BERKELEY – The California softball team is set for another powerful roster next year as five standouts from around the nation completed their National Letters of Intent for the early signing period, Golden Bear head coach Diane Ninemire announced Wednesday.
Joining the Bears in 2014-15 are five talented student-athletes in Kristin Cullen, Kristin Hoover, Jazmyn Jackson, Kobie Pettis and Taurie Pogue. The class checks in at No. 2 in the nation according to StudentSports.com’s Top 25 Recruiting Classes based on the 2014 Hot 100 Players list.
“This is a highly talented group coming in with outstanding accolades in both academics and athletics,” Ninemire said. “They are all well-rounded and high achieving, goal-setting individuals with unbelievable work ethic, and will help us continue our tradition of excellence.”A pitcher from North Hills, Calif., Cullen led her Oaks Christian High School team to the 2013 California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Division II semifinals, throwing a no-hitter and a two-hitter along the way while tossing an average of 12.4 strikeouts per game with 62 strikeouts and holding opponents to a low .118 batting average in 35 innings pitched. She was a 2013 Daily News All-Area, Ventura County Star All-County and Tri-Valley All-League selection. Cullen’s club ball team, the SoCal Madness, claimed the Southern California ASA 14U State Championship in 2010 and she was named the team’s Most Valuable Player. She ranks 37th in the Hot 100 Players list.
“Kristin Cullen is a pitcher that comes in with great ball movement and location. She will be a great addition to our pitching staff,” Ninemire said.
Outfielder and utility player Hoover joins the Bears all the way from Tampa, Fla., where she has been a three-year captain of her Berkeley Preparatory school. She was the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) District 15 Class 4A Player of the Year and member for the All-State and Academic All-State First Team in 2013. Hoover was also Berkeley Prep’s Female Athlete of the Year, batting .650 in 2013 and playing with the Tampa Mustangs. She rounds out Cal’s 2014-15 recruiting class as another all-around athlete having played one year each of varsity and junior varsity soccer.
“Kristin Hoover is a utility player who plays right field, first base, third base and catches,” Ninemire said. “She’s kind of like a Navy Seal in that she has tremendous work ethic and works extremely hard with her conditioning and physical aspect of her game.”
An athletic player who can play in both the infield and outfield, the San Jose, Calif. native Jackson hails from fellow Golden Bear Vanessa Alvarez’s alma mater, Archbishop Mitty. She is a 2012 and 2013 MaxPreps All-American and was a member of the 2013 All-State First Team, as well as the West Catholic Athletic League (WCAL) and San Jose Mercury News Player of the Year. Jackson batted .542 as a junior, finishing her season with the Monarchs with eight home runs and 29 RBI. She helped her team to the 2012 and 2013 WCAL Championship. Jackson joins Cal as the No. 8 player in the nation according to StudentSports.com’s 2014 Hot 100 Players list.
“Jazmyn is a very versatile player who can play shortstop and center field,” Ninemire said. “She’s extremely fast with great bat control, and is a triple threat at the plate. We look forward to her awesome speed on the basepaths.”
Fellow NorCal competitor Kobie Pettis, a versatile infielder from Jackson, Calif., also helped lead her team to league championships in 2011 and 2012, as Argonaut High claimed its first Mother Lode League (MLL) titles since 1998. She was named “Most Inspirational Player” and All-Second-Team as a junior, and was also the MLL’s most valuable player and the Stockton Record’s Player of the Year in 2012. Like Jackson, Pettis is highly athletic and played three years of varsity basketball at Argonaut, where she was named to the All-MLL First Team last year and helped her team to a program-best 30-2 overall record. Pettis ranks No. 45 in the Hot 100.
“Kobie is another versatile player who has played short and at first and third base. She’s a left-handed power hitter, which is always a great addition to have in your lineup,” Ninemire said. “She possesses a lot of great leadership skills that we’re looking forward to having on our program.”
Pogue, a shortstop and utility player, is a four-year varsity starter out of Mountain View High School in her hometown of Meridian, Ohio. She was named a 5A Southern Idaho Conference (SIC) Second Team Infielder despite only playing half of her junior season due to a wrist injury, and was voted as the “Most Inspirational” on her team. Pogue is a MaxPrep All-American and NFCA High School All-American shortstop. She was also a three-year starting shortstop for club ball’s Washington Ladyhawks Gold Team. The Ladyhawks finished 13th in the 18U Gold competition at ASA Premier Nationals, and seventh in 2012. The team also claimed the Valley Cup Championship in 2012. Pogue checks in at No. 20 in the Hot 100 Players list.
“Taurie is a shortstop from Idaho and an outstanding player. She is a power hitter with great range and strong arm, and also possesses great leadership skills, so she’ll be a great addition to our infield next year,” Ninemire said.
With six departing seniors this season, Ninemire expects next year’s class to make an immediate impact.
“These five players will create a lot of opportunities for us in the lineup. Their leadership fits into our program and will help us really build upon our tradition,” she said. “They’re just an outstanding group of young ladies and players who are going to improve our abilities and make a difference in this program.”
MORE ABOUT THE NEW BEARS:
Hometown: North Hills, Calif.
High School: Oaks Christian
High School: A member of the 2013 Daily News All-Area Team and Ventura County Star All-County Team, and a Tri-Valley All-League Selection…Also selected to the National Christian School Athletic Association Team…Led her Oaks Christian team to the 2013 California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Div. II semifinals…Threw a no-hitter in the first round of CIF playoffs, striking out 13…Also threw a two-hit shutout and 16 strikeouts in the CIF quarterfinals…Averaged 12.4 Ks per game following 62 strikeouts in 35 innings pitched in the 2013 CIF playoffs, holding opponents to a .118 batting average…Claimed the 2012 & 2012 Tri-Valley League Championship…A 2012 Tri-Valley All-League Selection…Threw two no hitters as a freshman in 2011, and also struck out 17 batters in one game…Named to the 2011 Daily News All-Area Team...Won the CIF Div. III Championship…Member of the honor roll as a freshman and junior
Club Ball: No. 37 on StudentSports.com’s Hot 100 Seniors and No. 7 on OhioSoftballRecruitingNews.com’s Top 100 pitchers…Played for the SoCal Explosion, coached by Brett Denio…Led the SoCal Madness to the Southern California ASA 14U State Championship in 2010 and was named team’s Most Valuable Player…Played with the Orange County Batbusters, coached by Gary Hanning, from 2011-13…Batbusters claimed the Lousiville Slugger Independence Day Tournament in 2012 and finished as runner-up in 2011…Also claimed third at the 2011 & 2013 PGF Nationals, and eighth in 2012
Personal: Hobbies include hiking, going to the beach and listening to music…Parents are Brian and Anna
Hometown: Tampa, Fla.
High School: Berkeley Prep
High School: Four-year letterwinner at Berkeley Prep and captain of her softball team as a sophomore, junior & senior…Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) District 15 Class 4A Player of the Year in 2013…Member of the 2013 All-State First Team and Academic All-State First Team…Named Berkeley Prep’s 2013 Female Athlete of the Year…her high school squad earned 2012 & 2013 FHSAA Academic State Champion honors…Also played one year each of junior varsity and varsity soccer…Member of the National Honor Society and Spanish Club
Club Ball: Batting .650 in 2013 and batted .593 in 2012…Played for the Tampa Mustangs coached by Jeff Conrad and Traci Fisher
Personal: Hobbies include working out, running, going to the beach and hot yoga…Parents are Kris and Beth…Has two younger siblings – Bo and Katie…Father played football at Johns Hopkins, and also had grandfathers who played football at UConn and Albright College
Hometown: San Jose, Calif.
High School: Archbishop Mitty
High School: 2013 & 2012 MaxPreps All-American and 2013 All-State First Team…Prep2Prep West Catholic Athletic League (WCAL) Softball Player of the Year and CIF Central Coast Softball (CCS) Player of the Year…San Jose Mercury News Player of the Year…WCAL Softball Player of the Year…Named to the MaxPreps 2013 Preseason All-American Team…Batted .542 as a junior with eight home runs and 29 RBI…Also batted .551 as a sophomore with 32 RBI and three homers…2012 WCAL Co-Player of the Year…Member of the MaxPreps Underclass All-American First Team, California All-State Team and All-State Softball Second Team…MaxPreps Medium Schools All-American First Team…San Jose Mercury News CCS First Team…In 2011 was selected to the MaxPreps All-American Freshman Team, California Medium Schools All-State Team, WCAL First Team and MaxPreps Medium Schools All-American Second Team…Also named to the San Jose Mercury News All-Area Team after batting .485 with 35 runs, 32 RBI, seven doubles and seven triples and five homers…Her Archbishop Mitty squad claimed the 2012 & 2013 WCAL Championship, as well as the Livermore Stampede Championship in 2013 and CCS Championship in 2012…Also played basketball during her freshman year…Named to the Principal’s Honor Roll as a freshman, sophomore and junior…Member of the National Honor Society, California Scholarship Federation, Latin American Student Union and African American Student Union at Mitty
Club Ball: Ranked No. 8 in StudentSports.com’s Hot 100 Seniors…Member of the Corona Angels, coached by Marty Tyson…Claimed the 2010 ASA 14U “A” Championship…Also played for the SoCal Explosion, California Grapettes, SoCal Choppers and San Jose Sting
Personal: Enjoys reading, spending time with family and friends, and dancing…Parents are Diffric and Diane…Has three younger siblings – Isaiah, Elijah and Emma
Hometown: Jackson, Calif.
High School: Argonaut
High School: Led her Argonaut High team to the Mother Lode League (MLL) Championship in 2011 & 2012, the school’s first league championships since 1998…Most Inspirational Player and All-Second-Team as a junior in 2013…the MLL most valuable player and Stockton Record’s Player of the Year in 2012…Also MVP of her team and MaxPreps Second Team All-American…MLL, Argonaut and Dandelion Days Tournament MVP in 2011...Stockton Record First Team All-Area selection…An Argonaut High School Scholar Athlete who has received the Top Ten award each semester of high school for being one of the Top 10 students in her class…Has earned the Academic Excellence Award for a 3.5 grade point average or higher each semester of her high school career…Named to the MLL All-Academic Team for both basketball and softball… Three-year varsity basketball player at Argonaut, where she was named Most Improved her freshman year and Most Inspirational her sophomore and junior years…Also named to the All-League Second Team as a sophomore and All-League first team as a junior…During her junior year, her team set a program-best 30-2 overall record and advanced to the state tournament..Also worked as a trainer and stat keeper for the varsity football team and volunteered as a recreational league basketball coach and referee
Club Ball: Ranked No. 45 on StudentSports.com’s Hot 100 Seniors…Finished fifth at the PGF Nationals in 2011 with her California Grapettes team
Personal: Spent the summer after her junior year attending two leadership camps – Camp RYLA and girl’s state, which she described as “life-changing”
High School: Mountain View
High School: Four-year varsity starter at Mountain View High School, where she received the Maverick Award as a sophomore and was named team captain and Most Inspirational as a junior…5A Southern Idaho Conference (SIC) Second Team Infielder despite playing only half the season due to a wrist injury in 2013…Named to the NW Top 50 All-American Team, a MaxPrep All-American and NFCA All-American shortstop…Member of the MVHS Academic Team in 2011, 2012 & 2013…In 2012, was a 5A SIC First Team Infielder and NFCA First Team All-Region shortstop and Player of the Year nominee…Second Team Infielder and NFCA All-American High School Scholar Athlete in 2011…A member of the MVHS honor roll for 2010-13…Received the All-American Scholar-Athlete Award…Idaho Drug-Free Youth Council Member…Advanced Leadership Council President…Played one year of varsity basketball, where she received the Maverick Award…Also played volleyball
Club Ball: Ranked No. 20 on StudentSports.com’s Hot 100 Seniors…Played for the Washington Ladyhawks, coached by Wayne Miller, where she was the starting shortstop for three years…Ladyhawks Gold Team ranked No. 2 in College Player Index and 12th nationally…Team finished 13th at the ASA Premier Nationals 18U Gold in 2013, and seventh in 2012…Ninth place at the TCS Sports Nationals in 2013…Valley Cup Champions in 2012…Claimed fifth at the Champions Cup in 2012
Personal: Played five years of tackle football…Enjoys camping, swimming and spending time with friends and family…Parents are Lisle and Vicki…Has two brothers, Trevor and Taylor…Grandfather played baseball at Humboldt State, Cousin Devon Pogue plays baseball at Corbin University and cousin David Pogue plays baseball and football at Northern Arizona while cousin Allyssa Pogue plays softball at Northwest Christian University