OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Clemson softball head coach John Rittman and reigning USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Valerie Cagle will represent the Clemson softball program with the USA Softball Women’s National Team at the 2023 Japan All-Star Series, the organization announced on Thursday. Slated to take place August 4-7, the 16-player WNT roster and four coaches will go head-to-head with world-ranked No. 2 Japan in a three-game series held across three cities in Japan – Fukushima Azuma Stadium – Tokyo Olympic Games softball venue), Iwakuni (Kizuma Stadium – host of WNT pre-Olympic training) and Yokohama (Yokohama Stadium – Tokyo Olympic Games softball venue).
USA Softball Release
Rittman will guide the Red, White and Blue’s roster in the Japan All-Star Series. He enters his first season as head coach for the WNT after previously serving as an assistant coach for various seasons where he helped lead the Eagles to three WBSC World Championship gold medals (2002, 2006, 2016), two Pan American Games gold medals (2003, 2007) and two Olympic medals (2004 – gold, 2008 – silver).
“I am incredibly honored and humbled to represent our country alongside such a talented group of women at the Japan All-Star Series,” said Rittman. “We are going to compete at the highest level and have a lot of fun while doing so.”
Cagle, a Yorktown, Virginia native, is a part of the 16-athlete roster that was selected by the Women’s National Team Selection Committee following the conclusion of the 2023 U.S. Women’s Fast Pitch Camp earlier this month.
This is Cagle’s first USA Softball Women’s National Team selection, and second all-time with USA Softball after previously helping the USA Junior National Team win gold at the U-18 WBSC World Cup and Junior Pan American Softball Championship in November and December of 2021. During her short stint with the JNT, Cagle gave an all-around performance after hitting three home runs, including two grand slams, for 10 RBIs in a single game. She scored six runs off 10 hits to maintain a .526 average through nine games. In the circle, she pitched a total of 25.1 innings with 48 strikeouts and maintained a perfect 0.00 ERA en route to earning four wins.
During the 2023 season, she led the Tigers at the plate with a .469 average after clocking a program-record 83 hits, including 19 home runs and 15 doubles. The two-time ACC Player of the Year tallied 57 RBIs and scored 50 while maintaining a .887 slugging percentage and .565 on-base percentage. In the circle, the three-time All-ACC First Team selection posted a 1.56 ERA and struck out 188 batters in 193 innings of work. She earned 25 victories and posted eight solo shutouts that included a five-inning perfect game. Following her redshirt junior season, Cagle also was named the Rawlings Gold Glove recipient (Pitcher), the D1Softball Player of the Year, an NFCA First Team All-American and Easton/NFCA All-America Scholar Athlete.