Kentucky Softball Inks Five For Class of 2016

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky softball team under the direction of ninth-year head coach Rachel Lawson announced its signing class of five high school stars on Monday afternoon, capping off another successful signing period.

Infielder Kalia Johnson (Covington, Ga.), infielder Alex Martens (McHenry, Ill.), infielder Morgan McCallum (Mesquite, Texas), infielder Kiersten Moore (Marietta, Ga.) and infielder/outfielder Ashley Ruiz (Aliso Viejo, Calif.) have signed National Letters of Intent to play softball at UK. The class is ranked in the top 15 nationally by FloSoftball.

The signees for 2016 come from all over the nation, even stretching as far west as Aliso Viejo, Calif. (Ashley Ruiz) and as far south as Mesquite, Texas (Morgan McCallum) with Illinois and Georgia also represented in the 2016 class. The class of 2016 represents the national brand of UK Softball and recruiting new areas, as Martens (Illinois) and McCallum (Texas) will be players from states not currently represented on the current roster. Ruiz will be the second California product on the roster, joining sophomore catcher Rachel Metzger (Bakersfield, Calif.).

More on all five of the signees can be found below:

 
Kalia Johnson

Kalia Johnson

Covington, Ga.
Pitcher

Pitcher Kalia Johnson joins the Wildcats out of Alcovy High School in Covington, Ga. Johnson in 2015-16 is batting a blistering .525 with 31 hits in 59 official at-bats. She scored 22 runs, has nine doubles and six homers this season alone at the plate. In the circle, Johnson has a 1.05 earned run average and a 5-1 record in her 13 appearances. In her 73.1 innings pitched, Johnson has allowed just 11 earned runs and has struck out 122 of the 307 batters that she’s faced.

Johnson has set the Georgia high school record for highest amount of strikeouts recorded and home runs hit in a single season, and was a member of the Georgia All-Star High School team. She is a two-time MVP, two-time Coaches Award winner, has won the Player of the Week four times in addition to being a three-time All-County pitcher.
Alex Martens

Alex Martens

McHenry, Ill.
Infielder

Second basemen and shortstop Alex Martens joins the Wildcats out of McHenry West High School in McHenry, Ill., representing the first player to sign with UK from the Prairie State since Lauren Cumbess (Nomal, Ill.) in 2011. Martens, who bats left and throws right, is hitting at a .532 clip in her last 69 games played with a .587 on-base percentage. She’s knocked in 82 runs and scored 83 times, while collecting 118 base hits. She is ranked as a top-60 player nationally by FloSoftball.com and is coming off a junior campaign where she hit .546 with eight homers and 51 RBI.

Martens was ICA All-State First Team, Northwest Area All-Area, conference and regional champions, a member of the Chicago Bandits All-Star team, named to the Fox Valley All-Conference team as well as earning a nomination for the Gatorade Player of the Year. She is a multi-sport athlete for McHenry High School, also playing volleyball on the varsity team each of the last two seasons.
Morgan McCallum

Morgan McCallum

Mesquite, Texas
Infielder

Dallas area Offensive Player of the Year, Morgan McCallum, joins Kentucky and is sure to add pop to the UK offensive lineup upon her arrival in Lexington. McCallum led all batters in the Dallas area last season with a .611 average, notching 33 hits in 54 at-bats, 17 homers, 30 RBI, 11 doubles and two triples. 

McCallum received the honor as District 12-5A Offensive Player of the Year, First Team All-Area and was named First Team All-State last year. In addition, she led all Texas high school players with 17 homers and was tied for fourth in national home run leaders. She slugged at No. 2 statewide with a percentage of 1.391. McCallum plays for the Texas Glory Adkins club team.
Kierston Moore

Kierston Moore

Marietta, Ga.
Infielder

Marietta, Ga., native Kierston Moore joins Kentucky as a decorated dual-sport athlete who has been a standout in both softball and basketball at Sprayberry High School in the Peach State. Moore in her senior year alone hit at a .549 clip in 29 games, with four homers and 16 RBI. She is the school record in virtually statistical category, including average (.505), runs scored (85), hits (108), RBIs (60), doubles (24), homers (14), walks (69), on-base percentage (.625), slugging percentage (.832) and OPS (1.457).

Moore went 8-for-11 in the postseason with her high school in the four games that they played, with a homer, two doubles and five walks. Moore has also been great in the classroom, earning scholar athlete every year that she has been with the team. The infielder was All-Region 7AAAAA all three years, won the 2013 Silver Slugger award, in 2014 was named Second Team All-County, and was named to the 2015 Georgia Dugout Club Fastpitch All-State game. Moore in addition won a swing-off at the Georgia Dugout Club Fastpitch All-State Game Home Run Derby, with 22 homers, setting a new record. She plans on majoring in biology and working with animals when her softball career comes to a close.

Ashley Ruiz

Ashley Ruiz

Aliso Viejo,Calif.
Infielder/Pitcher

Ashley Ruiz from Aliso Viejo, Calif., joins the Wildcats as the second player on the UK roster from California (Rachel Metzger). So far in her three-year high school career with Aliso Niguel High School, Ruiz is batting .411 with 5 homers, five triples, 24 doubles and is sporting a stellar .427 OBP. Ruiz in her junior year was the team MVP and voted a captain by her team while also being First Team All-League. She was voted the All-Tournament MVP at the Laguna Hills Tournament and also had 65 RBIs a season ago.

Ruiz also has been a standout pitcher for her team, appearing in over 50 games, and tallying a 27-10 record with a 2.16 earned run average and 218 strikeouts. In her freshman and sophomore seasons, Ruiz was named All-League and voted an All-Tournament player at the Northwood Tournament in 2012-13.

For the latest on the Kentucky softball team, follow @UKSoftball on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, as well as on the web at UKathletics.com.