Softball: 1st ever Hot 100 Player Ranks

Tiare Jennings’ high school career may have been hurt by injury and this year’s pandemic, but that did nothing to stop her rise as one of the elite national prospects for the Class of 2020. She will play next with a lot of other Californians at Oklahoma. Photo: Angelus News.

Partly as a result of the season getting shut down and our intention to provide extra coverage for spring sports athletes, for the first time we are adding Hot 100 player rankings for softball, specifically focusing on the Class of 2020. We also found the perfect person to do it, longtime Southern California softball analyst and longtime former Orange County Register sportswriter Carlos Arias. He now works for the national softball website (which is the same site we provide work for on national rankings). For the Class of 2020 in California, the top college prospect in the state is considered to be Tiare Jennings from St. Anthony of Long Beach. We aren’t going to have to choose between Pleasanton Foothill’s Nicole May and Norco’s Sarah Willis for player of the year honors since there can’t be those honors this year, but as a prospect for the next level we do have one ranked higher than the other. Look for an upcoming Hot 100 player ranking as well for California softball on this site for the Class of 2021 coming soon.

Note: This is a Gold Club post on We will have free Senior Salutes for softball players ongoing for the next two months or longer, but we also will be continuing to do Gold Club content for softball as well, including the upcoming Hot 100 player rankings plus state record updates and more historical features. For sign up info, CLICK HERE.

Power, instincts, athleticism … are just a few of the adjectives people in the softball world use to describe St. Anthony of Long Beach SS Tiare Jennings, who has signed with Oklahoma. She is the total package according to scouts on the West Coast, who believe she’s the top middle infielder in the nation. She batted .556 with only four strikeouts in 173 at-bats in her career with the Saints. Defensively, she only had four errors in 50 career games. For these reasons, Jennings checks in at No. 1 in Cal-Hi Sports’ 2020 Hot 100 Rankings.

Jennings is joined on the 2020 Hot 100 by some very talented teammates from St. Anthony with No. 5 3B Thessa Malau’ulu (UCLA) and No. 7 3B/1B Zaida Puni (Oklahoma). When the trio were healthy and on the same field together, they helped St. Anthony win a CIF-Southern Section Division 6 championship as freshmen. They were off to an 8-0 start this spring before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hit and the season was lost.

No.’s No. 2 and 3 in the 2020 Hot 100 are occupied by two of the top pitchers in the nation with Foothill of Pleasanton P/3B Nicole May (Oklahoma) and Norco P/OF Sarah Willis (Washington), respectively.

Sarah Willis was one of the top softball pitchers in the nation and she was a standout on the basketball court. Photo:

May was an Extra Inning Softball 1st Team All-American and Cal-Hi Sports Junior of the Year after going 24-0 with a 0.32 ERA and 246 Ks in 151 innings and leading the Falcons to a CIF-North Coast Section Division I championship last season. May is also the ace of the OC Batbusters-Stith staff and a big reason why the Batbusters are expected to contend for a PGF 18U national championship in the summer if the season picks up. May’s ability to also play the corner positions and hit for power and high average could help get early playing time for the Sooners.

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