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

Who are the top shortstops in Ohio high school softball this season?
Hannah Hunt photo by Gabe Haferman

Hannah Hunt photo by Gabe Haferman

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

We started with the top first basemen, then second basemen, and now it's the shortstops' turn.

There are hundreds of outstanding shortstops 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 a starting third baseman or ace pitcher listed here as a shortstop, for example.

Kirnan Bailey, Gahanna Lincoln, junior

Bailey led the team with a .488 batting average, 30 runs and 20 stolen bases as a sophomore. She started all 27 games at shortstop and was slated as a freshman to be starting shortstop before COVID ended the season. A lefty slapper, defenses have a tough time trying to decide if she will swing away or stay soft laying a bunt down. She makes everyone around her better whether directing on the field or picking up a down teammate. The loudest on the field at all times, she is a field general with amazing speed, a high IQ and a girl who can swipe any base at any time.

Colleen Bare, Pickerington Central, senior

Bare hit nine home runs and earned first-team all-Ohio Capital Conference-Buckeye Division and first-team all-Central District honors last season. She has committed to play at Central Arkansas.

Hannah Bendle, John Glenn, junior

Bendle was named a first-team all-Ohio selection in Division II last season. She split time between shortstop and the pitching circle. She hit .585 with 55 RBIs and scored 78 runs, while also going 11-0 with a 1.25 ERA.

Niki Bode, Oak Hills, junior

The speedy leadoff hitter hit .505 with a school-record 43 runs scored last season and stole 28 bases. She and twin sister Abby play the middle infield together for Oak Hills and rack up the double plays defensively. Niki had a fielding percentage of .944 and was a first-team all-conference selection. She is committed to the University of Evansville.

Aubrey Bouillon, New Riegel, senior

Earned first-team all-Ohio honors last season in Division IV and helped lead New Riegel to its first state semifinal appearance since 2015.

Annika Bredel, Elyria Catholic, senior

Bredel was a Division III first-team all-Ohio selection last season and earned it by breaking multiple Lorain County records at the plate. She hit .758 with 17 home runs and 70 RBIs to etch her name in the county record books.

Kaitlen Bush, Belpre, junior

Bush led the team in almost every offensive category and earned second-team all-Ohio honors last season. She led Belpre in batting average (.598), on-base percentage (.602), slugging percentage (1.085), runs scored (35), hits (49), doubles (16), home runs (eight), stolen bases (15) and RBIs (39). Her eight home runs were a school record. Her coach says, “Kaitlen is the type of player that every coach wants on their team — 110% at all times both defensively and offensively. Her athletic ability and talent on the softball field brings an energy that her teammates feed off of and she is a huge asset to our team.”

Asti Coppes, Antwerp, junior

Coppes hit .613 with 13 doubles, four triples and eight home runs as a sophomore. She was named the county player of the year and earned honorable mention all-Ohio honors, along with being selected first-team All-GMC Conference and first-team all-district.

Delaney Ellis, Massillon Perry, sophomore

Ellis stepped into the starting role at shortstop as a freshman and helped the Panthers capture the Division I state title. She hit.327 with nine doubles, three triples and a home run while scoring 33 runs. She is ultra-aggressive and has a very high softball IQ. Ellis is hitting leadoff this season as Perry lost several starters from a year ago.

Molly Grace, Lakota West, senior

Grace earned second-team all-Ohio honors by hitting .610 with 48 RBIs, both good for second in the Greater Miami Conference. Her 61 hits and 22 doubles were tops in the GMC. She also hit six home runs and scored 52 times.

Hannah Hunt, Watkins Memorial, senior

A first-team all-Ohio honoree in Division I, she hit .566 with 12 home runs and 58 RBIs. She helped lead Watkins Memorial to 33 wins and a spot in the state championship game. She has signed with Bowling Green to continue her softball career.

Jenna Johnston, Wellston, senior

Johnston hit .554 with 11 doubles, three triples, six homers and 27 RBIs last season to be named the Tri-Valley Conference offensive player of the year. The third-team all-Ohio selection also scored 41 runs on the season.

Jordyn Keim, Garaway, sophomore

Earned first-team all-district and all-conference honors as a freshman. She started all 29 games in her first year of high school softball and has already been voted as a team captain in just her sophomore season. She has great range playing at short and has a rocket arm. On the offensive side, she hits third in the lineup and is dangerous on the bases.

Cassidy Kettleman, Amherst Steele, senior

Earned first-team all-Ohio honors last season and was the Southwestern Conference player of the year while breaking the school records for batting average (.637), hits (65), RBIs (50) and runs (53). She also hit 10 home runs and seven triples. She moves to shortstop this season after playing center field as a freshman and a junior (no sophomore season due to COVID). Her coach says, “Cassidy is a great teammate and even better leader. She is always cheering her teammates on and trying to help them become better players. Cassidy is very coachable and plays the game with a lot of passion, and that trickles down to every one of her teammates.” The reigning Lorain County Player of the Year is committed to Indiana University.

Abby Kennelly, Anthony Wayne, sophomore

As a freshman, Kennelly announced her arrival to high school softball by hitting .519 with 67 hits, tied for the 18th-most hits in a season in OHSAA history. She was a part of an Anthony Wayne offense that went into the OHSAA record books in several categories, including the most hits in a season by a team (sixth-most with 426).

Kyleigh Kirby, Miami East, senior

Earned first-team all-Ohio accolades last season in Division III with a .504 batting average, 10 doubles, four triples, six homers and 41 RBIs. She plays shortstop (her best position) and pitcher and will spend a lot of time in the circle this season due to a team need. She is a rare combination of speed and power from the right side of the plate. Her coach describes her as a team-first player who works hard to make her teammates better, not just herself.

Bri Landers, Tiffin Columbian, senior

Landers hit .573 last season to earn first-team all-Ohio honors in Division II. A fast and smart baserunner, she swiped 63 bases in 64 attempts. Defensively, she had 154 chances in the field and made only five errors.

Hailey Massaro, Triway, senior

Led the team in batting average (.589), RBIs (86), and homers (14) last season and was named second-team all-Ohio. Her power, discipline and ability to hit all styles of pitching make her one of the most dangerous hitters in Ohio. Her coach believes when you combine her defensive prowess with her offensive abilities, she is one of the best all-around players in the state.

Baylee Mirgon, Berne Union, junior

She was named second-team All-Ohio in Division IV and the Mid-State League-Cardinal Division Player of the Year as a sophomore when she hit .722 with 52 hits, 57 RBIs and had 49 runs scored. She is also an important piece of the Berne Union pitching staff.

Kam Utendorf, Columbus Grove, senior

Utendorf is a slap hitter who plays shortstop and pitches for Columbus Grove. The left-handed hitter had a .527 batting average with 49 hits, 39 runs and 31 stolen bases last season. She has been named first-team all-conference in each of her two seasons and was honorable mention all-Ohio last year. She has signed to continue playing at the collegiate level for Black Hawk College in Illinois.