Dec. 3, 2013
FRESNO, Calif. - Fresno State softball head coach Trisha Ford and her staff polished off a busy recruiting cycle with Tuesday's announcement of her first signee class.
The `Dogs confirmed receipt of National Letters of Intent from a quartet of prep seniors from California - infielders Wendy Cardinali (Santa Clarita), Katie Castellon (Stockton), Vanessa Hernandez (Hesperia) and Chase LeeHong (Monterey).
"I'm really excited to have this talented group join our program", Ford said. "We will have several infielders graduate next year, so their addition helps us in a key area. Their presence will boost us with their speed, their bats and their gloves. They are thrilled to be Bulldogs, and love the academic and athletic opportunities we have to offer."
Cardinali, a 5-3 shortstop from Santa Clarita, Calif., is a three-year letterwinner for Valencia High School and a L.A. Daily News All-Area Second-Team choice in 2013. As a junior, she led the team in homers (8) and batted .344 with a .600 slugging percentage and 22 RBI's. She also topped +.300 as a sophomore (.316) and freshman (.302). An CIF All-League and Foothill League Second-Team choice as a junior, she was also a Varsity Athletic Achievement Award winner her first two seasons. Club-wise, she has played for the Valencia Miners Gold Club.
Coach Ford said, "Katie is a very versatile infielder. She has a good glove and really enjoys the game. She is quiet off the field, but on the field is really vocal and has a take-charge attitude."
Castellon, a 5-6 shortstop/third baseman from Stockton, Calif., was an All-Area honoree for St. Mary's High School in 2012 and `13. A three-time letterwinner, she was the team's Defensive Player of the Year the past two seasons and batted +.400 her first three years (junior .565, sophomore .406, freshman .410). Club-wise, she has played for the Stockton Running Rebels Gold and appeared in the 2013 Triple Crown and 2011 Fireworks All-Star Games in Colorado.
Coach Ford said, "Katie is an athletic middle infielder that is strong and likes to run the bases. She will be a good leader and swings the bat well."
Hernandez, a shortstop for Hesperia, Calif., owns Hesperia High School season records in doubles (14), slugging (1.050), triples (4), homers (8-tied), RBI (36-tied), stolen bases (11) and longest hitting streak (21 games). She has also played outfield for the Orange County Batbusters-Haning club team and helped the squad to a Premier Girls Fast Pitch National U16 title and runner-up U18 honors in 2013.
Coach Ford said, "Vanessa brings a lot of energy and plays at a high level. She has a lot of great experience, and we're looking forward to coaching her."
LeeHong, a 5-9 shortstop from Monterey, Calif., is a three-time MTAL First-Team choice for Santa Catalina High School. The three-time letterwinner hit .512 as a sophomore (with 12 extra-base hits and 41 runs) and .367 as a junior (with 11 extra-base hits). Her squad ranked fifth in the state division rankings (23-1-1) her sophomore season and won its first CCS Division III title after her game-winning, two-run single vs. Soquel. In club action, she plays for the Don Ford Strike Zone team.
Coach Ford said, "Chase adds depth as a shortstop and infielder. She's a great kid that is smart and savvy. She runs well and has a good glove."
Their addition will help the `Dogs replace a five-member 2014 senior class that includes all-conference infielders Vonnie Martin and Brooke Ortiz, catcher/infielder starter Stesha Brazil, outfield starter Kapri Angotti and catcher Kimberly Fisher.
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