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Atalyia Rijo bringing star-power to Arkansas softball

Atalyia Rijo bringing star-power to Arkansas softball
Atalyia Rijo was selected as the Gatorade New York Softball Player of the Year. (Courtesy: @AtalyiaRijo8/Twitter)

CORNING, N.Y. (BVM) – Atalyia Rijo has achieved it all throughout her time on the high school softball diamond. After finding team success early on in her career, Rijo added a personal achievement to the mix this past month.

The recent Corning-Painted Post graduate secured the Gatorade New York Softball Player of the Year award following her dominant 2022 campaign. The Hawks’ shortstop batted .585 with five triples, seven home runs, 21 RBIs and 43 runs scored during her senior season, all while racking up an OPS of 1.860. The standout year captured not only the attention of coaches in her area, but also the state.

“I have never seen a player, boy or girl, with the skill set of Atalyia Rijo,” Ithaca High School head coach Gordon Begent said. “She has a cannon for an arm and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched her make a play that I thought was impossible. She also has one of the most impressive offensive games in the country. She has speed, good hand-eye control and hits for both average and power.”

Rijo’s season has her primed for her upcoming freshman year at the University of Arkansas. Joining one of the top teams in the country, Rijo will look to give the Razorbacks’ lineup a major bump after the team lost in the Super Regionals to Texas. Back in November, Extra Inning Softball recognized Arkansas’ incoming class by ranking them No. 1 in the nation for 2022, with eight commits nationally ranked inside the top 30 of Extra Inning Softball’s Extra Elite 100.

“Our 2022 class has it all,” Arkansas head coach Courtney Deifel said. “These nine student-athletes bring a high level of speed, power, athleticism, and elite pitching and are also incredibly passionate about Arkansas. This class not only elevates our play on the field, they also fit perfectly into the culture that we have established for Razorback softball.”

The Arkansas rising freshman first cracked the high school varsity team in the eighth grade where she earned sixth team all-state selection honors in her opening campaign. Rijo would follow it up as a freshman and junior (pandemic canceled sophomore year) earning a first team Class AA all-state selection.

Her individual work helped the Hawks to a state title in 2019, while bringing the team to a sectional championship when Corning returned to the field in 2021. This year’s Hawks squad went 18-2 on the season before bowing out against Horsehead for a sectional title.

Rijo’s historic high school career also earned her an opportunity on the Dominican Republic national team. Her father, Fernando, is a native of the Dominican Republic and played professional baseball with stints in the minors and independent leagues. Her family roots in the game continue with her mother, who is an assistant softball coach at Corning.

With plenty of returning talent and a top-ranked incoming class, look for Rijo and the Razorbacks to make some noise during the 2023 softball season as the freshman looks to bring her big bat to the next level.