Softball transfers start new chapters at WSU


Rachel Rudisill/ The Sunflower

Junior Zoe Jones celebrates after a successful play during the game against Central Oklahoma at Wilkins Stadium on Oct. 8.

After six seniors departed following the conclusion of the 2021 season, the Shocker softball program added two impact transfers from high-major programs during the offseason. 

Zoe Jones, a transfer from Texas Tech, comes to WSU after a three year career with the Red Raiders. Jones was named NFCA All Region-Third Team and All-Big 12 Freshman Team in 2019 with Texas Tech.  She had an overall career batting average of .283 and tallied 14 home runs, 11 doubles and 59 RBI’s. 

“It’s definitely a very easy transition. Everybody’s very welcoming with open arms,” Jones said. “I really like Coach (Bredbenner). I’ve known Coach B for awhile and out of high school obviously I chose Tech, but now I’m glad I’m here.

“I’m glad for the change. The culture is very competitive. Everybody’s competing for a spot every single day and everybody is really good. 

With Jones’ experience at the Division-I level, she feels that her experience can be beneficial to the younger players on the roster.

“Definitely playing power five my first three years has helped a lot with experience and from the people above me so I just want to be able to let the younger ones know what I’ve learned like playing teams like Arkansas, or OU, or OSU,” Jones said. “Just passing down what I’ve learned throughout the year.”

Head coach Kristi Bredbenner said she’s been impressed with Jones’ offense since arriving.

“Really been swinging the bat well and again will compete at third at a high level,” Bredbenner said.

The Shockers also added Arielle James, a graduate transfer from the University of Houston. At Houston, she was a three-time All Conference selection, named to the first team twice, and a two-time NFCA All – Region pick. James had an overall career batting average of .364, 10 home runs, 39 doubles, 79 RBI’s, and 118 runs scored. 

Senior Arielle James celebrates during the game against SNU at Wilkins Stadium on Sept. 24. (Rachel Rudisill/ The Sunflower)

James has not played collegiately the past two seasons after redshirting in 2020 and opting out of last season.

“It’s so much fun, I’ve been having a blast so far,” James said. “I think any transfer will say the transition’s a little difficult but it was almost seamless with this team. I love their work ethic, I like the way Wichita State plays, since I’ve been in high school. So, it’s been really fun to come and be a part of the team this year.”

James said that Bredbenner was a key reason she decided to become a Shocker and feels coaching style suits her game well.

“She’s really aggressive and she’s really hard working,” James said. “She stresses a lot that we’re a blue collar team. The way she coaches, it’s a lot different than what I had at Houston and I really appreciate it.”

Both transfers will have to wait over a month before they get to play in Wilkins Stadium for the first time. WSU is slated to play 29 straight road games, before their home opener against Kansas on March 23. 

James said it’ll be worth the wait.

“I’m so excited, I’m counting the days,” James said. “I cannot wait.”