AMES, Iowa – The Iowa State softball program and head coach Jamie Pinkerton announced Tuesday that five prep standouts have signed their letters of intent, giving Iowa State the No. 34 ranked recruiting class in the country. Jayden McKeague, Shannon Mortimer, Kaitlyn Moses, Mikayla Ramos and Kasey Simpson are the new Cyclones and will be members of the 2018 class, set to arrive on campus for the 2018-19 season.
Pinkerton, who is about to embark on his first season as Iowa State’s head coach, signed the No. 34 ranked class in the country, per FloSoftball. That ranking, which gives the Cyclones the No. 4 class in the Big 12, includes two of the nation’s top-150 prospects in Simpson (No. 33) and Mortimer (No. 139).
McKeague, a catcher from Huntington Beach, Calif., comes to Iowa State from Edison High School. She also has extensive club experience, most recently playing for the Firecrackers in Southern California. Pinkerton likes McKeague’s ability behind the plate, and the opportunity to add quality skill at a position of need.
“We are excited to sign Jayden,” Pinkerton said. “She is from Southern Californian but has Iowa State ties and we feel that she will help this team address the lack of depth behind the plate. McKeague is a very good receiver that is highly eager, which helps our pitching staff. Offensively, she is a line drive hitter that can help our lineup produce runs.”
Mortimer, a native of Winchester, Mass., is a highly-sought-after pitcher that shined both for Northbridge High School and the Beverly Bandits in club ball. The righty is ranked the No. 139 overall prospect in the country by FloSoftball after going 13-2 with a 1.17 ERA and 174 strikeouts as a junior. Mortimer is a two-time Central Massachusetts First Team All-Star and was named a Gatorade Player of the Year finalist.
“With the late hire of our staff, and with Brianna Weilbacher graduating this spring, we were excited to be able to land a pitcher of Mortimer’s quality late in the recruiting process,” Pinkerton said. “She is a power pitcher that also has the ability to mix speeds, and that is essential to be successful at this level. Shannon plays for the Beverly Bandits, one of the best programs in the nation, which will help her transition to the college game
Moses, a local product from West Des Moines, Iowa, has showcased an ability to play multiple positions, and brings valuable versatility to the class. The Dowling Catholic standout was named Second Team All-State in Class 5-A as a junior in 2017 after racking up a .381 batting average and a team-high 46 RBIs. Moses also played for a strong club program in Iowa Premier.
“In Kaitlyn Moses, we have signed a very versatile athlete,” Pinkerton said. “She can play several positions that will help our team depth. She is a catcher and corner infielder that has the tools to be a very good player. She knows what it takes to compete at this level as she plays for the nationally competitive Iowa Premier. We are excited to welcome her to Iowa State.”
Ramos comes to Iowa State from Riverside, Calif., and looks to provide the Cyclones with depth behind the plate and power in the batting order. She excelled at Martin Luther King high school and hit .355 with 13 home runs in ASA during the 2017 season.
“Mikayla signs with us out of Southern California,” Pinkerton said. “She will help this program by providing depth to the catching corps. She is a very good defensive catcher that handles pitchers very well. Offensively, she could help the middle of our lineup with her power.”
Simpson, the No. 33 player in the country per FloSoftball, is the highest-rated prep to sign with Iowa State since the service began its ranking system. The Keller, Texas native has helped lead her Keller squad to back-to-back 6A Texas State Championships and was named the 2017 Texas Sports Writers 6A Player of the Year. Simpson was also honored as the 2017 Dallas Morning News Offensive Player of the Year. The outstanding infielder has continued to rise on the national scene ascending in the Flo 2018 Hot 100 from No. 78 as a sophomore to No. 33 as a junior.
“We are excited that Kasey is a Cyclone,” Simpson said. “She will be a very good addition to our middle infield and will bring power and athleticism to our lineup. We feel she will help our program immediately. She has been a part of a great summer organization, the Texas Glory that has prepared her for the next level. Furthermore, she has won championships on the high school level that will only help our culture here at Iowa State.”