Nov. 22, 2013
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The University of Southern Mississippi softball team announced the signing of five players to National Letters of Intent for the 2014-15 academic year. Head coaches Jon Malgradi and Kirsten Voak welcome Jordan Beck, Kaelyn Christofferson, Mallory Hayden, Jill Johnson and Samantha Reynolds to the Golden Eagles."We are very excited about our 2015 class that has been signed," Malgradi said. "All five players have the ability to make major impacts as freshmen. These five young ladies are all highly accomplished student-athletes."
"These girls have all played for major championships and had a large amount of success," Malgradi added. "All five are used to success and winning. Having that mindset is a huge addition to our team to go along with players that have been added in the past few years. This is a special group that will wear Black & Gold with the utmost pride and continue to bulldoze a path of success and tradition for Southern Miss Softball."
Beck, a 5-6 catcher out of Mesa, Ariz., joins Southern Miss from Red Mountain High School. She is a USA Today / American Family Insurance Pre-Season High School All-American Selection. In addition, Beck is a member of the Canadian Junior National Team. She was named All-State (2011, 2012, 2013); All-Section (2012, 2013); All-City (2012, 2013); All-Division (2013); All-Region (2011) and has helped her team win the Arizona 5A-1 State Championship (2011, 2012, 2013). Beck was an Arizona Softball Player of the Year Nominee (2013) and member of the American Family Insurance All-USA Arizona Team (2013). She notched a Student Sports Fab50 National Final Ranking No. 1 (2013). In club softball, Beck was a five-time selection to the Elite ONDECK recruiting camps. She helped her teams to three top 25 finishes at PGF Nationals (2013 - 17th - 18U; 2012 - 23rd - 18U; 2011 - 11th - 14U); two top 25 finishes at ASA Nationals (2010 - 9th - 14U; 2009 - 11th - 12U); a second place finish at the 2008 TCS Nationals (12U); and a first place finish at the 2007 USSSA Western Nationals (10U). Beck was named MVP of 2007 USSSA Western Nationals (10U). Off the field, Beck is a member of the Honor Roll (2010-13) with a 3.47 grade point average.
"Jordan will step in and make contributions in a major way both defensively and offensively," Malgradi stated. "Jordan has a ton of power in her bat and is projected to be in the middle of the lineup. Jordan, as a catcher, has a strong arm that will command attention from the opposition. Her receiving and blocking skills will make a major impact with our pitching staff. Jordan's international experience playing with the Canadian National Team will be a major addition to our team."
Christofferson, a 5-4 outfielder from Casa Grande, Ariz., is a product of Casa Grande High School. She is a three-year varsity starter, boasting a career batting average of .400 with 70 stolen bases. Christofferson was tabbed All-Region (2011, 2012); All-State (2011, 2013); and All-Division (2013). In club softball, she has a .485 batting average (2011-13). Off the field, Christofferson is a member of the National Honor Society with a 4.0 GPA and volunteers at the county animal shelter.
"KC is one of those players you always want on your team and never want to play against," said Malgradi. "She is a big time competitor. KC will help increase depth and help improve our outfield. She can play all three positions. KC is a slapper that we will look to start our offense and table set for our middle of the lineup hitters."
Hayden, a 5-7 infielder from New Braunfels, Texas, comes to Hattiesburg from New Braunfels High School. She was named Newcomer of the Year (2011) as a freshman. Hayden was selected All-District (2011, 2012, 2013); All-Comal County (2013); and NBHS Student-Athletic of the Month (2013). Her travel ball team, the Texas Bombers Gold, was ranked 17th in the nation. Off the field, Hayden is a member of the National Honor Society and has earned Academic All-District (2011, 2012) accolades. In addition, she was selected to shadow surgeons in the operating room in Health Center Program at NBHS.
"Mallory will add immediate depth to our infield," remarked Malgradi. "She has the ability to play anyone of the four positions in the infield. She will also make an immediate impact in the middle of our lineup with her power. Mallory's attitude and work ethic will help continue the forward progression of Southern Miss Softball. She is a fierce competitor."
Johnson, a 5-7 pitcher and outfielder from Lynn Haven, Fla., matriculates from Mosley High School. She was named All-County (2011, 2012, 2013), as well as, earning the Silver Slugger Award (2011, 2012, 2013). Johnson posted a season-best batting average of .456 in 2013, while recording a career average of .372. She pitched MHS to the 2013 Elite Eight. In her career, Johnson has pitched 45 games with 200 strikeouts and boasted a 2.2 earned run average. Johnson played travel ball for 10 years, notching 249 innings pitched, 72 games, 272 strikeouts and a 1.98 ERA. She helped the Goldcoast Hurricanes to a Top 5 finish at ASA Nationals and the Triple Crown Nationals. Off the field, she is involved in Beta Club, Pep Club President, Outdoor Ed Officer and Calendar Girl. Johnson is a member of the honor roll and is dual enrolled in classes at Gulf Coast State College.
"Jill will fit perfectly with our pitching staff," Malgradi said. "She has a dominant curve ball and has the ability to keep hitters off balance constantly with her movement. We are very excited with Jill's athleticism and her future contributions in Black & Gold."
Reynolds, a 5-2 outfielder from Chandler, Ariz., joins the Golden Eagles from Hamilton High School. She has played varsity softball since her freshman year. Reynolds was named All-Region in 2011 (Second Team), 2012 (Honorable Mention) and 2013 (Second Team). She has batted over .325 each year of her prep career (freshman - .337; sophomore - .411; and junior - .326). Reynolds has received varsity letters both on the field and in the classroom. Off the field, she is a straight A student with a 4.4 grade point average and a member of the National Honor Society. In addition, Reynolds volunteers at various events in the community.
"Sam will be a great addition to our outfield with her speed and range," stated Malgradi. "The strength of her arm will make an impact right away with the opposition. Sam is a small power-packed package for sure. She is an explosive slapper that can create havoc and also has the ability to drive the ball out of the park."