5 sluggers to know for the 2022 Pac-12 softball season
The 2022 Pac-12 softball season is quickly approaching, with first pitch set for Feb. 10. To prepare for what should be another exciting year, Pac-12.com is highlighting some of the top student-athletes across the conference. First up? Five of the Pac-12's top power hitters, in no particular order.
Sharlize Palacios, C — Arizona
Palacios tore the cover off the ball in 2021, her first full season with the Wildcats, hitting .348 with 18 homers, the third-most in the Pac-12 and most among returning players. Palacios was surrounded by star seniors like Jessie Harper, Dejah Mulipola and Alyssa Palomino-Cardoza last season, but now it will be her turn to lead a young Arizona lineup.
Palacios will also be taking over for Mulipola as Arizona's primary catcher. Consider her to be UA's most valuable player in Caitlin Lowe’s first season as head coach.
Baylee Klingler, INF — Washington
The Texas A&M transfer made a huge difference for the Huskies in 2021, hitting .424 with 16 homers and a Pac-12-best 17 doubles while seeing time at third base, second base, catcher and outfield. Klingler's unmatched ability to hit for contact and power — she only struck out nine times last season — makes her the most complete hitter in the conference.
Pair her with Sami Reynolds, who mashed 12 homers last season, and the Huskies boast one of the top home-run hitting duos in the conference.
Maya Brady, OF — UCLA
Speaking of powerful duos, Brady and Delanie Wisz led UCLA with 14 homers apiece last season. Brady hit several in big moments, showing off her superstar potential. She homered three games in a row against Arizona State, went yard twice in a doubleheader against Washington and homered in three straight games in the postseason — two in Super Regionals against Virginia Tech and one in the Women's College World Series against Florida State.
Look for Brady to boost her power numbers even further in her third season in Westwood.
Frankie Hammoude, 1B — Oregon State
Hammoude cemented herself as one of the top hitters in the conference last year, batting .360 with 17 homers, the fourth-most in the Pac-12 and an Oregon State single-season record.
Hammoude could leave Corvallis as the top slugger in program history when all is said and done. Her 28 career long balls are the ninth-most in school history, and she still has two more years of eligibility to add to her ledger, giving her a real chance to catch Tarrah Beyster's all-time record of 52 career long balls.
Ellessa Bonstrom, UTL — Utah
Bonstrom exploded onto the scene last season with 14 homers, the most by a Ute since 2009, after only combining for 10 in 2019 and 2020. The senior also flashed her versatility in the field, starting games at third base, first base, right field and shortstop.
For more Pac-12 softball coverage, check out other installations of our season preview series: