UT Softball Signs Four Top 100 Players
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee softball co-head coaches Ralph & Karen Weekly announced the addition of four newcomers as part of UT’s 2017 signing class on Thursday afternoon.
”Karen and I are very excited about all four of these outstanding young student-athletes,” Ralph Weekly said. “They are talented players who epitomize our core values. We look forward to their immediate impact both on and off the field.”
Gabby Sprang (No. 3), Amanda Ayala (No. 37), Ashley Morgan (No. 70) and Brooke Langston (No. 91) are all included in FloSoftball’s Hot 100 Rankings for the Class of 2017, giving the Volunteers the 12th ranked class in the country.
This class will be eligible for competition starting in the 2017-18 academic year.
Tennessee is coming off its 13th straight NCAA Tournament appearance and 14th consecutive season with 40-plus victories after going 43-16 in 2016. The Vols finished tied for third in the Southeastern Conference and posted the best regular-season home record in the country (22-1). They return 14 letterwinners and seven starters from last year’s squad.
Learn more about each of UT’s four newcomers below.
Gabby Sprang (LHP – Rosemount, Minn.)
Sprang comes to Rocky Top from Rosemount, Minn., in the Twin Cities Metropolitan area and is one of the top recruits in the entire country. The left-handed pitcher is ranked No. 3 in FloSoftball’s 2017 Hot 100 Rankings (second highest ranked pitcher), making her one of UT’s most highly rated signees in recent memory. Sprang has been a FloSoftball High School All-American each of the past two seasons and has also earned Minnesota Fastpitch Coaches’ Association (MFCA) Class 4A All-State honors the last two years. She has been a member of Rosemount High School’s varsity softball team since she was in seventh grade and owns the school’s career records for wins, strikeouts, earned run average, no-hitters and perfect games. Sprang has piled up 34 wins, 458 strikeouts and has posted an ERA of 1.00 or lower in each of the last three seasons for the Rosemount. During a game last season, Sprang struck out 21 batters to set a new Minnesota high school record. Sprang plays club ball for the Georgia Impact and helped lead them to a fifth-place finish at the Premier Girls Fastpitch (PGF) National tournament in 2015. She is also one of 20 initial players invited to attend the 2017 USA Softball Junior Women’s National Team selection camp at the end of December. Sprang chose Tennessee over Florida, Missouri and Kentucky.
Amanda Ayala (OF – Hoboken, N.J.)
Ayala committed to Tennessee as a sophomore at DePaul Catholic High School in Wayne, N.J. The speedy outfielder was a second-team All-North Jersey selection as a sophomore in 2015 after batting .625. She had a phenomenal freshman season as well, which saw her hit .583 with 31 runs, 14 stolen bases and 14 RBIs. Ayala was named first team all-county during her freshman and sophomore seasons at DePaul Catholic and is ranked No. 37 in FloSoftball’s 2017 Hot 100 Rankings. She is primed for a big senior season after having to sit out her junior year with an injury. Ayala has helped lead DePaul Catholic to three straight Passaic County Championships and was also a second team all-county basketball player for the Spartans. She plays her club ball for the New Jersey Intensity and chose Tennessee over offers from Georgia and South Alabama.
Ashley Morgan (P/UT – Douglasville, Ga.)
Morgan will join the Volunteers after completing a standout prep career at Georgia powerhouse Chapel Hill High School. Morgan is No. 70 in FloSoftball’s 2017 Hot 100 Rankings and has been dominate both in the circle and at the plate at Chapel Hill. Last season as a junior, she became the first player from Chapel Hill to be named Georgia’s Gatorade State Player of the Year after going 12-1 in the circle with a 0.81 ERA while also batting .505 with 11 home runs and 43 RBIs. That followed a sensational sophomore season which saw Morgan hit .595 with seven homers and 62 RBIs to go along with a 13-2 record and 133 strikeouts in the circle. Morgan helped lead the Panthers to a 32-3 record and a Class 5A state title in 2016 and was named the Georgia Class 5A State Player of the Year for her efforts. She was named to FloSoftball’s All-America team as a junior and is a two-time first team GHSA Class 5A All-State selection and a three-time Douglas County Player of the Year. Morgan was also named the GHSA Dugout Club State Player of the Year as a junior. She plays her club ball for the Georgia Impact and chose Tennessee over fellow SEC powerhouses LSU, Auburn and South Carolina.
Brooke Langston (IF – Sunrise, Fla.)
Langston hails from Sunrise, Fla., near Fort Lauderdale and comes in at No. 91 on FloSoftball’s Hot 100 Rankings. She has earned FloSoftball All-America recognition during the past two seasons and has helped lead American Heritage High School to a pair of state titles (2014 & 2016) during her three years with the program. Langston has received Miracle Sports Florida All-State first-team recognition for two consecutive years as well as first team All-Broward County honors. The Florida native is a speedster with a home to first base time of 2.6 seconds. She has batted .465 or higher in each of her three seasons at American Heritage with 71 stolen bases. Langston plays club ball for the Gold Coast Hurricanes and chose Tennessee over Oregon, Alabama and Florida State.
Source- University of Tennessee Athletics