Friday, November 18, 2011

Future Mountain West teams announce signees

Fresno State and Nevada, both of whom are set to join the Mountain West Conference on July 1, 2012, recently announced their 2012-13 softball signing classes, which contain some notable standouts.

Perennial national power Fresno State, the only team in the country to qualify for all 30 NCAA softball tournament championships, announced a 6-member class. Nevada, which has advanced to the NCAA tournament three times in the past six seasons, announced a 4-member class.

The 10 combined athletes will be a part of both programs when they debut in Mountain West softball play in February 2013.

Coach Margie Wright's list of Bulldogs signees includes three pitchers (Jillian Compton, Hannah Harris, and Taylor Langdon) who also play infield, a catcher/infielder (Paige Gumz), an infielder/outfielder (Whitney Smith) and an outfielder (Bria Kennedy).

Coach Matt Meuchel's list of Wolf Pack signees includes three infielders (Hannah Harger, Jasmine Jenkins, and Amanda Weis), along with an outfielder (Danielle Wiltz).

Compton was named San Luis Obispo County and Pac-7 Conference Player of the Year after finishing with a 1.39 ERA as a junior at Arroyo Grande High School. She pitched a perfect game with 14 strikeouts in a playoff opener last season, and struck out 198 batters in 115.2 innings. Compton was named to the All-CIF Southern Section first team, All-CIF state first team (Division 3), and ESPN RISE All-state underclassmen second team after leading her team to a conference title for the first time in 11 seasons.

Gumz has been the starting catcher for three years at Chino Hills High School and has earned first team all-conference honors the past two seasons. A defensive standout, Gumz led her 2011 Chino Hills team to a 25-6 overall mark and a Sierra Conference championship that culminated in a run to the CIF Division 3 semifinals. Gumz hit .392 with a .456 slugging percentage, and played error-free ball at the catcher position last season, completing a perfect year defensively in 174 chances. She also allowed just one baserunner to steal a bag a season ago.

Harris is a dominant pitcher who earned first team All-CIF state honors after leading her Dos Pueblos High School team to a coveted CIF Southern Section championship title in 2011. She was named California's Division 4 Pitcher of the Year after allowing just one run in 45 playoff innings and pitching a 5-0 shutout with 10 strikeouts in the championship game win. Harris won 22 games last season, had a better than 10-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio, and finished with a 1.03 overall ERA that improved to 0.39 in playoff games. She was named to the All-CIF Southern Section first team, All-CIF state first team (Division 4), ESPN RISE All-state first team overall, and ESPN RISE All-state underclassmen first team.

Kennedy has been named first team All-West Yosemite League the past two seasons at Hanford West High School, which advanced to the CIF Central Section semifinals in 2011 after winning the section title the previous two years. Kennedy hit .404 overall as a sophomore and had a .500 slugging percentage as a junior with 56 RBI over the past two seasons. She has twice been named to the Fresno Bee All-Stars second team.

Langdon earned first team All-Baseline League and San Gabriel Valley Tribune all-area honors as a junior at Glendora High School. She earned scholar athlete honors and was varsity softball captain for Glendora, which advanced to the Southern Section Division 1 playoffs.

Smith was named first team All-Sierra Foothill Conference after leading her Del Oro High School team to the league championship title in 2011. She hit .364 as a junior and finished with a batting average of .350 or higher for a third consecutive season. The team captain, Smith finished with a .636 slugging percentage after nearly 50 percent of her hits went for extra bases. She tied for the conference lead in RBI, while ranking second in home runs and slugging percentage for the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section runners-up.

Harger played alongside Kennedy at Hanford West High School, and hit .345 as a junior with a .412 on-base percentage. She scored 31 runs to earn All-WYL honors for a second straight season. Harger was named honorable mention on The Fresno Bee All-Stars team.

Jenkins is a shortstop at Irvine High School, where she has earned all-league and all-city honors each of her three seasons. Known for standout defensive play, she led her high school team to a 22-8 overall record as a junior.

Weis led her Redlands High School team to a conference championship in 2011, batting .387 overall with an impressive .827 slugging percentage. The Terriers finished 21-6 on the season as Weis scored 19 runs and added 25 RBI. At Redlands, she holds the single-season and career home run marks, and last season earned first-team all-league and all-county honors.

Wiltz plays at perennial softball power Sheldon High School in Sacramento, where she ranked second on her squad with a .414 batting average in 2011. She is a three-time, all-conference selection and had 46 hits in 33 games as a junior. With Sheldon being one of the most respected softball programs in the country, Wiltz had two other teammates who signed NCAA Division I letters of intent, including one with defending national champion Arizona State.