South Carolina softball head coach Beverly Smith announced nine future Gamecocks who signed national letters of intent Wednesday. Riley Blampied, Carlie Henderson, Aaliyah White, Kylee Gleason, Skylar Trahan, Maddie Gallagher, Leah Powell, Zoe Laneaux and Leslie Carroll all signed their NLI and are set to join the Gamecocks next year.
“I am excited to finally be able to talk about the Class of 2020,” Smith said in a release. “There’s a few things Gamecock softball fans should know about this class. This is the largest class I’ve signed in my tenure. They add depth at every position. This class is chalked full of talent with athletes that I expect to contribute immediately. This a group of high character people from great families who will make you proud on and off the field. I’d get my season tickets now!”
South Carolina enters the winter coming off a 38-19 season in which it advanced to its fourth-straight regional final and the program’s seventh-consecutive postseason berth to set a new record for consecutive years in regional action.
Blampied joins the Gamecocks from Cordele, Ga., where she attended Crisp County High School. She picked SC over Alabama and Florida State. She lettered all four years of high school in softball and one season of basketball.
“I always knew that Carolina was one of my favorite schools,” she said in a release. “They were the first school to offer me and believe in me. I always knew in my heart from that day forward that South Carolina was the place for me.”
Blampied was selected to the United States 17-U National Team that played in, and won, the Pan American Games. During her final two years of high school softball she never hit below .589 with a combined 25 home runs and 77 RBI. She also flashed with 21 stolen bases her final two seasons.
White joins South Carolina from Loganville, Ga., where she attended Grayson High School. White picked the Gamecocks over Arkansas, Georgia, Michigan State and LSU.
“I enjoyed the conversations with (Beverly Smith) and (Lisa Navas) on visits to the campus and at softball games,” White said in a release. “I realized that South Carolina was, and is, the best fit for me.”
During her career, she never hit lower than .443 and never stole less than 40 bases in a season. She flashed the wheels in 2017 with 55 stolen bases in 34 games. Whited closed her high school career with more than 170 swiped bases. She also holds the school record for most runs in a season, having never scored less than 33 in a season.
Henderson joins South Carolina from Calhoun, Ga., where she attended Calhoun High School. She picked South Carolina over Georgia Tech and Georgia Southern. She lettered all four years of high school in softball and one season of basketball.
“I love the coaches, campus and girls on the team,” Henderson said in a release. “South Carolina felt like home to me. I knew its where I needed to be. I also knew I wanted to play against the best of the best and that was the SEC.”
Henderson never hit lower than .475 her four years with 20 or more runs scored each season. She flashed the wheels all throughout high school with 36 stolen bases during her career.
Gleason joins the Garnet and Black from Bluffton, S.C., where she attended May River High School. She picked SC over Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Syracuse and College of Charleston. She lettered in softball all through high school and one season of cross country.
“The moment I knew I was going to pick Carolina was my freshman year of high school," Gleason said in a release. “It was my first game I ever saw them play. I never saw a team with so much compassion and fight. They were focused but looked as if they were having so much fun together. That is when I knew I wanted to be a Gamecock.”
Gleason never hit below .483 and had two seasons where she hit north of .600 as she closed her high school career with 69 RBI and eight home runs. She also had 100 stolen bases.
Trahan joins South Carolina from Hampton, Ga., where she attended Hampton High School. She picked SC over LSU. She lettered all four years in softball and swimming.
“After a lot of thinking and talking with my family, I made the decision to commit to South Carolina,” Trahan said in a release. “I already knew I wanted to go there after my unofficial visit, it just felt like home away from home. I actually made the decision at a softball tournament. I facetimed Coach Bev and told her I wanted to commit. After I got off the phone with her, I pitched one of the best games that I’ve ever pitched.”
She finished her career with 30 wins in the circle as she posted 100 or more strikeouts all four years for the Hornets. At the plate, she never hit below .430 with 14 home runs and 75 RBI. She also flashed the wheels with 35 stolen bases.
Gallagher joins SC from Port Washington, N.Y., where she attended Paul D. Schreiber High School. She picked the Gamecocks over UNC and Fordham. She lettered in softball six times.
“I got the feeling walking through the path of the athletic village to the softball stadium,” Gallagher said in a release. “I could totally picture myself at Carolina so when I was offered it was a dream come true.”
She was notably selected to the United States 17-U National Team that played in, and won, the Pan American Games, and was a two-time High School All-American and was ranked No. 27 in the class of 2020 by Extra Innings.
She finished her career having never hit below .549 with 51 extra-base hits, including 15 home runs and 52 RBI.
Powell joins the Gamecocks from Evans, Ga., where she attended Evans High School.
“The moment I knew I was picking Carolina was after finding out my tournament was canceled after warming up for a game,” Powell said in a release. “I talked to my coach. I told him I had a good feeling about South Carolina and felt it was my calling to go there. As I told him this after thinking a lot about my future, I wanted to be a Gamecock.”
She finished her career in the circle with 69 wins while striking out 591 strikeouts.
Laneaux joins the Garnet and Black from Marietta, Ga., where she attended Pope High School. She picked SC over Arkansas, Auburn and Mississippi State.
“It’s a family and the perfect place for me,” Laneaux said in a release.
During her high school career she was the Georgia 2018 State 6A Player of the Year.
Carroll joins South Carolina from Alpharetta, Ga., where she attended Cambridge High School. She picked Carolina over Auburn. She lettered in softball three years and basketball one season.
“My mom and I were eating dinner before a lesson when we saw this huge bus with South Carolina tatted on the side,” Carroll said in a release. “I saw Coach Bev’s little blonde ponytail pop out of the bus first and the rest of the team following. I immediately jumped up and said hello to everyone. I looked at Lisa Navas and as I turned to walk away, Coach Bev said, ‘Chooch, just so you know, the offer still stands whenever you’re ready to come home.’ I cried and told my mom I was ready to commit to South Carolina.”
She slugged 1.099 with a .589 on-base percentage her senior year of high school.