It has been amazing to see how many all-stars have gone on to play college ball. In the first three seasons, at least 29 players have gone on to play college ball. That means 1/3 all-stars goes on to play college ball each year. Several players were in the midst of strong seasons prior to the COVID-19 pandemic reaching the United States. There are five players that we were keeping a close eye on this spring.
If there were MVP awards for all-star series play, Jaime Barta (Bismarck High) would have been in the discussion in 2017. Days after leading Bismarck to a state championship game appearance in the circle, she starred both at shortstop and pitcher during the inaugural games.
Barta then had a cup of coffee with North Dakota State University as a freshman before transferring to Butler to play JUCO ball for the Grizzlies. Her play gave her more opportunities. After she hit .319 with a .374 on-base percentage, Barta began the first North Dakota softball player to ink with a power five conference school in Syracuse.
She started seven games and held a .231 batting average for Syracuse before her junior season was halted.
Morgan Geiszler also would have been in the running for MVP of the 2017 SCHEELS Softball All-Star Series if such a thing existed. She was part of the first ever Sheyenne High School team before playing in the first ever all-star series. She blasted the first homer in All-Star Series history.
Staying in state, Geiszler has gone on to a nice college career at the University of Jamestown. She played in a whopping 103 games between her freshman and sophomore campaigns. As a newcomer, she hit .388 with an on base percentage in the .400s. She also drove in 34 runs with 3 homers. The batting average and OBP dipped a bit as a sophomore, but the run production improved with 37 RBI.
Geiszler was off to a hot start as a junior, hitting .429 with 2 long balls and 11 knocked in over the course of the first 16 games.
Madison Sweep wrapped up her standout career at Central Cass with an appearance in the 2018 SCHEELS Softball All-Star Series. She was a home run machine in high school, so the infielder had opportunities when it came to college ball.
After graduating from Central Cass, she spent a short period of time with Dodge City Community College (Kansas) before returning to North Dakota to join NDSCS.
Sweep hit .389 with a .432 on base percentage for the 'Cats last season. She also blasted 5 home runs and drove in 31 over 33 games. She already had 2 long balls and 5 RBI in 6 games this season, while batting .571. Sweep locked up national player of the week honors in the early goings of the season.
Dickinson's Jordanne McNeilly was widely regarded as the top catcher in the state during her senior season of 2018. She capped that off with an all-star appearance before heading off to Minnesota State University Moorhead for a college career.
She hit .220 in her debut college season, but did provide seven extra base hits and 20 RBI in 47 games.
Through 14 games in 2020, it looked like the catcher was catching on. She led the Dragons with a .390 batting average and had already blasted 3 homers and drove in 9 runs.
Sydney Soulis was a coach's kid in high school. Her father Mike was the head coach at Jamestown while daughter Sydney put together a great career. Following her strong softball career, she was named an all-star after the 2018 season.
In 2020, she started nine games and played in 10 for the Vikings, who went on a historic run in the national playoffs last season. Soulis has 23 at bats, so she is getting her opportunities during her freshman season under a new coaching staff at VCSU.