Nov. 18, 2013
MADISON, Wis. - Head softball coach Yvette Healy is excited to welcome five future Badgers to the softball roster next fall. Samantha Arents (Corona, Calif.), Annie Davis (Paradise Valley, Ariz.), Hannah Esser (Katy, Texas), Kelsey Jenkins (Tucson, Ariz) and Mariah Watts (St. Petersburg, Fla.) have all signed National Letters of Intent to attend the University of Wisconsin in 2014.
Samantha Arents (Corona, Calif./Orange Lutheran), 5-9, R/R, 1B/OF
Arents joins the Badgers from Orange Lutheran High School in Orange County, Calif., where she plays for coach Steve Miklos. As a junior, Arents earned second-team All-Trinity League honors and was named Michelle Carew Classic first-team all-tournament. As a sophomore, the first baseman earned all-academic honors.
Arents also plays for Phil Harman and Lyn Christensen on the California Cruisers club team. She is a member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes and National Honors Society inductee, California Scholarship Federation member and earned High Honor Roll from 2011-2013.
Why Wisconsin? "I chose Wisconsin not only because of the great competitiveness found in the Big Ten, and the strong academic courses Wisconsin offers, but because of the people. The coaches are unlike any of the others I had been talking to in that they cared about me not only as a player but a person. They are genuinely funny, kind people who care for their players like each and every one of them are their family."
Coach Healy on Arents: "We are thrilled to welcome Samantha to the Badger softball family. Sam is a clean-up hitter for Lyn Christensen's Cal Cruisers. She brings a lot of power, leadership and character to the program. Samantha has the versatility to play a corner or the outfield. Her commitment to academic excellence coupled with her desire to compete in the Women's College World Series makes her an ideal fit with the Badgers."
Annie Davis (Paradise Valley, Ariz./Saguaro), 6-1, R/R, P
Davis, a 6-1 pitcher, has played for the Arizona Hotshots 18U Gold for Keith Householder and Stephanie Ewing since the fall of her freshman year. Davis was named FAST (Foothills Acceleration and Sports Training) Athlete of the Month for October, has played at Premier Girls Fastpitch Nationals 18U Gold for four seasons and attended OnDeck National Elite Softball Camp.
As a member of the Saguaro High School team her freshman and sophomore years, Davis led the Sabercats to an AIA Division I Section III title her sophomore season. As a freshman she was named 4A Division II second-team all-Region.
Why Wisconsin: "With an undecided major at this time, I am confident that the University of Wisconsin will offer a wide variety of programs I will be able to choose from. The rants and raves from alumni regarding the high level of education I will receive make me feel that I would be more than prepared for the work force after graduation from UW.
"As well, the academic support from the athletic department will have a positive impact on my education and overall learning experience by providing the tools for academic success. The athletic program has a rich history of one of the finest programs in the country and I am confident that I will have every resource available to me to be a successful student athlete."
Coach Healy on Davis: "Annie Davis is one of the top recruits to commit to Wisconsin since our staff arrived. She's a highly recruited pitcher from Arizona that passed on PAC12 and west coast interest to come build a legacy at Wisconsin. Our staff has been impressed with Annie's character, family values and heart for a lot of years. It's been amazing to see her athleticism and pitching ability skyrocket these last few seasons, giving her the skills to pitch at the highest level. Annie has been an outstanding pitcher for Keith Housholder's Arizona Hotshots team, securing wins over some of the top programs in the country."
Hannah Esser (Katy, Texas/Cinco Ranch), 5-2, L/L, OF
Esser comes to Wisconsin from Katy, Texas, but is no stranger to Badgers athletics. Born in Crystal Lake, Ill., Esser's grandfather, Steve Land, was the Badgers' baseball coach from 1983-91.
As a member of the Cinco Ranch High School team for coach Jerry Miller, Esser was named first-team All-District 19-5A after leading the Cougars in stolen bases (29) and runs scored (30) her junior season. She was also named Academic All-District and team captain as the Cougars won their district championship.
As a sophomore, Esser earned first-team All-District 19-5A and second-team All-Greater Houston honors, while as a freshman she was named honorable mention All-District 19-5A and earned Academic All-District honors.
Esser also plays for coach Kelli Jacoby of Texas Aces Gold team. Esser is a member of National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society, was named Outstanding Freshman Female Student and is a member of Epiphany Youth Ministry.
Why Wisconsin? "I chose Wisconsin for the combination of academics from one of the best universities in the country and a great coaching staff."
Coach Healy on Esser: "Hannah Esser will bring a tremendous amount of speed and energy to our program next fall. Hannah is a speedy left-handed slapper with great academic success and family values. Although Hannah is from Texas, her roots are in Madison, where her grandfather coached UW baseball. The Essers love Wisconsin and all of the amazing opportunities that city, the university and athletics department bring."
Kelsey Jenkins (Tucson, Ariz./Sabino) 5-6, L/R, 2B/SS/OF
Jenkins comes to Wisconsin from Sabino High School in Tucson, Ariz., where she plays for head coach Jeff Fowler. As a junior last season, Jenkins led Sabino High School and all Division II athletes with a .629 batting average and 29 stolen bases. Her 66 hits was the most across the state in all divisions. She earned Southern Arizona Co-Player of the Year and was named first-team all-state.
As a sophomore, Jenkins earned All-Southern Arizona first-team honors and was named honorable mention all-state. Her freshman year she was named Sabino High School Rookie Player of the Year and earned all-city honorable mention honors.
Jenkins also plays for coaches Keith Householder and Stephanie Ewing on the Arizona Hotshots Gold team.
Why Wisconsin? "I chose Wisconsin because of the great academics, especially the business school, and because of the quality of the softball program and the coaches at Wisconsin."
Coach Healy on Jenkins: "We're thrilled to welcome Kelsey Jenkins to the Badger softball family. KJ is an amazing middle-infielder from Arizona. She'll bring a boost of offense from left side, along with a gift for stealing bases and scoring runs. Playing in Keith Householder's Arizona Hotshots program has helped her emerge as one of the most dangerous leadoff hitters in the country, while competing against great national talent. Kelsey's softball IQ is through the roof. Her mom Shannah is not only a Ph.D., but also an Olympian, competing for Canada's National softball team, and now coaching for the Arizona Sudden Impact Gold."
Mariah "Moe" Watts (St. Petersburg, Fla./Lakewood), 5-11, R/R, P
A pitcher from St. Petersburg, Fla., Watts plays for Edie Shankle at Lakewood High School. As a junior, Watts led the Spartans to their best season in program history, recording 166 strikeouts and earning first team all-county and second-team All-Sun Coast honors.
As a sophomore, Watts was named Offensive Player of the Year after recording a .603 batting average. She recorded 220 strikeouts and was named first-team all-county. As a freshman the righthander was named Rookie of the Year, earning second-team all-county honors after recording a .561 batting average and 203 strikeouts.
Watts also plays for Team North Florida for coach Kevin Maguire, coach Julie Baker and coach Troy Whitt. She
Why Wisconsin? "I chose Wisconsin because of the recognized journalism and mass communication program as well as the traditions and school spirit the school has. I admired the work and care that the coaching staff has put into the softball program it shows that the coaches take pride in rebuilding the program, and any person that takes pride in what they do and has positive results, is where I want to be!"
Coach Healy on Watts: "We are so excited to welcome Mariah Watts and her family to Wisconsin. Mariah also has great family roots in college athletics. Her dad Carl played football at North Carolina. Her family's commitment to academic and athletic excellence is inspiring. Mariah is an amazing athlete with endless potential as a pitcher. Her work ethic, and desire make her a special recruit for us. Competing for Team North Florida has helped her mature into a competitive gold pitcher this fall."