Aleshia Ocasio is Athletes Unlimited softball champion

Aleshia Ocasio is the Athletes Unlimited individual softball champion.

The pitcher earned 2,096 points following a five weeks of competition against 60 of the world’s best players in games played at Parkway Bank Sports Complex in Rosemont, Illinois.

Ocasio finished 11th last year, despite missing three of the 15 games.

“I think the biggest thing carrying on from last year to this year has been really just understanding hitters a little bit better,” she said. “We’re facing the best top percentile in our sport and they see me every single week. So just learning as we go and scouting and figuring out how I can beat them and keep them off balance each and every time. And I was lucky enough to be able to draft a plan every week.”

Infielders Amanda Chidester and Kelsey Stewart and pitcher Carrie Eberle rounded out the top four point scorers.

Pitcher Cat Osterman, who won the championship last year, retired after finishing fifth in the standings this year. She had said before the season that this one would be her last.

Eberle was named the inaugural Rookie of the Year. She led Oklahoma State to the Women’s College World Series in June. Months later, she’s established herself among the best professionals in the world.

“We don’t have that many opportunities to play professionally, and I never thought I would do this back when I was a young girl, so to have this opportunity through Athletes Unlimited has been unbelievable,” she said.

Infielder Anissa Urtez was named Defensive Player of the Year.

Ocasio played college ball at the University of Florida and won a national title in 2015. She is a member of the Puerto Rico national team.

This season with Athletes Unlimited, she was a captain for three of the five weeks and was on winning teams for nine of 15 games. She had a 6-5 record with a 2.32 ERA, four complete games and 55 strikeouts in 66 innings.

As part of Athletes Unlimited’s Athletes Causes program, Ocasio elected to support the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, which will receive funding equal to 50 percent of her season bonus.

“Big thanks to Athletes Unlimited for allowing us to be ourselves, for giving us a platform and a space to be free, to be supported, to be heard and to be valued,” Ocasio said. “It’s been an incredible season, and it was so good to be back with our fans.”

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Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: twitter.com/CliffBruntAP.

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