AMES, Iowa – The Iowa State softball program and head coach Jamie Pinkerton announced Thursday that seven prep standouts have signed their letters of intent to attend Iowa State. Kali Gose, Abby Gunter, Camille Marin, Alyssa Orr, Kaylee Pond, Saya Swain and Rachel Wicker are the new Cyclones and will be members of the 2020 class, set to arrive on campus for the 2020-21 season.
“I’m really excited about the character, the academic backgrounds and the programs that this class is coming from,” Pinkerton said. “They bring great versatility and athleticism. In an age where people often specialize and focus on one sport, these players have been able to play multiple sports and excel. That excites us because we know how athletic they are. They’re all fun personalities and it’s really been a fun class to recruit because they’re engaging and they’re interesting to talk to. I think they’re really going to be good fits for Iowa State and our softball program.”
Here’s a look at Iowa State softball’s new additions, including thoughts from Pinkerton on each signee:
Hometown: Hughson, Calif.
Gose is a high-level outfield prospect that comes to Iowa State from Hughson, Calif., where she plays for Love The Game. She’s twice been named a TVL All-League Player and was named the Most Valuable Defensive Player in 2019. A left-handed hitter, Gose has shown high-level skills not only in the field, but at the plate as well. She hit a career-best .605 as a junior in 2019. A multi-sport athlete, Gose was also a TVL All-League Player in both golf and basketball.
Coach Pinkerton on Kali Gose: “High energy player, hard-nosed player. She’s got a blue-collar mentality. She’s a hard worker, she plays hard and she’ll roam the outfield with a high motor. I compare her to Taylor Nearad in that she covers a lot of ground and takes good angles. Just a very good outfielder. She has good speed and is going to be a good gap hitter as a lefty.”
Hometown: Salinas, Calif.
Abby Gunter will be joining the Iowa State softball program after an outstanding prep career in Salinas, Calif. An athlete with a wide range of ability, Gunter projects to be a corner infielder or outfielder at the collegiate level. She is a three-time All-County and All-League selection. Her team won the CCS Championship in 2018, while she was a First Team All-CCS selection.
Coach Pinkerton on Abby Gunter: “She’s a multi-sport athlete. Plays volleyball and basketball, so she’s a versatile athlete. She’s going to help us in the corner position and outfield. She’s a strong kid and hits with gap power. She plays for the Suncats out of northern California and I think she’s going to add really good depth there at the corner position for us.
Hometown: Whittier, Calif.
Position: Catcher/Corner Infielder
Marin will join the Cyclone softball program with a plethora of high-level prep softball under her belt, having played for the OC Batbusters and Corona Angels. With the ability to play behind the plate or as a corner infielder, Marin is a three-time member of the All-Del Rey League team, was named St. Paul’s Defensive MVP and is a member of the National Honors Society. In 2018, Marin hit .429 with nine home runs and 33 RBI.
Coach Pinkerton on Camille Marin: “Camille was a Corona Angel and now plays for Bat Busters, which are two of the top programs in the country. What we really like about her is that she can play a corner, but she’s probably going to catch. She has a good presence behind the plate. She’s a good leader and commands the pitchers well and handles them well. She brings championship experience. Offensively she’s a very cerebral player, works good counts and hits with power.”
Hometown: Fresno, Calif.
Orr comes to Iowa State from Fresno, Calif., where she enjoyed an outstanding prep career at Clovis North High School. In Orr, the Cyclones are getting a unique, versatile athlete who can play the outfield and pitch. In 2019, Orr hit .426 with 30 RBIs in 28 games played, and went 13-1 with a 1.50 ERA. She was First Team All-League and was named a Cal Hi Sports All-State Softball Underclassmen. Orr was also the Clovis North Tri-Sport Athlete of the Year, setting a school record in the 4x400m relay, and advanced to the state championships in the 400m.
Coach Pinkerton on Alyssa Orr: “We’re really excited about Alyssa Orr. We were able to pick her up late and she’s a multi-sport star athlete. She’s going to add speed to the lineup, which is something we’ve been looking for in our last couple classes. Has a great combination of speed and power. From what we talk about with her coaches, she has a high softball IQ and understands hitting and swing mechanics. She also pitches and has been very effective there and can hit her spots. She’s a team-first player and we’re lucky we were able to get her.”
Hometown: Lafayette, Calif.
Pond, who comes to Iowa State from Lafayette, Calif., prepped at Acalanes High School, where she excelled as a multi-sport athlete. She was named the Diablo Athletic League MVP in both basketball and softball while helping her team win league titles in both sports. Pond was named the Prep2Prep North Coast Section Junior of the Year and a San Jose Mercury News All-Bay Area player following her junior campaign, in which she hit .680 with seven home runs and 32 RBI in 19 games. Pond was ranked the No. 26 prep athlete (all sports) in the Bay Area by Sportstars Magazine.
Coach Pinkerton on Kaylee Pond: “Really excited about Kaylee. She comes to us from a really high level, national club team. She’s a versatile athlete. I think she can play any infield position and outfield. She’s a left-handed hitter. What Coach (Courtney) Martinez likes about her is that she’s an old school player and mentality. She has a high softball IQ and makes good decisions. She’s going to be a kid that works hard and is blue collar and you can hear her voice on the field. She’s a high energy player. We’re really excited to have her.”
Hometown: Paris, Texas
Saya Swain out of Paris, Texas will provide a punch to pitching coach Kate Sinnott‘s bullpen. Swain has enjoyed an outstanding prep career at Paris High School, where she tallied a 1.07 ERA in 2017-18, and piled up 212 strikeouts. Swain was named her team’s MVP, earned First Team All-District honors and was named Pitcher of the Year.
Coach Pinkerton on Saya Swain: “We’re really excited about Saya. She’s a high-strikeout pitcher and when we’ve been able to watch her, she misses a lot of bats. Gets a lot of swings and misses. She has good speed. What excited Coach Sinnott is that she has a high spin rate and the ball moves. She has a high ceiling because her spin rate is high and we can get even more velocity out of her.”
Hometown: Puyallup, Wash.
Rachel Wicker is an exciting infield prospect who signs with Iowa State out of Puyallup, Wash., where she’s played travel ball for the Washington Ladyhawks. She’s played club ball at a high level, winning the 2018 ASA National Championship and 2018 Triple Crown National Championship with the Ladyhawks. Wicker is a three-time First Team All-State infielder, and lead the state in RBIs as a junior with 61. She also hit for a .547 average with nine home runs in 26 games, leading her league in slugging percentage.
Coach Pinkerton on Rachel Wicker: “Rachel is a left-handed power hitter and is a high IQ kid that is going to be a hard worker. Comes from a very good program, playing with the Ladyhawks. She’s a versatile athlete that I think can play the middle infield. She runs well and is a high-caliber player and a good teammate. Rachel is a high academic achiever and is another good multi-sport athlete.”