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@FGCU_Softball Inks 11 in Early Signing Period
Sunday, December 08, 2013 | by Jamie Church (@jlchurch)
11 new student-athletes will wear the Green and Blue next season
11 new student-athletes will wear the Green and Blue next season

FORT MYERS, Fla. – FGCU softball Head Coach David Deiros announced the signing of 11 student-athletes during the early-signing period this week.  The largest recruit class since the inaugural 2002-03 season will join the Eagles for the 2014-15 academic year.

Kasandra Castle, Emily Demurias, Gabbee Draney, Kori Dunn, Kelsey Huff, Michaela Hynes, Brianne Innamorato, Carissa LiCata, Natalie Lopez, Brittany McGuire and Chandler Middlebrook have all signed National Letters of Intent to join FGCU next year.  The class includes 10 athletes from Florida and one from New Jersey.

“Coach Bachkora and I are very excited to welcome our 11 newest Eagles to FGCU,” said Deiros of the class.  “This is a very versatile group with just about every player capable of playing at least two defensive positions.  In addition, we will be able to attack offensively in a variety of ways because we have players that run very well, others that can hit for power and a few that do both.  Most importantly, these kids bleed Green and Blue – they love FGCU, are fully committed to everything this institution and softball team stands for and they will be fantastic ambassadors for our program.”

Following the 2014 season, the FGCU softball team will lose a class of nine seniors, the largest group since the 2009 season.   

 “We lose a majority of our position players and half of our pitching staff after this year,” explained Deiros.  “We needed to recruit a large class and I am expecting these players to compete right away with an excellent set of returners.  This will ensure that we will be a formidable softball team for many years to come.”

This year’s team will open the 2014 campaign on Friday, Feb. 7 when the Eagles host Mississippi, Georgetown, Western Kentucky and Liberty in the FGCU/Four Points Sheraton Invitational. 

                                    FGCU Softball 2014 Recruiting Class

Player Pos. Ht. B/T Hometown Previous School
Kasandra Castle C/1B  5-9 L/L Lake Worth, Fla. Palm Beach Central High School
Emily Demurias IF  5-8 S/R Miami, Fla. Killian High School
Gabbee Draney P  5-6 R/R Miami, Fla. Gulliver Preparatory School
Kori Dunn C/OF  5-4 R/R Chuluota, Fla. Lake Howell High School
Kelsey Huff OF  5-7 L/R Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Dwyer High School
Michaela Hynes IF/OF  5-6 R/R Windermere, Fla. West Orange High School
Brianne Innamorato IF  5-9 R/R Mullica Hill, N.J. Bishop Eustace High School
Carissa LiCata OF  5-4 L/R Okeechobee, Fla. Okeechobee High School
Natalie Lopez IF/OF  5-6 L/R Miami, Fla. Westminster Christian
Brittany McGuire 3B  5-8 R/R Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Ponte Vedra High School
Chandler Middlebrook IF  5-8 R/R Auburndale, Fla. Auburndale High School

 

Kasandra Castle, C/1B (Lake Worth, Fla.)

               


Castle, a native of Lake Worth, Fla. maintained a batting average of .438 as a junior with five doubles, six triples and six home runs.  She also held a slugging percentage of .743 and knocked in 32 RBI.

While playing under Head Coach Bob Moran on the Palm Beach Central varsity softball team, Castle was named a three-time All-Palm County selection and a three-time All-Conference honoree.  The catcher/first baseman was named to the Third-Team Florida Class 8A All-State Team as a junior and earned the 2013 Palm Beach Central Offensive Player of the Year award after leading her team to the Florida Class 8A quarterfinal and the District 9 Championship.  In 2011, Castle was named the Palm Beach Central Rookie of the Year.  She is also a member of the Gators Gold club team which is coached by Link Flannery.

Castle is the daughter of Corey and Jennifer Castle.  She has one younger brother, Kyle.

DEIROS ON CASTLE: "Kas is a very intelligent athlete with superb defensive instincts.  She has really developed over the last year into a powerful run producer because of how hard she works and studies the game."

  

Emily Demurias, IF (Miami, Fla.)

      

Demurias hails from Miami, Fla. where she is a member of the Killian High School softball team under Head Coach Karen Harper and plays for the Miami Lady Canes for Coach Gina DeAguero.

The middle infielder hit .441 as a junior in 2013 with seven doubles, 25 runs scored, 19 RBI and 22 stolen bases.  Demurias was named the Killian High School MVP on two occasions and is a two-time All-Dade County Honorable Mention.  She also earned Second Team All-Dade County accolades in 2013.

Off the field, Demurias was named the 2013 Killian High School Softball Scholar Award recipient for having the highest grade point average among the team’s players.

Demurias is the daughter of Judy and Eddy Demurias.  She has two brothers, Eddy and Evan.

DEIROS ON DEMURIAS: "Emily is a magician on defense--there is not a play she can't make with her glove.  She can play either middle infield position with efficiency and flair."

  

Gabbee Draney, P (Miami, Fla.)

     

Draney will be the lone pitcher to join the Eagles next season.  The Miami, Fla. native held a record of 19-4 in 2013 with a 1.47 ERA.  She also struck out 147 batters.

While playing for Mark Shusterman at Gulliver Preparatory School, Draney was named First-Team All-County and earned the nod of Dade County Class 1A-4A Pitcher of the Year.  She was also named First-Team All-State and as the Florida Class 4A Pitcher of the Year in 2013.  With help from Draney, the Gulliver softball team won the Florida State 4A Championship in each of the last three years.

Off the field, Draney is an accomplished violinist in the Gulliver Orchestra.  The group has performed at Avery Fisher Hall at New York City’s Lincoln Center.

Draney is the daughter of Lina and Martin Draney.

DEIROS ON DRANEY: “Gabbee is strong and smart.  She is a fantastic pitcher and has been a winner at every level.  We are expecting her to bring that level of excellence and winning attitude to our team."

 

Kori Dunn, C/OF (Chuluota, Fla.)

     

Dunn, a native of Chuluota, Fla. will join the Eagle’s roster as a catcher and outfielder next season.

With 27 stolen bases, Dunn will leave a legacy at Howell High School as the single-season record holder.  Dunn also recorded a batting average of .389 and an on-base percentage of .440 as a junior.  With guidance from Coach Tom Kreahling, Dunn was named Second-Team All-Conference and Third Team Class 7A All-State last season.  She also helped the Silver Hawks to the Class 7A District 4 Championship and to a Class 7A State Quarterfinal appearance.

Dunn’s club team Wagner’s Gold, coached by Sean Dunn, was the ASA Gold National Runner Up last season. 

Dunn is the daughter of Sean and Shannon Dunn.  She has one sister, Riley.

DEIROS ON DUNN: “The thing that stands out about Kori is her heart.  She plays with a palpable fire and intensity.  Don't let her size fool you--she runs like a deer, she has a cannon for an arm, and she is the toughest kid on the field!"

 

Kelsey Huff, OF (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.)
 
      

As one of two incoming players from Palm Beach, Huff will join the Green and Blue in the outfield next season.

Huff is a member of the Dwyer High School varsity softball team under Head Coach Melanie Lott.  In 2013, Huff maintained an astounding batting average of .623, while batting in nine runs, scoring 22 runs and successfully stealing 17 times.  She recorded a fielding percentage of .975 for Dwyer as a junior.  Huff also plays for the Lady Gators Jackson under Head Coach Randy Jackson.

Huff was named All-Palm Beach County, All-Conference and Second-Team Florida Class 8A All-State as a junior.

Off the field, Huff maintains a grade point average among the top-10 percent of her graduating class.

Huff is the daughter of Bill and Christine Huff.  She has two brothers, Hunter and Dylan.

DEIROS ON HUFF: “Kelsey has really improved her overall game over the last year.  She is very smart and is able to incorporate instruction quickly into performance.  She has worked very hard to expand her offensive repertoire and turned herself into an excellent outfielder."

 

Michaela Hynes, IF/OF (Windermere, Fla.)
 
      


Hynes pushed her district champion West Orange Warriors to their first Class 8A final four appearance since 2004 and only the third final four in West Orange High School softball history.  During her junior year, she batted .439 with 10 home runs and 40 RBI, leading her squad to a 25-6 record.  She displayed a remarkably dynamic skillset by stealing 30 bases in addition to her power numbers. 

As a three year starter, Hynes has excelled on the field as well as in the classroom and in the community.  She was a National Honor Society inductee this fall, an Honor Roll student every semester in high school and a member of SAAD.  She also was a Peer Ministry Leader for Holy Family Catholic Church and mentored young players in Windermere’s Little League. 

The senior plays travel ball for the Windermere Wildfire coached by George Paulson.  Her family includes parents Chris and Debbie, and siblings Jeffrey, Mary, Madison and John.

DEIROS ON HYNES: “We were very fortunate to get Michaela to join us for next year.  She had the most dynamic last six months that I have ever seen from a recruit.  She learned a new defensive position and exploded as an offensive force."

 

Brianne Innamorato, IF (Mullica Hill, N.J.)
 
      

When Innamorato’s steps on the field for FGCU, she will become the first player from New Jersey to represent the Eagles Softball squad. 

The Mullica Hill native provided a power presence for the Bishop Eustace Crusaders.  The infielder belted four home runs to go with seven doubles, three triples and a notable slugging percentage of .825.  She has made the All-Conference team in each of her first three high school seasons. 

Innamorato was recognized by her own Bishop Eustace team as the Team Captain and MVP in both 2012 and 2013.  The senior plays travel ball for the New Jersey Gators Gold coached by John Biasi. 

Innamorato is the daughter of Patty and Ron Innamorato has two sisters, Christina Carter and Suzanne Innamorato.

DEIROS ON INNAMORATO: “Bri is the type of player you love to have on your team.  She is athletic, versatile, and always positive.  She has been a team leader at every level and I expect her to do the same for us."

  

Carissa LiCata, OF (Okeechobee, Fla.)

     

LiCata led the Okeechobee Brahman’s to a Florida Class 7A District championship victory in 2013.  As a junior, she batted .432 and maintained an on base percentage of .619.  The speedy outfielder finished the year with an incredible 52 steals as well as a perfect fielding percentage.  For her efforts, she was recognized as the Okeechobee High School MVP. 

LiCata’s additional accolades include a two-time Treasure Coast Scripps All-Area Team recognition and a Wendy’s Heisman Award nod.  LiCata distinguished herself as a diverse athletic talent, lettering in softball, soccer and cross country. 

Her success has continued in the classroom, as the softball standout ranks in the top four percent of her class with a 4.0 GPA.  She was additionally involved in the National Honor Society and the Beta Club. 

LiCata plays travel ball for the Lightspeed Gold coached by Mike Kelly.  She is supported by her mother Ailin Perez, her father Frank LiCata and her stepmother Trina LiCata.

DEIROS ON LiCATA: “Carissa is just flat out fast!  She has got game-changing speed which will be even more dangerous as she learns how to put pressure on defenses."

 

 

Natalie Lopez, IF/OF (Miami, Fla.)

      

Lopez utilized her diverse skill set to lead Westminster Christian School to the Florida Class 3A State Quarterfinals appearance.  The senior has done it all for her Westminster Warriors.  In her junior year, Lopez batted .443 and raced home 28 times to lead her team in runs.  She added four doubles and drove in eight runs last season.  Lopez was extremely successful on the base paths, stealing 14 bases in 15 attempts.  

Playing all positions, Lopez has been invaluable on defense for Westminster, while recording zero errors over the course of the entire season.  Lopez was recognized as a three-time All Dade County recipient and twice was honored as a member of the First-Team Florida Class 3A All-State Team.  Aside from her time with the Warriors, Lopez also played for the West Pines Diamond Dusters coached by Manny Devesa.  She is the daughter of Maureen and Jose Lopez.

DEIROS ON LOPEZ: “Natalie is the softball version of a 'gym rat.'  She eats, sleeps, and lives the game.  She can play anywhere on the field and can't get enough of practice - our coaching staff and team will love her for that."

 

Brittany McGuire, 3B (Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.)
 
      

McGuire was a key member of a Ponte Vedra High School squad that won its district.  She followed her sophomore campaign in which she batted and incredible .533 with five home runs and 32 RBI with a superb junior year that saw her bat .392 to go with five home runs and 28 RBI.  The third baseman has been an All St. Johns County honoree in each of her first three high school seasons. 

McGuire is also a 3-time winner of the Ponte Vedra High School “Big Bat” Award.  She has been name to both the All-First Coast Second-Team and the Florida Class 5A All-State Second Team.  In addition to playing a leading role for her Ponte Vedra Sharks, the senior plays for the Wagner’s Gold coached by Sean Dunn.  McGuire is the daughter of Tonya and Ken McGuire.

DEIROS ON McGUIRE: “Brittany is just a pure power hitter.  She is a very dangerous hitter who has only scratched the surface of what she is capable of achieving."

 

Chandler Middlebrook, IF (Auburndale, Fla.)
 
     

Middlebrook powered Auburndale High School to the 2012 Florida Class 5A Final Four.  As a sophomore in 2012, the talented infielder batted .419 and ranked among the district leaders with 49 RBI and six home runs.  Middlebrook’s offensive efforts resulted in Polk Preps Player of the Week accolades on two separate occasions.  She has twice been named to the All-Polk County Team and her extraordinary production also earned her a spot on the 2012 Class 5A All-State First-Team as a sophomore. 

The Auburndale, Fla. native plays for the travel ball team Wagner’s Gold coached by Reese Kiple that finished in the ASA National Top Ten.  Middlebrook has accomplished this while achieving an average GPA of 4.23 and ranking in the top five in her class. 

Forced to sit out the 2013 season due to injury, Middlebrooks approaches her final high school season hoping to elevate Auburndale to new heights.  Middlebrooks is the daughter of Steve and Shelby Vargas and has two sisters, Tristan Middlebrook and Erica Vargas.

DEIROS ON MIDDLEBROOK: “Chandler has one of the highest offensive IQ's I have ever seen from a high school player.  She studies pitchers, has a plan at the plate, and is very committed to her plan.  That is why she is a fantastic run-producer--we are expecting her to do the same for us."