Everything you need to know about the 2024 AUX Softball Season | The GIST

    🥎 The background

    AUX Softball is part of the broader Athletes Unlimited (AU) network, which includes softball, lacrosse, volleyball, and basketball events. AU launched in 2020 with softball as its debut sport, introducing an innovative player-centric format under which athletes compete fantasy-style to accrue individual points.

    • That’s right, AU (until the launch of AUSL) operates outside of the traditional, city-based, team format. There are no fixed squads (teams generally change weekly), top-performing players become captains who draft their own teammates each week, and the winner is an individual based on their performance.
    • AU’s played a crucial role in the women’s sports landscape ever since, giving athletes domestic pro opportunities that were previously unavailable. Game-changing, quite literally.

    And when it comes to softball, AU’s been at the center of a groundswell of momentum in the game. The last few years have seen WCWS attendance records shattered and eye-popping viewership numbers.

    • Now, with the sport’s return to the Olympics on the horizon at LA 2028, the AU softball action will be integral to the continued growth of the game.

    ⚙️ How AUX works

    While typical AU seasons last about a month, AUX is shorter, but oh-so sweet. Forty-two athletes will compete, playing 18 games from tomorrow night through Tuesday, June 25th in Wichita, Kansas.

    • Those 18 games are broken into three six-game series, with players re-drafted after each series as chosen by the three team captains.
    • Speaking of, the top three point earners from each series earn the captain honor and the right to select their team for the week ahead. Major middle school kickball vibes.

    As for those points, players can earn them in three ways: when their team wins a game or an inning, when they make a positive play in the field, and if they are voted one of the top 3 game MVPs by players and fans. Every moment counts.

    • At the end of the season, the athlete atop the leaderboard is crowned champion.

    🤩 The starpower

    Source: Athletes Unlimited

    Jocelyn Alo, designated player/outfielder: The NCAA’s all-time home run leader, a two-time USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, and a Savannah Banana — Alo does it all. Already crushing it at the pro level, she’s set to make her AU debut, bringing her devastating power to the Wichita diamond. Going, going…gone.

    Odicci Alexander, pitcher: The 2023 AU Pro Softball champion, Alexander became a household name during the 2021 WCWS for her superhuman plays and lights-out pitching. She’s an AU vet having competed in the league since 2021 — time to see if she can top the leaderboard on the AUX stage.

    Montana Fouts, pitcher: Fouts is known for her flame-throwing and strikeout-inducing stuff, a skill that will transfer well to AUX scoring as she makes her pro debut. Plus, she’s already proven she lives for the big moment having thrown a perfect game on her birthday during the 2021 WCWS. Take that, Hannah.

    Haylie McCleney, outfielder: An inaugural AU softball competitor, McCleney’s recognized as one of the game’s best. And while she excelled during her collegiate career at Alabama, McCleney really made a difference donning the red, white, and blue, winning two world titles and a silver medal with Team USA at the 2020 Olympics.

    📺 How to tune in

    Source: Athletes Unlimited

    The fun gets underway from Wichita, Kansas with an Opening Day doubleheader starting tomorrow at 6 p.m. ET. If you’re stateside, you can catch all the action on ESPN networks, and if you’re in Canada, TSN has you covered with all the happenings from the diamond. Play ball, baby.

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