanding player of the CAA tournament.
Jessie Harper, INF, University of Arizona
Harper established herself as one of Arizona’s best power hitters of all time tying the school record of 92 home runs held by Athletes Unlimited infielder and former Wildcat Katiyana Mauga. Harper and Mauga rank second in NCAA history behind Lauren Chamberlain with 95 career homers. For her career, she batted .339 with 281 hits, 255 RBIs, and a slugging percentage of .745 while posting a fielding percentage of .969.
She is a two-time NFCA All-American at two different positions (first base and shortstop) and led the Pac-12 in home runs in the 2019 (29) and 2020 (10) seasons. In the shortened 2020 season, Harper became the first player since Lovie Jung in 2003 to accomplish the team triple crown leading the team in batting average (.395), home runs (10) and RBIs (29).
Alyssa Denham, RHP, University of Arizona
Denham threw two no-hitters at Arizona and is the first UA pitcher to throw multiple no-hitters since Kenzie Fowler (2010-2014). During her Wildcat career, Denham had a 33-10 record, 260 strikeouts and a 1.90 ERA. She is a two-time third-team All-Pac-12 selection. Prior to attending UA, Denham played her freshman season at Louisiana Lafayette, where she was named Sun Belt Freshman of the Year and All-Sun Belt First-Team member.
Ciara Bryan, OF, Louisiana Lafayette
Bryan joined the Louisiana softball roster as a graduate transfer for her extra year of eligibility. In her first season with the Ragin’ Cajuns, she led the team in batting average hitting .426. She also hit five home runs, had 37 RBI’s and led the team in stolen bases capturing 35 bases in 38 attempts. She slugged .601 and had an on-base percentage of .469.
Bryan began her collegiate career at University of Georgia in 2017 where she was an All-SEC and NFCA All-Region selection. During the shortened 2020 season, she hit 11 home runs which co-led the SEC and ranked fourth nationally.
Ali Aguilar, INF, University of Washington
A current member of Team USA, Aguilar is a 2019 and 2017 Pan American Games Gold Medalist as well as 2018 and a 2016 WBSC Women’s World Championship Gold Medalist.
In her senior year at the University of Washington, she was the number 13 pick in the National Pro Fastpitch draft by Scrapyard Dawgs, NFCA Third Team All-American, Senior CLASS All-American second team and Pac-12 first team and all-defensive team. In her senior year she led the team in runs (62) and home runs (14) and had a .352 batting average.
Kelsey Stewart, INF, University of Florida
Returning for her second season with Athletes Unlimited, Stewart is a current member of Team USA where she earned a 2018 WBSC Women’s World Championship gold medal and hit the game-winning walk-off hit in the Gold Medal game against Japan.
She is Florida’s record holder in runs scored and total bases and is the NCAA active leader in games played (262), at-bats (908), hits (357) and triples (29). She was the leadoff hitter in every game her senior year and set a school record for hits in a season (102) as a sophomore. Stewart was also a 2019 Pan American Games Gold Medalist. Stewart led three single season records: 102 hits, 11 triples, and 36 stolen bases in one season.
Sam Fischer, INF, Loyola Marymount University
Also returning for her second season, Fischer is the first four-time first team All-PCSC selection in school history. She was a member of the United States Women’s National Team from 2012-2016, winning Softball World Cup gold medals in 2015 and 2014. In 2012, she was the PCSC Coastal Division Co-Player of the Year and left LMU ranked number one in the career record books in home runs (65), RBIs (172), total bases (495), batting average (.387), slugging percentage (.786), on-base percentage (.494), runs scored (184), doubles (52) and walks (127).
Courtney Gano, INF, University of Washington
Gano was a 2018 Japan Cup Gold Medalist as a former member of Team USA. In 2015, she led the Huskies with 59 RBIs and 18 home runs. She ended her 2015 season tied 34th in the nation with 18 home runs. She recorded a career high four RBI in five games. She had an eight-game hitting streak in 2016 making 13 hits, 12 RBIs, one double and four home runs. She was an NFCA Division I All-Pacific region third team pick and earned second team All-Pac-12 honors.
Riley Sartain, INF, Texas A&M
Sartain was the 18th overall pick in the 2019 NPF Draft selected by the Aussie Peppers. She also earned the 2019 Canada Cup “Top Batter” Award. During her career at Texas A&M, she started 232 games, and finished her career for the Aggies with 35 HRs and 135 RBIs. She was a 2017 NFCA third team All-American at third base, a 2017 All-SEC Second Team and a NFCA All-South Region First Team. She finished her career with a .298 batting average and a .959 fielding percentage.
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