Best college softball players of all time include Lisa Fernandez, Cat Osterman, Monica Abbott, Jessica Mendoza and Natasha Watley.

Softball is one of the most popular sports in the US with more than 120k teams and over two million players registered in the country.

Played on a smaller diamond than baseball, Softball is considered one of the best sports for women. The history of softball dates back to 1887.

There remains a huge passion for softball at the collegiate level with kids training from a very young age to excel in the sport. Moreover, college softball games also get huge recognition in national athletics.

Here are some of the best softball players in history due to their contributions to their varsity team and Team USA.

Lisa Fernandez

Lisa Fernandez was named the best softball player of all time. She played college softball at UCLA as a pitcher and third baseman. 

The 5 feet 6 inches tall Lisa continues to hold the UCLA records for career shutouts, WHIP, and winning percentage. She was inducted into the USA Softball Hall of Fame for her valuable contributions.

Lisa starred for the Bruins during her professional career.
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Fernandez was a two-time national champion and four-time first-team All-American. She also bagged three Pac-12 Player of the Year award.

Furthermore, she also won four Honda Sports Awards for softball and became the first softball player to win the Honda-Broderick Cup in 1993.

The 52-year-old is still vested in the game after retiring from playing career. Lisa currently serves as the associate head coach at UCLA where she instructs the likes of Savannah Pola, Maya Brady, Kelli Godin, and others.

Jennie Finch

Jennie Finch is a former pitcher for the Arizona Wildcats softball team. Finch led the team to triumph at the 2001 Women's College World Series.

During her senior year in 2002, she won the Pitcher of The Year and Honda Sports Award for softball. Her legacy continued among the Wildcats fans as the university retired her jersey No. 27 the following year.

Finch with her husband and kids (right photo) in December 2022.
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Meanwhile, she later led Team USA to gold at the 2004 Summer Olympics and silver at the 2008 Summer Olympics. Finch then played her pro career with the Chicago Bandits of the NPF from 2005 to 2010.

She retired in 2010 and founded JF Softball Academy the same year. Meanwhile, she has continued her position as a board advisor at NPF.

Finch is in a marital relationship with former Arizona MLB pitcher Casey Daigle. The athletic couple is blessed with two sons and a daughter. 

Monica Abbott

Monica Abbott played with the Tennessee Lady Volunteers from 2004 to 2007. She leads the NCAA Division I in wins, strikeouts, shutouts, and innings to date.

The former pitcher won a silver medal with the US national team at the 2008 and 2020 Summer Olympics during her illustrious career.

Monica in and out of the softball ground in recent years.
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The Santa Cruz native is a 2022 World Games champion, two-time Pan American Games champion in 2007 and 2019, and three-time ISF Women's World Champion in 2006, 2010, and 2018 with Team USA.

Monica professionally played in the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) and Japan Softball League for the majority of her professional career.

She recently bid adieu to her playing days in February 2023 and has signed with the Lady Vols as their assistant coach.

Cat Osterman

Cat Osterman is regarded as one of the best college softball pitchers of all time. Cat played for the Texas Longhorns from 2002 to 2006.

Osterman graduated from Cypress Springs High School in Cypress. She later set a national record for 33 strikeouts in 14 innings game.  

Furthermore, she also became a four-time All-American and a six-time professional All-Star during her time with the Longhorns. 

Osterman recently celebrated her 40th birthday in New Braunfels, Texas
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Catherine bagged a gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics and silver medals at the 2008 and 2020 Olympics with the US national team.

Osterman first retired in 2008 but came back for the Olympics in 2019. As of 2021, she retired once again at 38 and has drifted to her family life.

She is married to Joey Ashley, a fellow assistant coach with the Texas State men's golf program. The couple has two daughters named Bracken and Jaycee. 

Jessica Mendoza

Jessica Mendoza began her career as the Los Angeles Times Player of the Year in 1998. Mendoza was ranked as the greatest outfielder in college softball history.

The 5 feet 9 inches tall Jessica won the Pac-12 Newcomer of the Year award right after her debut in 1999. She also led the Stanford Cardinals to their first-ever Women's College World Series appearance in 2001.

Jessica was also a top 25 finalist for USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year. She won a gold and silver medal with Team USA in the Olympics.

Mendoza (right photo) covering the World Series Game 5 in Philadelphia in November 2022.
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Jessica joined National Pro Fastpitch in 2005 and played with Arizona Heat and USSSA Pride. After her pro career, she joined ESPN as an MLB analyst in 2007.

The eminent outfielder became the first ESPN female broadcaster in 2015 for an MLB game. Five years later, she became the first female World Series analyst on any national platform in October 2020.

Mendoza is happily married to Adam Burks with two sons. She is also a trustee of the Women's Sports Foundation.

Alicia Hollowell

Alicia Hollowell played college softball as a pitcher for Arizona Wildcat from 2003 to 2006. Alicia is also a former Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year.

She holds the records for most career strikeouts, shutouts, and innings pitched by a Wildcat. Hollowell guided her varsity team to the title of 2006 Women's College World Series in her senior year.

Hollowell (right photo) with her husband and two kids in 2022.
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Hollowell is regarded as one of the best softball pitchers of all time in recognition of her phenomenal career strikeouts.

After a successful collegiate career, she won silver with Team USA at the 2008 Summer Olympics. She also spent a brief time in NPF.

Alicia later switched to a coaching career at the University of California before returning to the Arizona Wildcats in an operational role.

She was later promoted to the assistant coach role for Arizona in 2012. Two years later, she left the program to seek other opportunities in life.

Courtney Blades

Courtney Blades was a batting pitcher for the Southern Miss Golden Eagles from 1999 to 2000. She was born and raised in Baton Rouge.

She previously played college softball for Nicholls State Colonels the previous year. Blades won both the Southland Player of the Year and Southland Pitcher of the Year awards in 1998.

She also bagged an All-USA, USA Pitcher of The Year, USA MVP, and a First Team All-American citation in 2000.

Blades and husband Chad (right photo) in February 2023.
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The same year, Blades won the Honda Sports Award for Softball 2000, making her the best collegiate player that year. Meanwhile, she was recently named the number 7 greatest NCAA pitcher of all time.

Courtney tied the knot with Chad Rogers on 22 September 2001. The 44-year-old veteran is a mother of two offspring as of now.

Leah O'Brien

Leah O'Brien is a former outfielder for the Arizona Wildcats softball team from 1993 to 1997. Leah was eminent for hitting with her left hand.

She won three NCAA championships with the Wildcats in 1993, 1994, and 1997. She was at the top of the Wildcats roster to graduate with a high career average and doubles, a record she continues to hold.

O'Brien (right photo) during her work time as an analyst.
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O'Brien also ranked in the top 10 for hits in the NCAA. After her collegiate career, she bagged three gold medals at the 1996, 2000, and 2004 Olympics with Team USA.

Leah is a USA Softball Hall of Fame honoree for her contributions to the sport. She now works as a college softball analyst for ESPN and Westwood One.

Dot Richardson

Dot Richardson played college softball at UCLA from 181 to 1983. Dorothy spent her freshman year at Western Illinois in 1980.

She won the inaugural 1982 NCAA Division I softball tournament where she was a shortstop. She played the sport professionally after college with the Florida Rebels.

Her pro career continued with the Raybestos Brakettes from 1984 to 1994. Her last team before her retirement was the California Commotion of Woodland Hills.

Richardson throughout her time as a softball player to a coach.
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Richardson is also known for winning gold at the 1996 Olympics with the United States national team. Her home run actually won the game.

She grabbed another gold medal with the national team at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Her contributions to the winning game granted her the honor of being a USA Softball Hall of Fame.

Meanwhile, Dot took on the position of head softball coach at Liberty University on July 17, 2013. She is currently working as a orthopedic surgeon.

Natasha Watley

Natasha Watley is regarded as one of the best softball hitters of all time. Watley was a shortstop for the UCLA Bruins from  2001 to 2004.

She led the Bruins to the 2003 NCAA Division Championship title. Her other accomplishments also include the three straight Women’s College World Series. 

Natasha with boyfriend and baby Karter (right photo) in December 2022.
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Natasha is also the first-ever African-American woman to play softball on Team USA in the Olympics.

The 5 feet 10 inches tall athlete bagged gold during the 2004 Summer Olympics and silver at the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Her achievements made her establish the Natasha Watley Foundation (NWF), a community service nonprofit that works to teach softball to the girls of the nation’s inner cities.

The former Bruins star player has been the MLB youth ambassador for four years as of 2023. Meanwhile, she has a daughter named Karter.