As the Arizona Wildcats made their first trip to the Women’s College World Series in nearly a decade, they also made steps to make sure another appearance is on the horizon.
Arizona’s 2019 recruiting class is ranked 15th in the country by Softball America. It consists of four players: Sharlize Palacios, Bella Dayton, Janelle Meono, and Alayna Hicks.
Here is what Softball America had to say about them:
The Skinny: Arizona lost three starters to graduation and will most likely use all three of its top-ranked freshmen in what should be another WCWS season for the Wildcats. Bella Dayton (No. 15), Janelle Meono (No. 38) and Sharlize Palacios (No. 44) are all going to make a difference in some way. Dayton, along with transfer Mariah Lopez, will help replace Taylor McQuillin in the circle, and if Palacios is healthy, she could see some time at first base after Rylee Pierce graduated.
It has to be pointed out that Dayton is an outfielder and will not be helping the Wildcats in the circle. She certainly can provide a boost in left or right field, however. The speedy Texan hit .579 in her senior season with six homers, eight doubles, and seven triples.
Palacios could see time at first base—or she could step in for senior catcher Dejah Mulipola behind the plate if Mulipola makes the 2020 U.S. Olympic roster (and thus misses Arizona’s season) as expected.
From Chula Vista, California, Palacios hit .566 with a school-record 11 home runs at Eastlake High School. Like Meono, she played for the OC Batbusters.
Meono, an outfielder, hit .588 with 47 hits, 29 runs, 12 RBI and 15 stolen bases as a senior at Glen A. Wilson High School. Both she and Palacios made the All-PGF Tournament team.
Hicks, a walk-on infielder from Mesa, hit .400 with 28 RBI and a 1.018 OPS as a senior at Red Mountain High School. She played club ball with the local Oro Valley Suncats.
Arizona’s 2020 class is shaping up to be a good one too. Two of their commits—Carlie Scupin and Jesse Fontes—made USA Today’s All-USA Second Team.