Red Hawks softball team announces 2021 signing class

Red Hawks softball team announces 2021 signing class

HICKORY, N.C. — The Catawba Valley Community College softball program announces the signing of 14 players to its 2021 recruiting class.

"We are very pumped about this group," said CVCC softball head coach Josh Bumgarner. "They are a group of 14 strong softball players. Combining this group of newcomers with the ones returning from this year gives us reason to be excited for next season."

Overall, Bumgarner is pleased with the diversity of his recruiting class, which includes athletes from North Carolina as far east as Hillsborough to as far west as Franklin, but it also includes out-of-state athletes from South Carolina, Georgia and Virginia.

"We had great success last year going to the Western part of the state to recruit players," Bumgarner said. "We went back to that well once more and got a few more players. We branched out further eastern part of the state this year as well, but also hit our home region hard, too. However, we didn't stop there as we went outside of the state lines and got players from South Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia. We have high expectations for this class and can't wait to get them here and get started."

Despite being shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Red Hawks finished their inaugural softball season with 11 wins, including four in Region 10 West Division play.

Catawba Valley also ranked in the top 15 nationally in 12 different offensive categories, including hits (220 - fifth), batting average (.392 - fifth), slugging (.586 - ninth), RBI (140 - 11th) and home runs (21 - 12th).

Below is information each member of the 2021 Catawba Valley Community College softball recruiting class and a quote from coach Bumgarner on each athlete:

Lucia Barbon
Mooresville H.S. (Mooresville, N.C.)
Travel team: Team N.C Mele
Career stats: None available
Quote from Bumgarner on Barbon: "Lucia is a versatile player from Mooresville High School that can help our defense from either corner or behind the plate. She has a strong arm and some pop in her bat. She is ready to show the world and Red Hawk Nation what kind of player she is."

Abigail Helms
East Lincoln H.S. (Denver, N.C.)
Travel team: Lake Norman Fury
Career stats: 40 games played, .284 AVG, .315 OBP, 25 hits, 11 RBI, 12 runs, 2.10 ERA on the mound
Quote from Bumgarner on Helms: "Abigail is our first official signee for this class. Abby is a utility player who could see time pitching and can play first base as well. She will be looking to contribute on both sides of the ball for us."

Katie Mitchell
Lake Norman H.S. (Mooresville, N.C.)
Travel team: Lady Bulldogs Thompson
Career stats: 26 games played, .259 AVG, .389 OBP, 19 runs scored
Quote from Bumgarner on Mitchell: "Katie is a middle infielder and outfielder who brings a good work ethic with her to Hickory. She is tough in the field and in the batter's box."

Madison Ross
North Gaston H.S. (Dallas, N.C.)
Travel team: Formerly L-town Extreme
Career stats: 46 games played, .278 AVG, .293 OBP, 20 hits, 13 RBI, 14 runs scored (named all-conference her junior year)
Quote from Bumgarner on Ross: "Madison is an outfielder with good range. She is a smart player who reads the ball well off the bat. Her quickness can also help us apply pressure to the defense."

Lillie Pennington
Bunker Hill H.S. (Claremont, N.C.)
Career stats: 49 games played, .450 AVG, .449 OBP, 63 hits, 46 RBI, 22 runs scored, all-conference and all-state performer as a junior
Travel team: Bandits N.C. Bryant
Quote from Bumgarner on Pennington: "A hometown product from Bunker Hill, Lillie will be looking to add depth to our outfield. She can cover some ground and has a strong arm and great bat to go with it."

Taylor Carlton
Franklin H.S. (Franklin, N.C.)
Travel team: Formerly Georgia Glory
Career stats: 50 games played, .403 AVG, .461 OBP, 58 its, 53 RBI, 39 runs scored, .922 fielding percentage
Quote from Bumgarner on Carlton: "Taylor is a third baseman, first baseman and infielder that brings big game experience to our team from high school. She is a good athlete with a big bat."

Kaitlyn Burgess
Union County H.S. (Union, S.C.)
Travel team: Black Widows Fastpitch
Career stats: None available
Quote from Bumgarner on Burgess: "Kaitlyn is a tough infielder, from Union, South Carolina, that can play a number of positions. She works tirelessly at trying to get better on both offense and defense. She is one of those players who will open doors for our program in the future by allowing us to recruit others from her hometown."

Sierra Ratliff
Jesse C. Carson H.S. (China Grove, N.C.)
Travel team: Elite Fastpitch
Career stats: 47 games played, .324 AVG, .392 OBP, 23 hits, 12 RBI, 32 runs scored
Quote from Bumgarner on Ratliff: "Sierra is an athletic infielder that can play anywhere on the dirt. She can go get the hard balls behind her or in the hole. She is another weapon to use that will drive defenses crazy."

Jadyn Hicks
East Burke H.S. (Connelly Springs, N.C.)
Travel team: Resurrection Fastpitch
Career stats (travel softball): 29 games played .426 AVG, .509 OBP, 20 hits (four doubles, one triple), 13 runs scored, 17 stolen bases
Quote from Bumgarner on Hicks: "Jadyn is an outfielder who adds more depth to the group that covers the grass. She has good speed that helps to track the ball nicely. She can also be a big weapon for us on the bases. She has a great work ethic and willing to do whatever it takes to help our team win."

Mia Simmons
North Surry H.S. (Mt. Airy, N.C.)
Travel team: Carolina Redbirds Slate
Career stats: 17 games played, .245 AVG, .322 OBP, 13 hits, 10 RBI, 11 runs scored
Quote from Bumgarner on Simmons: "Mia is another blue collar player who looks to help us in the infield. She brings a true grit, never quit mentality to our team."

Grace Andrews
Orange H.S. (Hillsborough, N.C.)
Travel team: Cage to Stage Lamb
Career stats: 65 games played, .252 AVG, .359 OBP, 33 hits, 30 RBI, 42 runs scored
Quote from Bumgarner on Andrews: "Grace is a middle infielder who personifies toughness and leadership. She has a great glove and has gotten better each year of high school in the batter's box."

Haley Freeman
Franklin H.S. (Franklin, N.C.)
Career stats: 71 games played, .275 AVG, 10 home runs (led team during junior year), 56 RBI
Quote from Bumgarner on Freeman: "Haley is an outfielder who also has a ton of big game experience. Her big arm and big bat make her a contributor in both phases of the game."

Savannah Nolan
Roswell H.S. (Roswell, Ga.)
Travel team: Atlanta Premiere Martin/Cane 01
Career stats: 22 games played, .322 AVG, .987 fielding percentage, 2.86 ERA on the mound
Quote from Bumgarner on Nolan: "Savannah is a pitcher, third baseman and first basemen from Roswell, Georgia who can contribute many ways to our club. We are counting on her in the circle, at the corners and with a bat in her hands to help make an impact next season. She is the type of player that can make others from her state want to come to North Carolina and play for us."

Cali Hinnant
Kings Fork H.S. (Suffolk, Va.)
Travel team: Formerly Orion Hunter Elite
Career stats: 38 games played, .355 AVG, .428 OBP, 43 hits, 22 RBI, 25 runs scored, .974 fielding percentage; 18 wins, 1.51 ERA and 310 strikeouts on the mound, held opposing batters to .179 AVG; 2017-19 All-Southeastern District performer, 2017-19 All-Region performer and 2018 All-State performer.
Quote from Bumgarner on Hinnant: "Cali is a pitcher and first basemen who brings a lot of pop with her bat to Hickory as well. We will look to Cali to be a leader on defense and at the plate as well. She is a fierce competitor that will also help open a pipeline to other states for recruiting."