Skip to main content

Oklahoma Softball 2023 Preview: The Infield

Grace Lyons and Tiare Jennings return, but the Sooners will have to replace Jana Johns and Taylon Snow on the corners in 2023.

Leading into the 2023 softball season, is releasing a four part series to preview the Oklahoma Sooners. Up next: the infield.

Oklahoma lost half its infield this offseason.

Jana Johns and Taylon Snow, who were steady on the corners for the last two National Championships, both graduated out this past summer.

But the spine of the Sooner defense will return up the middle.

Super senior captain Grace Lyons is back at shortstop to continue to flash the glove on highlight after highlight.

And while Lyons has starred in the field since 2019, her steady improvement at the plate has taken her game to the next level.

Last year, she posted numerous career highs, hitting 23 home runs with 70 RBIs with a .864 slugging percentage while also finishing the year with a .401 batting average.

Alongside Lyons is 2021 NFCA Freshman of the Year and two-time NFCA Unanimous First Team All-American in second baseman Tiare Jennings.

Read More 2023 Oklahoma Softball Preview

Jennings followed up her outstanding freshman season with 29 home runs and 87 RBIs last year, forming an explosive one-two punch with Jocelyn Alo in the OU lineup.

Breaking in a new teammates at first and third will be an ongoing process, but one that Lyons and Jennings are happy to help along.

“I think it’s been cool to kind of grow with Tiare and learn each other as we go,” Lyons said on Monday. “Middle infielders are one of your most important leaders on the field just because you’re relaying tings to the outfield and you want to be able to be behind your pitcher.

“… The newcomers are stepping in, whether they are on the team and finding a new position of they’re transfers. Everyone’s kind of on the same page of we just want to blend together and be on the same page in how we kind of run the infield.”

Arizona State transfer Cydney Sanders is likely to slot in beside Jennings at first base.

A finalist for NFCA Freshman of the Year in 2022, Sanders earned NFCA First Team All-American honors, hitting a Sun Devil single-season record 21 home runs while driving in 63 RBIs and posting a batting average of .425 while ending the year with a .984 fielding percentage.

Behind Sanders, Kinzie Hansen and Haley Lee have also played first base, giving Gasso depth at the position and the ability to move the batting lineup around for the different pitching matchups the Sooners will see.

At the other corner, the battle for third base could see a few different names this year.

Alyssa Brito has infield experience from her time at Oregon before she converted to play left field last year for OU.

Brito’s power ensure the Sooners had long-ball ability at both ends of the lineup last year, blasting 14 home runs and a .743 slugging percentage as well as career highs in RBIs (46), on-base percentage (.447) and walks (18) while only striking out 21 times.

Sanders’ former teammate at Arizona State, Alynah Torres, could also be an option for Gasso at third.

She manned the left side of the infield for the Sun Devils, registering 57 putouts with 11 errors last year.

Torres also brings power with her bat, hitting 16 long shots last year while batting .339 and knocking in 40 runs.

Redshirt freshman Quincee Lilio and true freshman Avery Hodge could also pop up in defensive roles in a pinch, as Gasso could look to build depth late in games. 

Want to join the discussion? Click here to become a member of the AllSooners message board community today!

Sign up for your premium membership to today, and get access to the entire Fan Nation premium network!

Follow AllSooners on Twitter to stay up to date on all the latest OU news.

Get your OU tickets from SI Tickets HERE.