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Softball | General | 11/22/2021

Softball Signing Day Highlights: Big 10

Jerry Miller     
Photo: Perfect Game
The Big 10 is one of, if not the deepest and most competitive conferences in the country. Every school in the conference fields a fastpitch team, and when league play rolls around each year, the intense rivalries that are prevalent throughout all sports in the Big 10 make for a highly-competitive spring. The collective 2021-22 signing classes show just how impactful the Big 10 is on the national scene. The Big 10 coaching staffs have received signatures from some of the most gifted players in the country. There are numerous squads in the conference who are loaded with talent. A NCAA National Championship for the Big 10 Conference is certainly a probability over the course of the next few years, especially when this elite class of players makes their collegiate debuts.
In her seventh year in Champaign-Urbana, Tyra Perry has built a solid Illini program that will be in the mix for a conference title next spring. The solid University of Illinois program will be infused next fall with five recently-signed standouts from across the country. Eichelberger Field, which has seen seven NCAA Tournament teams in the past, will once again be home to a highly-competitive squad that has its sights set on a Big 10 crown and a trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Gabby Debevec – INF – Antioch, Ill.
Juliana Hooker – P – Coral Springs, Fla.
Reese Hunkins – INF – Huntley, Ill.
Sydney Malott – INF – Liberty, Mo.
Alaina Miller – OF – New Palestine, Ind.
Shondra Stanton, now in her fifth year at Indiana, has impacted the Hoosier program in a big way. The veteran skipper, who spent 18 years at Marshall building a solid Thundering Herd program, has 560 career victories. She and her staff have IU ready to not only compete for a Big 10 championship, but to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. Andy Mohr Field, one of the very best venues in the country, gives IU a decided home field advantage and the Hoosiers are primed for 2022 and a long stretch of success when the 2021-22 signing class arrives next fall.
Avery Parker – C/UT – Westfield, Ind.
Chloe Geijer – INF/UT – Frankfort, Ill.
Sophie Kleiman – P – Evansville, Ind.
Taryn Kern – MIF – San Jose, Calif.
Elle Smith – OF – Blue Spring, Mo.
Cassidy Kettleman – UT – Amherst, Ohio
Bob Pearl Field in Iowa City has seen 16 NCAA Tournament clubs and four WCWS participants. Renee Gillispie and her trusted staff have the Big 10 championship-level Hawkeyes primed for a highly-successful 2022. Gillispie, a West Texas A&M Hall of Famer, has in this recruiting cycle secured signatures from nine standout players from across the country and with their arrival next fall, the Hawks will continue to impact the upper echelon of Big 10 play.
Jalen Adams – P – Fort Dodge, Iowa
Tory Bennett – UT – Fort Dodge, Iowa
Sterling Berndt – P – Corydon, Iowa
Avery Jackson – OF – Kankakee, Ill.
Echo Mottiello – OF – Mesa, Ariz.
Bailey Olerich – OF – Tiffin, Iowa
Skylinn Pogue – INF/C – Eureka, Mo.
Anna Streff – INF/UT – Marion, Iowa
Kelsey Winters – P/INF – Tampa, Fla.
Veteran skipper Mark Montgomery owns 587 career victories in his 19-year career. In his third year in College Park, he has the Terrapins on the championship cusp. The Maryland Softball Complex will see how impactful Coach Montgomery’s national presence truly is beginning next fall when his vaunted 2021-22 recruiting class arrives on campus. Coach Montgomery and his staff have infused enthusiasm into the Terps program, and with the influx of this very talented class next fall, the UM program will certainly continue making waves in the Big 10.
Nicole Bodeux – P – Fulshear, Texas
Keira Bucher – P – San Diego, Calif.
Genevieve Ebaugh – P – Landenberg, Pa.
Sydney Lewis – INF – Prosper, Texas
Madison Runyan – INF – West, Texas
Sammi Woods – INF – Mission Viejo, Calif.
There may not be a more respected and successful coach in all of America than Michigan’s Carol Hutchins. The Wolverine softball mentor, now in her 38th year in Ann Arbor, shows no signs of slowing down, as evidenced by the just-signed 2021-22 recruiting class. UM, under Coach Hutchins, has made 28 appearances in the NCAA Tournament. Michigan’s 12 trips to the WCWS and 2005 National Championship show the dominance of a program built on fundamental execution and a team-first mentality. The NFCA Hall of Famer, who has 22 Big 10 titles in the trophy case, has inked an elite class made up of some of the very best talent from across the land. Alumni Field has been one of the most dominant home fields in the country and the sight of a number of epic games, and when the next class arrives in the fall, the tradition of excellence that is Michigan softball will only be enhanced.
Maddie Erickson – 3B/P – Wilsonville, Ore.
Avery Fantucci – INF – Atlanta, Ga.
Janelle Ilacqua – INF – Fort Mill, S.C.
Indiana Langford – INF/OF – Carlsbad, Calif.
Madi Ramey – INF/OF – Allen Park, Mich.
Michigan State
Hall of Fame head coach Jacque Joseph, in her 29th year at Michigan State, has built one of the most respected programs, not only in the Big 10, but across the entirety of the NCAA. A former standout player for Hall of Fame coach Margo Jonker at Central Michigan, Coach Joseph and her staff have the Spartans consistently in the mix for a Big 10 crown and a trip to the NCAA Tournament. State-of-the-art Secchia Stadium is one of the country’s premier venues and gives the Spartans an unquestioned home field advantage, especially during conference play. With the arrival in East Lansing next fall of MSU’s recently-signed class, Michigan State will look to contend once again for a Big 10 championship and a trip to the NCAAs.
Kayla Bane – OF – Chesterfield, Mich.
Britain Beshears – INF – Novi, Mich.
Hailey Bila – OF – Lewisburg, Mich.
Sydney Doloszycki – INF – Saint John, Ind.
Mandy Esman – INF/C – Kalamazoo, Mich.
Bibiana Rodriguez – INF – Victorville, Calif.
Golden Gopher softball is used to success. With 15 NCAA Tournament appearances and a 2019 trip to the WCWS under its belt, the University of Minnesota has high expectations each and every year. Head coach Piper Ritter, in her second year in Minneapolis, has UM softball on center stage and the program is ready to make a push toward another Big 10 crown and a return trip to the NCAA Tournament. Jane Sage Cowles Stadium is yet another Big 10 facility of note, giving the Gophers a decided advantage in recruiting and during the competitive season. The Gophers are constructed to win and win big and when the 2021-22 recruiting class arrives next fall, look for UM softball to impact the national stage.
Sydney Schwartz – P/UT – Victoria, Minn.
Breezy Burnett – OF – Jacksonville, Fla.
Billi Connell – OF – Luverne, Minn.
Addi Leschber – 1B/OF – Thrall, Texas
Jess Oakland – MIF – San Jose, Calif.
Husker head coach Rhonda Revelle, now in her eighth year in Lincoln, has Nebraska, as usual, at the top of the Big 10. The Hall of Famer is the winningest coach, male or female, in the history of the University of Nebraska and has the Huskers primed to impact the national stage once again. NU softball has made 25 trips to postseason play and has been to eight WCWS in Oklahoma City. Bowlin Stadium is one of the country’s top venues and plays a big role in the long success of this nationally-recognized program. The Huskers' home field is certain to play host to another outstanding Nebraska squad next spring and for years to come. The 2021-22 signing class will only add to the already outstanding Nebraska roster.
Dakota Carter – OF – Eastvale, Calif.
Talia Tokheim – OF – San Carlos, Calif.
Katelyn Caneda – INF/OF – Cerritos, Calif.
Aliana Felix – INF/OF – Tucson, Ariz.
Haidyn Warner – C – Oro Valley, Ariz.
Ashley Smetter – INF – Lincoln, Neb.
Entering her 21st year at the helm of the Northwestern softball program, Kate Drohan, along with her trusted assistants Caryl Drohan, Michelle Gascoigne, and Morgan Newport, have maintained and further built one of the top programs in the Big 10 and the country. Taking over for her mentor, the legendary Sharon Drysdale, Coach Drohan, a standout at Providence during her playing days, has with the help of her twin sister, Caryl, consistently kept the Wildcats in the national conversation. Drysdale Field, named after the Hall of Famer, has been the scene of many outstanding clubs who dominate in Evanston. With 19 appearances in the NCAA Tournament and five trips to the WCWS in OKC, the purple-clad Wildcats are among the nation’s elite. The 2021-22 recruiting class will, without question, keep Northwestern at the top of the Big 10 and always in line for postseason play.
Lily Vallimont – C – Trenton, Mich.
Kelsey Nader – OF – Canton, Mich.
Bridget Donahey – INF – Phoenix, Ariz.
Kansas Robinson – INF – Indianapolis, Ind.
Ohio State
In her 10th season in Columbus, former Michigan All-American Kelly Kovach Schoenly, who has 455 career wins to her credit, has the Buckeyes in a position to once again impact the top of the Big 10 standings and return to postseason play. Buckeye Field, a dominant home field for OSU, has been witness to 11 NCAA qualifying teams and the next few years, especially considering the recently-inked elite recruiting class, promises to see the Buckeyes back in contention for the Big 10 crown.
Hannah Church – C/1B – Land O’Lakes, Fla.
Julia Miller – P – New Philadelphia, Ohio
Lexi Paulsen – P – Carroll, Ohio
Penn State
The proven history – 10 NCAA postseason appearances – is evidence that Penn State can be a force in conference play and make a long run in the playoffs. The current roster is talented, and head coach Clarissa Crowell, in her second year in the Nittany Valley, has the Penn State program on track to do great things. The Nittany Lions, with the outstanding addition of two elite pitchers this fall, get closer to a championship every day. Beard Field at Nittany Lion Softball Park is one of the very best venues in the country and the blue and white appear ready to make a huge impact moving forward.
Paige Maynard – P – Charleston, W.V.
Lilian Berry – P – Mount Sidney, Va.
The Boilermakers, under sixth-year head coach Boo DeOliveira, have brought excitement to Bittinger Stadium in West Lafayette. The old gold and black-clad Boilermakers are very talented and with one of the nation’s top recruiting classes in the fold, the future of and for Purdue softball is now. Unquestionably, Purdue is looking to impact Big 10 play next spring and should continue to make their mark on the national landscape.
Bella Bacon – 1B/3B – Omaha, Neb.
Emma Bailey – P – Indianapolis, Ind.
Khloe Banks – OF – Orange Park, Fla.
Olivia Cainey – P – Huntersville, N.C.
Alivia Meeks – SS/UT – Hurricane, W.V.
Rita Nuss – 3B/UT – Bloomsburg, Pa.
Jordyn Ramos – OF/SS/UT – Las Vegas, Nev.
Sage Scarnardo – MIF/UT – College Station, Texas
Summer Scarmardo – C/3B – College Station, Texas
Julianna Verni – P – Buffalo, N.Y.
Kristen Butler has brought to Rutgers the mentality needed to win, and win big. The former Florida All-American, SEC Player of the Year, and professional standout led the Scarlet Knights to 29 wins in her first year as skipper of the RU program. Building off that momentum, Coach Butler and her staff have signed an outstanding four-player class who will certainly further impact the program in Piscataway.
Calista Collins – 3B/UT – Kuttawa, Ky.
Raimy Gamsby – P – Napa, Calif.
Samantha Krahling – C – Palmyra, Pa.
Ryann Orange – P – Torrance, Calif.
The Badgers are in a position to make their mark in the Big 10 and on the national scene for the foreseeable future. That future begins now in Madison, and the red and white-clad UW softball squad has the talent and coaching staff to make a run at both the Big 10 crown and the playoffs with regularity. Head coach Yvette Healy, in her 10th year at UW, has attracted a deep and talented roster to the Goodman Softball Complex and with the addition of one of the top classes in this recruiting cycle, and the Badgers are looking to add to their eight trips to the playoffs. Big things are happening at UW.
Rylie Crane – MIF – Tucson, Ariz.
Bree Mitchell – OF – St. John, Ind.
Shelby Jacobson – P – Chicago, Ill.
Emily Bojan – C/UT – Chicago, Ill.
Ava Kuzak – MIF – Broomfield, Colo.
Paytn Monticelli – Cedarburg, Wis.
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