Dec. 1, 2005
BERKELEY - University of California softball coach Diane Ninemire has announced the signing of seven high school players to National Letters of Intent - Christina Schallig (IF), Shannon Houston (IF), Brittany LaRosa (P), Marissa Drewrey (P), Taylor Kelly (SS), Bernice Masaniai (C) and Vernae Sevilla (2B/SS).
"It's one of the top classes Cal has ever signed," said Ninemire, who is in her 19th year leading the Golden Bears. "Many people think that perhaps it is the No. 1 class in the country. I'm very pleased with the signings that we've had and feel that these players will keep us on track, continuing our strides toward a national championship."
Schallig, a native of Carson, Calif., has been named first team LA Times All-Region for the past three seasons. During the 2005 season, Schallig batted .496 in 100 at-bats with 13 home runs and 48 RBI. She attends Carson High School and also plays for the Corona Angels.
"Christina is an outstanding shortstop and infielder who has great power and can hit for average," Ninemire said.
Houston, who hails from New Egypt, N.J., was a member of the 18U state championship team in 2003 and helped her New Egypt High School team win the 2004 South Jersey Sectional Championship. Houston, who will be the second player from New Jersey to play for the Bears, also competes for the NJ Breakers.
"Shannon is very quick and has great hands and speed," Ninemire said. "That will be a great addition to our program."
Drewrey, a native of Oakdale, Calif., posted an ERA of .030 in 2005 and finished with a 26-2 record, including 24 shutouts in 28 starts. Drewrey, who also plays for the California Sorcerers, was named the Modesto Bee player of the year after leading her Oakdale HS team to its first Sac-Joaquin Section title since 1984.
"Marissa is one of the harder throwing pitchers out of her class," Ninemire said. "She is going to get better and better each year she's here as she gains strength and experience."
LaRosa has been a member of the All-California and LA Times All-Region team for the past three seasons. The Diamond Bar native has also helped Diamond Bar High to two Sierra League titles and a semifinal appearance in the CIF tournament. Her club team is the Corona Angels.
"Brittany is another outstanding pitcher. She has a great variety of pitches," Ninemire said. "Adding Brittany and Marissa with Lauren Frankiewicz in the future will provide us with one of bets pitching staffs in the country. Brittany can also hit. She will be one of few pitchers in the country who can do both."
Sevilla, who lives in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., finished the 2005 season with a .452 batting average. The infielder, who attends Rancho Cucamonga HS, has been named to the All-Inland Empire, all-county and all-state teams during her high school career. Her club team is the California Cruisers.
"Vernae is a tremendous hitter, but she's also a tremendous fielder," Ninemire said. "She's got some of the softest hands you'll ever see. I look forward to having her in the infield in the future."
Masaniai, a native of Stanton, Calif., is a two-time all-league honoree. The catcher attends Rancho Alamitos HS and also competes for the California Cruisers.
"Bernice is an outstanding catcher, but she's probably known more for her outstanding hitting ability," Ninemire said. "She will provide lot of power and stats for us in upcoming years."
Kelly, who lives in Santee, Calif., helped her Santana HS team to a CIF championship in 2004 and a league title in 2005. The shortstop carries a .300 batting average and plays for the California Next Level club team.
"She is a spectacular shortstop," Ninemire. "She reminds me so much of our former All-American Chelsea Spencer with the way she can field ground balls and throw out players."
2005-06 Signing Class
Marissa Drewrey P Oakdale, Calif./Oakdale HS
Shannon Houston IF New Egypt, NJ/New Egypt HS
Taylor Kelly SS Santee, Calif./Santana HS
Brittany LaRosa P Diamond Bar, Calif./Diamond Bar HS
Bernice Masaniai C Stanton, Calif. /Rancho Alamitos HS
Christina Schallig IF Carson, Calif./Carson HS
Vernae Sevilla 2B/SS Rancho Cucamonga/Rancho Cucamonga HS