San Jose, Calif. – San José State head softball coach Peter Turner, announced his program’s 2016-17 recruiting class on Friday morning. The class, who signed National Letters of Intent, includes eight incoming freshman, who will play for the Spartan beginning next school year, and one student-athlete who will compete for the program beginning next semester.
“After this year we lose a lot of very good everyday players in Jessie Hufstetler, Alyssa Martinez, Jessica Madrid, Taylor Purdy and Erin Rodriguez, so this class is extremely important to the future progress of our program,” Turner said.
“The field players we signed are versatile enough to play both infield and outfield. We recruit a lot of infielders, because they are usually the most athletic players on their team and move them to the outfield. I’m really bullish on this group. It’s a really good class and will cement our talent level for the next four years."
The class includes a pair of Australian National Team members in Chantelle Ladner and Georgia Blair. Ladner will join the team at the end of the fall semester and will compete for the Spartans in the upcoming season. Blair and seven others will begin competing for the Spartans next year. The rest of the class includes Mackenzie Drake, Cassidy Clark, Maricela Matos, Grace Garvey, Jacey Phipps, Morgan Orchard and Kacie Gresenz
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Mount Annan (Australia) High School
Ladner has been on the national and international softball stage for several years. She has been a member of the Australian U19 Team, which competed in the 2015 WBSC Junior World Championship. In addition, she earned the Best Pitcher Award and All-Tournament Team-Pitcher in the 2014 U19 Australia National Championship when she represented New South Wales. In 2013, she was the recipient of the Best Pitcher Award in the Australian U17 National Championships and was selected to the Aussie Sparks Development Team.
“We expect really big things in the circle from Chantelle,” Turner said. “Watching her play on an international stage, you can see she is very mature, just like our other national team players. She has a vicious down ball with good velocity, a great change-up and very good command. With her joining us next semester, we’ll be in a very strong position to make quick changes when we have to. She’ll help us immediately and will allow some of our younger pitchers to mature and develop without the pressure to perform at a top level right away.”
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
St. Margaret’s Assisi High School in Brisbane, Queensland
Blair, like Ladner, has been on the national and international softball stage for several years. She has been a member of the Australian U19 Team, which competed in the 2015 WBSC Junior World Championship. In 2013, she was a member of the Queensland team, which won the Australian U17 National Championships and earned an invitation to compete on the Aussie Sparks Development Team and the Australian U17 National Team. In addition, she competed in 2014 U19 Australia National Championship representing Queensland.
“Georgia will have the best arm on the team the minute she steps on the field. She is a middle infielder who can play multiple positions. She is a good hitter with good pop in her bat. Her arm is phenomenal and she has a very solid glove. She plays for the Australian National Teams in softball and baseball. She is an extremely talented athlete and we are very happy she has chosen to come to San José State.”
San Jose, California
Pioneer High School (coach Ernie Garcia)
Blossom Valley Athletic League (BVAL)
In the last two years her team has posted a 53-6 overall record, including 29-1 in 2015 when the team won the BVAL Championship. She earned 2015 first-team All-BVAL and was the team’s defensive MVP. In 2014, she earned CalHiSports second-team Underclassman All-State, first-team All-Mercury News, BVAL Sophomore of the Year and her team’s MVP. In 2013 she was honored as a BVAL Honorable Mention performer.
“We needed middle infield help and any players we signed had to be versatile enough to play both short and second. Mackenzie fits that bill. She has a good glove and is a good hitter that we will make into a great hitter.
“With the loss, after this year, of second baseman Taylor Purdy and shortstop Alyssa Martinez, we had a real need to get middle infield help. We have corner help but there is a real need to shore up the middle infield with this class. Mackenzie is one of the pieces we were looking for.
(5-3, middle infield)
Clovis West High School (coach Peggy Rigby)
Tri-River Athletic Conference (TRAC)
A 2015 first-team All-Valley and second-team All-TRAC performer, as well as, the team’s Offensive Player of the Year. In 2014, was honored with first-team All-TRAC and All-Valley selection and was named the team’s offensive MVP and a second-team NFCA West Region performer. As a freshman, was named a second-team All-TRAC player.
“Cassidy has a great glove and is a great athlete. I think she will surprise a lot of schools that passed on her. Because of her size (5-3) and lithe frame, a lot of the top programs didn’t pursue her the way we did. They have a formula that they follow. We don’t…a player is a player regardless of her height or size. She has pop in her bat and a really smooth fielder. She has a bright future.”
Newark Memorial High School (coach Rachel Kahoalii)
Mission Valley Athletic League (MVAL)
In 2015, earned first-team All-MVAL honors with a .581 batting average and 33 RBI and finished second in MVAL MVP voting. The team posted a 40-13 record in the last two years including 14-0 in MVAL play and the MVAL title in 2015. In 2014 was a first-team All-MVAL honoree.
“Maricela is a superb athlete who, like most of the infielders we signed, can play both middle infield positions, but we see her as the air apparent to Alyssa Martinez at shortstop. She is a very polished fielder and a very good hitter who we expect to pay dividends right away.”
Appleton North High School (coach Mike Mullen)
Fox Valley Association (FVA)
Earned 2015 first-team All-FVA and all-area honors as well as Honorable Mention All-State. She slugged .770, batted .426 with 24 RBI and four home runs. In 2014 was a second-team All-FVA performer who hit .468, slugged .638 and drove in 21. An Honorable Mention All-FVA as a freshman. Will be a team captain for the third consecutive year in 2016. Member of the National Honor Society
“Grace is prolific power hitter. Her father, Don, played for me on the USA Men’s National Team. She had other opportunities, but wanted to come out west. We are thrilled to have a hitter with her power, especially in our conference. She is tall, well built and very athletic. She’ll play catcher, but can be plugged into a number of different positions on the field. I see her hitting in the four or five hole and will replace the power of Jessie Hufstetler.”
Carlmont High School (coach Jim Liggget)
Peninsula Bay Athletic League (PBAL)
A three-year varsity starter who earned the team’s Rookie of the Year Award as a freshman as well as second-team All-PBAL honors. As both a sophomore and junior was named the team’s Offensive Player of the Year and a first-team All-PBAL selection. In the last two years she has led her team to a 49-9 record, 26-2 in PBAL play including back-to-back league championships. She has earned academic distinction and takes Advance Placement classes.
“Jacey is a very good hitter who brings a lot of power from the left side and will give us more depth in the outfield. I see Jacey as a replacement for Jessica Madrid. She can hit anywhere from the two to four hole. She hits for average and power.”
Norco High School (coach Rick Robinson)
Big VIII League
Led her team to the 2015 CIF Championship and a No. 6 national ranking. Earned the team’s Freshman, Sophomore and Junior of the Year honors. The team has gone 51-15 in the last two years. In the classroom, honored with All-Academic Team distinction.
Santiago High School (coach John Perez)
Big VIII League
Her team posted a 52-11 record in the last two years, 16-4 in Big VIII play including a 10-0 mark in 2013-14.
“We had a chance to pick up additional pitching, which I thought we will need. Both Morgan and Kacie will add depth to our staff. It was good timing to get them both. They were two of the better pitchers in southern California and competed against each other. In most cases you just get one, but we go lucky and were able to sign both. They both throw firm. Kacie throws really hard. Both have excellent command and throw multiple pitches.”