Softball Signs Five To Class Of 2015
Nov. 15, 2010
AMHERST, Mass. - UMass softball head coach Elaine Sortino has announced the signing of five high school seniors to National Letters of Intent. A talented and versatile group, the UMass softball class of 2015 will make their debut for the 22-time Atlantic 10 Champion Minutewomen in the spring of 2012.
Quianna Diaz-Patterson (Amherst, Mass.), Allison Kearney (Douglas, Mass.), Anna Kelley (Norfolk, Mass.), Bridget Lemire (Worcester, Mass.), and Mikayla Panko (Naperville, Ill.) will combine with this spring's freshmen class of seven to form the core of the UMass team for the next few years to come.
"This is a really solid group of fine young women that are not only great softball players, but good people," Sortino said. "They add a lot more to the solid base of the team that we have already established."
"Quianna is an outstanding middle infielder," Sortino said. "She has great hands and hits from the left side. She has phenomenal speed, the ability to take bases, and can hit for power."
Diaz-Patterson has starred for Amherst High School the last three seasons. A right-handed throwing switch-hitter, she plays summer ball for the Polar Crush Gold team. She batted .472 with a .578 slugging percentage with the Polar Crush Gold, reaching base at a .528 clip. During her junior season at Amherst, Diaz-Patterson hit .500 with a .573 on-base percentage on her way to being named Western Massachusetts Player of the Year by the Springfield Republican, first team All-Scholastic by the Republican and Hampshire Gazette, and a nominee for the Massachusetts Gatorade Player of the Year.
Diaz-Patterson is a four-year honor student and also stars for the swimming team at Amherst, earning team MVP honors in 2009-10 while winning the State and Western Mass. Championships in the 100 yard breaststroke.
"Allison is very quick and can hit from the left side," Sortino said. "She has the ability to steal a lot of bases with her great speed and brings a lot of versatility to the outfield."
Kearney will bring speed and a strong bat to the UMass lineup. Despite missing all but four games in 2010 due to injury, she has a career batting average of .478 with 10 home runs and is 35-for-35 in stolen base attempts. As a sophomore in 2009, Kearney hit .486 with all 10 of her career home runs and drove in a team-high 26 runs while swiping 21 bases. She was named Dual Valley All-Star, as well as Telegram and Gazette All-Star. She rebounded from injury well in fall ball with the Rhode Island Thunder Elite, batting .458 with five home runs and a .500 on-base percentage.
A High Honors student for four years, Kearney has been a member of the National Honor Society for two years and will serve as team captain in 2011.
"Anna is a very versatile infielder," Sortino said. "She has great hands, a strong arm, and a very good bat."
Kelley, along with current UMass freshman Maggie Quealy, led King Phillip High School to its first-ever State Championship last spring. A right-handed batter and thrower, Kelley batted .418 in 2010 with a .447 on-base percentage, three home runs, and 27 RBIs. She earned Sun Chronicle All-Star honors in the 2009 and 2010 as a sophomore and a junior and First Team All-District honors.
Kelley plays summer ball for the Rhode Island Thunder Elite.
"Bridget brings a tremendous amount of versatility," Sortino said. "She may even see some innings as a pitcher. She is a very fine hitter and great player overall."
A star at St. Peter-Marian High School where she pitched and played on the infield, Lemire led the Guardians last season as the team captain. The right-handed thrower and batter went 18-2 in the circle with a 0.95 ERA and 155 strikeouts. At the plate, Lemire hit .466 last spring with eight home runs. She was named Central Massachusetts Conference All-Star in 2009 and 2010, as well as Worcester Telegram and Gazette Super Team in 2010. She plays summer ball for the Concord Raiders Gold.
Lemire is an Honor Roll student and also plays field hockey at St. Peter-Marian, earning Central Mass. Conference All-Star honors in 2009 and serving as team captain this fall.
"Mikayla is a really solid, strong-armed outfielder." Sortino said. "She also has good power from the right side."
Panko is a four-year starter at Benet Academy, earning East Suburban Catholic Conference All-Conference honors as a sophomore and a junior in 2009 and 2010. In 2009, she was named All-Area Honorable Mention, and in 2010 she was named Daily Herald DuPage All-Area. She tied a school record last season with 39 runs batted in.
To go with those 39 RBIs in 2010, Panko hit .368 with four home runs and a .632 slugging percentage.
UMass is coming off a 42-10-1 season, a .802 winning percentage, the program's second-best ever in a season of at least 30 games. The Minutewomen went undefeated in Atlantic 10 play, going 17-0-1, before going 4-1 at the A-10 Championship to claim their 22nd conference title and sixth-straight. For the fourth year in a row, UMass hosted an NCAA Regional.