all scores

AUX Softball: Top players clash in new two-week competition

Fueled by

Fueled by

Aleshia Ocasio returns for AUX after winning the AU Softball title last year. (Jade Hewitt/Athletes Unlimited)

Anyone looking to maintain their softball fix need look no further than AUX Softball, a condensed, three-series season that starts June 13.

On the heels of the Women’s College World Series, the new Athletes Unlimited softball tournament features some of the biggest names in softball. A total of 42 players have signed on for the season, including 2021 Athletes Unlimited champion Aleshia Ocasio.

What is it?

AUX is a new, two-week competition taking place June 13-26 in San Diego, Calif.

How does the points system work?

The rankings work the same way as in regular Athletes Unlimited seasons. Players will accumulate points for offensive and defensive plays as well as team wins. The players at the top of the leaderboard after each three-team, six-game series will then draft new teams. The leader at the end of the three series will be crowned champion.

Who is playing?

The most notable name on the roster, Aleshia Ocasio made a splash in her second AU season, winning the title with 2,096 points – nearly 400 more than the next closest player – and improving on her 11th-place finish from the year before.

The pitcher racked up 784 points on 196 total outs and allowed only 18 runs in a league-high 13 games pitched. Across 66 innings, Ocasio recorded 55 strikeouts and four complete games en route to a 2.32 ERA. With eight MVP honors on the season, she finished just one behind the record set by 2020 champion Cat Osterman.

Amanda Chidester, the runner-up in 2021, and Carrie Eberle, who placed fourth, are also heading to San Diego for AUX, and will serve as team captains for the first series alongside Ocasio.

In her second AU season, Chidester increased her points total from 1,030 (good for 32nd place in 2021) to 1,714. Eberle was named 2021 Rookie of the Year, thriving at the pro level after a successful college career at Oklahoma State.

Of the 13 college athletes drafted by Athletes Unlimited in early May, just three will participate in AUX: Maggie Balint, Georgina Corrick and Danielle Gibson.

Corrick, a pitcher out of South Florida, led the Bulls to the first round of the NCAA tournament this year and was named a finalist for USA Softball’s Collegiate Player of the Year award, won by Oklahoma slugger Jocelyn Alo. With a 28-5 record this season, Corrick had the most wins of any pitcher in the NCAA. She also set the program record — and led the country — with 20 shutouts while managing an impressive 0.53 ERA.

Balint, fresh off of her senior season at San Diego State, is also poised to be a threat in the circle. She began her freshman year at Oregon, where she was named to the Pac-12 all-freshman team and Pac-12 first team and was a finalist for NFCA National Freshman of the Year and USA Softball Player of the Year awards. This past season was Balint’s best with the Aztecs. In 41 appearances and 185 innings pitched, she went 18-6 with a 2.12 ERA.

Gibson, one of four finalists for the 2022 Honda Sport Award for softball, brings experience in the infield and at the plate. At Arkansas this season, she drove in 70 runs while posting a .445 batting average. The first-team NFCA All-American led the Razorbacks to the Super Regionals of the NCAA softball tournament, where they lost to eventual WCWS runner-up Texas.

When is it, and how do I watch?

As part of a recent broadcasting deal with ESPN, all AUX games will be aired on ESPN’s family of networks.

Series 1

Monday, June 13

  • Game 1 @ 6 p.m. ET on ESPNU
  • Game 2 @ 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN

Tuesday, June 14

  • Game 3 @ 7 p.m. ET on ESPNU
  • Game 4 @ 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU

Wednesday, June 15

  • Game 5 @ 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2
  • Game 6 @ 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2

Series 2

Saturday, June 18

  • Game 7 @ 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU
  • Game 8 @ 6:00 p.m. ET on ESPNU

Sunday, June 19

  • Game 9 @ 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU
  • Game 10 @ 6 p.m. ET on ESPNU

Monday, June 20

  • Game 11 @ 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2
  • Game 12 @ 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2

Series 3

  • Thursday, June 23
    • Game 13 @ 7 p.m. ET on ESPNU
    • Game 14 @ 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU
  •  Friday, June 24
    • Game 15 @ 7 p.m. ET on ESPNU
    • Game 16 @ 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU
  •  Saturday, June 25
    • Game 17 @ 7 p.m. ET on ESPNU
    • Game 18 @ 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU

Emma Hruby is an Associate Editor at Just Women’s Sports.