Spartanburg, S.C. – Looking to build for the future and continue in the strong tradition of the program, USC Upstate head coach Chris Hawkins has announced the signing of nine players to national letters of intent to become members of the Spartan softball program during the early signing period.
Signing to become Spartans beginning in 2014-15 were Karla Beasley, Katie Cannington, Kendsey Chappelear, Kinsley Jennings, Gemma Miller, Madison Ogle, Kaitlyn Paschall, Amanda Storch and Tarynn Tirpak. The nine players come from seven different states throughout the United States.
"There is a tremendous amount of talent in this class," said Upstate head coach Chris Hawkins. "This group is going to be fortunate to learn from a veteran team as freshmen. We will have a large senior class during their first season in the program, many of who have been catalysts for the success the program has achieved. I am excited that these incoming freshmen will have an opportunity to learn from the seniors and progress under their leadership. With the talent these incoming players have and the knowledge and experience they will receive in their first year, I think this group will have a tremendous upside and will help carry us in the future."
"Overall, we have a very good mix of talent in this class. We have players who can play several different positions. We have players who can pitch. We have players who can hit for average, some who can hit for power, and many who can hit for both. I am really excited they have chosen to become a part of our program and look forward to being their coach."
Karla Beasley (3B/P | Yulee, Fla. | Yulee HS | Angels Gold)
Beasley is a standout pitcher and infielder at Yulee High School. She helped lead Yulee to the district championship for the first time in school history in 2013, advancing to the regional semifinals of the 4A state tournament. A two-time Nassau County Player of the Year selection, she hit .510 as a junior in 2013. She ranked second in the state with 11 home runs to go along with 40 RBIs and recorded a 1.050 slugging percentage. As a pitcher, she posted a 1.52 ERA with 117 strikeouts in 17 appearances. As a member of the Angels Gold, she finished 2013 with nine home runs, 36 RBIs and a .439 batting average in 35 games as the Angels advanced to the ASA 18U Nationals in Florida.
Katie Cannington (OF, Fayetteville, Ga. | Whitewater HS | Atlanta Vipers-Akins, Team Georgia)
Cannington is an all-region selection playing in the outfield at Whitewater High School. She hit .407 with five doubles, 11 RBIs and 37 runs as a senior this fall. Gifted with speed, she also stole 40 bases. She helped lead Whitewater to the quarterfinals of the 4A state tournament as a sophomore in 2011. She also played travel ball with the Atlanta Vipers-Akins and Team Georgia squads. A solid student in the classroom, she carries a 3.5 GPA.
Kendsey Chappelear (OF/SS | Lavonia, Ga. | Franklin County HS | GA Impact Medlam Gold)
Chappelear is a highly decorated player from Franklin County High School. A four-year starter, she is a two-time 3A All-State selection and a three-time all-region pick. She hit .461 as a senior this fall, tallying 53 hits, 37 runs, 21 RBIs and 21 stolen bases on the year to lead the Eagles to the region championship. She hit .471 as a junior with 23 runs, 17 RBIs and 14 stolen bases. As a sophomore, she hit .490 with 37 runs, 22 RBIs and 23 stolen bases. As a freshman, she posted a .423 batting average with 26 runs, 20 RBIs and 22 stolen bases. A gifted athlete, she also lettered four years in track where she was a three-time region champion and state finalist in the 400 meters and a two-time region runner-up and state qualifier in the 200 meters. She also lettered three times in cross country and once in basketball. In addition to her high school career, she has played travel ball for nine years and most recently plays for the Georgia Impact Gold. The team finished fifth in the 2013 PGF national tournament in California.
Kinsley Jennings (P/1B | Sugar Hill, Ga. | North Gwinnett HS | Atlanta Vipers Gold)
Jennings has turned in a standout high school and travel ball career. She led North Gwinnett High School to back-to-back region championships in 2012 and 2013 and was named the region pitcher of the year as a junior. She is a two-time all-state, all-region and all-county selection. As a senior, she went 14-3 with a 1.01 ERA in the circle and hit .338 with eight home runs and 33 RBIs. She plays travel ball for the Atlanta Vipers Gold team. She helped lead the Vipers to the 2013 ASA 16U national championship, not allowing an earned run in the tournament. She teamed with fellow signee Amanda Storch to lead the Vipers. The team also won the Georgia Gold 16U championship and her teams have advanced to the ASA Nationals since playing in 12U.
Gemma Miller (SS/OF | Edmonds, Wash. | Archbishop Murphy HS | Washington Hurricanes Gold)
Miller is a standout position player at Archbishop Murphy High School. A three-time letterwinner, she was a first team All-Cascade Conference selection as a junior in 2013. She hit .534 with 10 home runs, 26 RBIs and 36 runs en route to being nominated for all-area player of the year honors. She was a second team all-conference selection as a sophomore in 2012 after hitting .583 and leading the team in home runs and RBIs. In addition to her high school career, she has played travel ball for the Washington Hurricanes Gold squad.
Madison Ogle (P | Maryville, Tenn. | Maryville HS | Chattanooga Force Gold)
Ogle is a standout pitcher at Maryville High School. She earned 3A all-state honors as a junior after being named the district Most Valuable Player and posting a 1.46 ERA with 220 strikeouts in 234.2 innings pitched. She helped lead the Lady Rebels to a third-place finish in the 3A state tournament. In addition to her play on the field, she is an excellent student and was named to the Tennessee Softball Coaches Association All-Academic team. She has played travel ball for the Chattanooga Force Gold team and helped lead the squad to an appearance in the ASA 18U Nationals in Florida this past summer.
Kaitlyn Paschall (1B/3B, P | Columbiana, Ala. | Shelby County HS | Birmingham Thunderbolts '96)
Paschall is a versatile player and a four-year letterwinner at Shelby County High School. A power hitter, she has hit 54 home runs combining her high school and travel ball career. She has led Shelby County in home runs since the eighth grade and has finished in the top three on the team in batting average each season. She helped lead Shelby County to its second-ever appearance in the 3A state tournament, earning honorable mention all-state accolades. She has totaled 307 strikeouts as a pitcher in her career as well. In addition to her high school career, she has played travel ball for 10 years. She helped lead the Birmingham Thunderbolts to an appearance in the ASA 16U Nationals in California. She is also a standout in the classroom, carrying a 3.83 GPA as a member of the Beta Club.
Amanda Storch (P | Mauldin, S.C. | Mauldin HS | Carolina Elite)
Storch has turned in a strong career as the starting pitcher at Mauldin High School. She has been the primary starting pitcher for the last two seasons and was a member of the 2010 team that won the 4A state championship, along with current Spartan Dana Landers. She is a two-time 4A all-state selection and a three-time all-region pick. A standout in the classroom, she owns a 4.011 GPA. She is a member of the Carolina Elite travel ball team coached by Upstate assistant coach Bryan Pack and played this past summer with the Atlanta Vipers Gold team that claimed the 2013 ASA 16U national championship, along with fellow signee Kinsley Jennings. As a member of the Elite, Storch went 9-1 with a 0.63 ERA and 116 strikeouts in 78.1 innings pitched last summer.
Tarynn Tirpak (3B | Forsyth, Ill. | Forsyth HS | Premier Fastpitch)
Tirpak has turned in a standout career at Forsyth High School. A three-year starter at third base, she is a first team all-conference and all-county selection. She earned third team all-state honors as a junior after hitting .480 with a school record seven home runs. She was named the ESPN Decatur Female Athlete of the Year in 2012. She has led the Lady Trojans to a 68-10 record over the last three seasons and has 13 career home runs. She is also a standout in the classroom, carrying a 4.9 GPA as a member of the National Honor Society. She has played travel ball for the Premier Fastpitch squad and finished the 2013 season with a .375 batting average, eight home runs, 40 RBIs and 36 runs.