Hokies Emma Lemley and Emma Ritter were named to the USA Softball Top 50 Watch List for 2023 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, the organization announced Wednesday morning.
The Top 50 Watch List highlights athletes from 26 universities and nine athletic conferences from across the country. The ACC is represented with six athletes.
After a standout freshman season, Lemley’s honors included ACC Freshman of the Year, First Team All-ACC, First Team National FastPitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-Region, ACC All-Freshman Team and a (NFCA)/Schutt Sports Division I Freshman of the Year Top-3 Finalist. She helped provide a dominant 1-2 punch in the circle, going 16-6 with a 2.12 ERA, six shutouts, three saves, 212 strikeouts and a .186 opponent batting average.
Lemley finished the season ranked ninth nationally in strikeouts per seven innings (10.7). The freshman went 6-2 with two saves and three shutouts in ACC play. She threw her first career no-hitter against Longwood, striking out 13.
Ritter was named an NFCA All-America Third Team selection a season ago while also earning First Team NFCA All-Region and First Team ACC honors. She batted .400 on the season and led the team with a .661 slugging percentage and a .474 on base percentage.
The sophomore also contributed four triples, 11 doubles, eight home runs and 40 RBI. Striking out only six times, she led the ACC and ranked 12th in the nation as toughest to strikeout. She ranked second in the ACC in batting average (.400) and third in stolen bases (23). She also maintained a perfect fielding percentage in the outfield with 45 putouts.
The Top 25 finalists for Player of the Year will be announced on May 3, followed by the Top 10 on May 3 and Top 3 on May 17. The Player of the Year will be announced prior to the NCAA Women’s College World Series.