STORRS, Conn. - On Wednesday, University of Connecticut softball coach Jen McIntyre and her staff announced signing of four student-athletes for the 2016 campaign. The Huskies will welcome Kelli Bates, Ally Hernandez, Taylor Smith and Jill Stockley to the Storrs campus to compete for a Husky program that boasts eight NCAA Tournament berths.
"I am very excited to welcome the 2015 signing class to the Husky family," McIntyre said. "We are all embarking on a new era in UConn softball and I am looking forward to what each of these young women can bring to our team."
Kelli Bates | OF | Granite Bay, Calif. | Del Oro High School
Bates comes to Storrs after competing at Del Oro under head coach Sean Erickson. The outfielder was named a 2013 All-League First Team member and served as team captain during her junior campaign. In 2013, she hit .393 with 18 runs batted in and 23 steals. Off the field, Bates volunteered with the Special Olympics and also was a Key Club and Team Inspire member.
"Kelli is a true triple threat at the plate. Her unique combination of speed and power will be a huge asset to our offense in the years to come. I am eager to see her versatility on defense as she truly is comfortable both on the infield and in the outfield. Kelli plays the game with a lot of passion and spunk and will be a lot of fun to watch as she grows throughout her career. With the goal of majoring in Business, Kelli defines what it means to be a true Husky student-athlete."
Ally Hernandez | 3B/OF| Flemington, N.J. | Hunterdon Central Regional High School
Hernandez was a varsity starter under head coach Kelly Karp at Hunterdon Central Regional High School. She helped lead her team to the New Jersey Group IV championship in 2011. Hernandez earned honors from the Courier News as a member of both the All-Rookie team and All-Area team. In addition to her work at Hunterdon Central Regional, she played four years of club ball with the New Jersey Inferno Gold Team that finished in the top-25 at the PGF Premier National Championships. Off the field, she has been an honor roll student throughout the first three years of high school career and also served as the secretary for the Revolution for Children Club at Hunterdon Central.
"Ally has a lot of fire and energy when she plays the game. She is an extremely versatile athlete that can play multiple positions. Ally has the ability to spray the ball offensively which will add depth and options to our offensive lineup. As a true student-athlete, she is committed to competing in the classroom and further raising the standard of our program."
Taylor Smith | 1B | Havre De Grace, Md. | Havre De Grace High School
Smith has played three years of softball for head coach Nicole Lowenstein at Havre De Grace High School, earning three All-Harford County First Team selections. In addition, Smith was an All-Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference First Team member and hit .500 with six long balls in the 2014 season. She has led Harford County and the UCBAC in home runs over the past three seasons with 21 total.
In the classroom, Smith is an honor roll student and was the recipient of the Minds in Motion Award during her high school career.
"Taylor has incredible raw power at the plate. She has the ability to change the outcome of a game with one swing of the bat. She will definitely provide us with some RBI production as we are anxious to have her wearing a Husky uniform. Academically, she will continue to carry on the tradition of academic success and help us achieve our goals of championship performance."
Jill Stockley | Pitcher | Longmeadow, Mass. | Longmeadow High School
A three-year letterwinner at Longmeadow High School under Steve Marcil, Stockley led her team to three league championships. Stockley was tabbed as the Springfield Republican's Pitcher of the Year in both her sophomore and junior campaigns. In addition, she earned a spot on the All-Western Mass First Team in three separate seasons. Serving as a captain in her junior season, Stockley was placed on the All-Valley Wheel Conference First team during in 2014. Academically, Stockley was recognized as an honor roll student during her freshman, sophomore and junior years at Longmeadow.
"Jill is a local product that is passionate about the future of UConn softball," stated McIntyre. "Jill is a pure competitor on the mound, she is not afraid to attack the opposing hitters and we will look to her to provide added depth on our pitching staff. In addition to the rest of her signing class, she will also raise the standard in the classroom and the community as she exemplifies true Husky grit and determination."
Each of the four incoming Huskies will enroll at UConn in the fall of 2015.