Utah State Softball Inks Three for 2011 Season
Dec. 30, 2009
LOGAN, Utah - Utah State softball head coach Carissa Kalaba has announced that three players have signed to compete for the Aggies in the 2010-11 season. Joining USU next fall in Kalaba's first signings as USU head coach will be freshmen Jourdan Hitchings, Samantha Miller and Kassandra Uchida (pronounced "you-cheeta").
Kalaba will be reuniting with Uchida, after coaching her with the Jets Gold Club team, where Kalaba coached from 2002-09.
"We are extremely excited about our three signees," said Kalaba who became head coach of the USU program in July. "They are all dedicated to their skills as student-athletes. I find joy in the intensity, pride and respect that each one of them holds for themselves and for the sport of softball. We welcome them into the Aggie family."
Jourdan Hitchings is an outfielder from El Dorado Hills Calif. (Oak Ridge HS). Hitchings helped Oak Ridge to a 24-4-1, ranking third on the team with a .384 batting average, along with a .395 slugging percentage to go with 10 RBI and 21 runs scored. Hitchings also led the Trojans with 21 stolen bases (21-of-21) and a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage.
Hitchings played for the Sorcerer 18 Gold club team, and was a part of the 2009 ASA Gold National Championship team. She batted .483, with five RBI.
"Jourdan Hitchings is a dynamic left-handed slapper with a tremendous amount of speed," Kalaba said. "Jourdan is not only an incredible asset in the outfield but a threat on the base path. She is aggressive, agile and we are looking for her to make an immediate impact in the outfield."
Samantha Miller is a catcher from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. (Arcadia HS). A three-year letterwinner, Miller was second on AHS last season with a .439 average as well as a .632 slugging percentage with 14 RBI and one HR along with four stolen bases in helping the Apaches to an 11-13 record. As a sophomore, Miller had a .480 average after hitting .462 as a freshman, earning first-team all-league honors and setting the Arcadia HS record for highest batting average by a freshman. Miller logged 20 RBI in her two seasons as a underclassman.
Miller played for the USA Athletics Gold club team, batting .383 with a .457 slugging percentage, logging 13 RBI.
"Samantha Miller is one of the more fundamentally and technically profound catchers in the 2010 class. She has a quick glove to glove time of 1.63 and takes a lot of pride in her responsibilities behind the plate and her knowledge of the game. Offensively, she is clutch and consistent with a .383 batting average during her club season. We are honored to add Samantha to our dynamic bullpen and battery staff," Kalaba said.
Kalaba is familiar with Miller's high school of Arcadia HS, as she was head coach there from 2000-04.
Kassandra Uchida (pronounced "you-cheeta") is a utility player from Burbank, Calif. (Burbank HS). Last season, Uchida earned second-team Southern Section Division III all-CIF honors as well as first-team all-Pacific League and first-team all-area accolades. Uchida had a .469 average with 30 RBI and four HR, earning team MVP honors. In the field, Uchida had a .971 fielding percentage and made just two errors in 104 chances. As a sophomore, Uchida batted .448 with 15 RBI, earning second-team all-Pacific League honors, first-team all-area and second-team all-CIF honors, as well as being named to the Burbank Leader 2009 all-Area softball team. Off the field, Uchida eared all-CIF Academic team honors.
Uchida played for Jets Gold Travel club team. Kalaba and Uchida will re-unite as coach and player, as Kalaba coached the Jets Gold team from 2002-09. Uchida will also be joined in the Western Athletic Conference by Jets Gold teammate Nikki Chapman, who signed with San Jose State.
"Kassy is an all-around go getter on and off the field. She can play both infield and outfield, and is one of the most consistently productive stuedent-athletes I have seen in a while in both her offensive and defensive games," Kalaba remarked. "Kassy has an uncanny ability of making difficult plays look easy with her fluidity and versatility. Uchida also brings a unique skill set to the Aggies as a true triple threat component on the left side that Utah State is currently lacking."
These three signings are the first under USU first-year head coach Carissa Kalaba. The Aggies open the 2010 season on Friday, Feb. 12 in St. George, Utah against Maine.
Utah State Softball 2010-11 Signing Class NAME POS HOMETOWN/HIGH SCHOOL/CLUB Jourdan Hitchings OF El Dorado Hills, Calif. (Oak Ridge HS/Sorcerer 18 Gold) Samantha Miller UT Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. (Arcadia HS/USA Athletics Gold) Kassandra Uchida P Burbank, Calif. (Burbank HS/Jets Gold)