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UCF Softball Legend Stephanie Best Reflects on Her Career

UCF Softball legend Stephanie Best (Photo: Stephanie Best)
UCF Softball legend Stephanie Best (Photo: Stephanie Best)

Listen here as Eric Lopez interviews UCF Softball Hall of Famer Stephanie Best for In The Circle Podcast and on the SportsTalk Florida Insiders Show on 1080 The Team Orlando. Best discussed many topics including her company, ProSwings.

Best also discussed the growth of the UCF Softball program from when she played at start of the program (2002-2005) to where it is currently.

Best was a three-time A-Sun Player of the Year (2003-2005) while at UCF. Best still holds UCF career records in batting average, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, runs, hits, home runs, RBI, total bases and walks.

Best was named to the 2003 NFCA All-Region First Team and on the Second Team in 2004 and 2005. She was the first ever UCF Softball player to be inducted into the UCF Hall of Fame back in 2015.

Best also discussed former Knight All-American Shelby Turnier winning the National Pro Fast Pitch championship this summer with Chicago Bandits, joining Best (2007 with Washington Glory) and Allison Kime (2009 Rockford Thunder) as former UCF Softball players to win an NPF Championship.

Best discussed watching and playing with former UCF Knights great pitcher Allison Kime in the National Pro Fast Pitch League and why Best requested to be traded to play with Kime in the NPF. She also compares Kime to Mackenzie Audas and Shelby Turnier, who are 1-2-3 in just about every significant UCF career pitching category.

Best also shared her thoughts on other Knights players, Softball coming back to the Olympics, and much more in this in-depth interview.

One of the interesting questions down the road surround which UCF Softball players will potentially join Best in the UCF Softball Hall of Fame?

The rules are that players are not eligible until ten years after they played at UCF. The UCF Hall of Fame inductions are every other year. Here below are some candidates that should get consideration in the next year or when they become eligible.

2017 - Jania Shinhoster (2002-2005) - Shinhoster is 2nd all-time at UCF in HRs, Hits, RBIs,Total Bases, Slugging Pct, and Walks. If it was not for Stephanie Best, Shinhoster would hold most of UCF's offensive records, and so is overlooked perhaps by playing with Best. She was part of 2005 A-Sun Championship Team and first ever NCAA Tournament team.

2019 - Allison Kime (2006-2008) - Kime held all the pitching records by the time she left UCF, and led UCF to the C-USA Tournament Championship in 2008. She's the only pitcher in UCF history to have wins over Florida, Florida State, South Florida and Florida Atlantic. Kime threw four no-hitters, which is 2nd most in school history. Kime is the Knights' all-time leader in career ERA at 1.20. She was a two-time all region player and won an NPF Championship in 2009 alongside the great Cat Osterman with Rockford.

2023 - Natalie Land (2009-2012) - Three-time C-USA 1st team. 2nd all-time at UCF in stolen bases in career and in a single season. Land was part of two UCF NCAA Tournament teams (2010, 2012). All-Region player three times.

2025 - Mackenzie Audas (2012-2015) - CUSA Co Pitcher of Year (2012), CUSA Freshman of Year (2012), 1st Team CUSA (2012), 1st team American (2015), All-time leader in Strikeouts, No-Hitters in career at UCF. Part of 3 NCAA Tournament teams at UCF (2012,2014,2015). Part of 2 American Conference Regular season championships (2014-2015). Academic All-American (2015)

2025 - Kahley Novak (2012-2015) - All-time leader in stolen bases in a single season and for her career at UCF. Part of three NCAA Tournament teams and two American regular season championship teams. AAC Tournament Title (2015), All-Region in 2015, 1st team All-AAC in 2015. Picked in the 4th round of 2015 NPF Draft.

2025 - Farrah Sullivan (2012-2015) - AAC Player of the Year in 2014. Part of three NCAA Tournament teams, two regular season titles, AAC Tournament title (2015)

2027 - Shelby Turnier (2013-2016) - 1st Team All-American (2015), Top 10 Softball Player of the Year (2015), AAC 2015 Pitcher of the Year, UCF's all-time career leader in wins. Part of three NCAA Tournament teams (2014-2016) and two AAC regular season titles (2014-2015). AAC Tournament title in 2015 where Turnier pitched a one-hit shutout. Selected 11th overall in the 2016 NPF Draft by Chicago Bandits - the highest of any UCF Softball player. Won NPF Title in 2016.