Georgia Tech signs trio of in-state stars

Georgia Tech softball signed four of the five high school softball players to join the Yellow Jackets in 2014, coach Sharon Perkins announced Tuesday. Of the four student-athletes to commit to Tech, three are from Georgia and one from Florida. The fifth recruit for 2014 will sign her NLI this spring.

The recruiting class includes Jessica Kowalewicz (Stone Mountain, Ga.), Samantha Pierannunzi (Lawrenceville, Ga.), Alexis Jones (Columbus, Ga.) and Colleen Darragh (St. Johns, Fla.).

“Overall, this is a very athletic signing class that can impact a game in many ways,” Perkins said. “I am extremely pleased to continue the Gwinnett County-to-Georgia Tech pipeline. Metro Atlanta is one of the nation’s hotbeds for softball and that is our program’s goal to continually bring in local players.

“All of these student-athletes are great fits for Georgia Tech academically as well. Each one of them fits in well with the tremendous team chemistry that already exists. Each player has competed at the highest levels of travel ball and possesses a great work ethic.”

Jessica Kowalewicz ● INF ● R/R ● Stone Mountain, Ga./Providence Christian Academy

Jessie Kowalewicz lettered all four years of high school under head coach Neal Cypher, and joins current Yellow Jacket and Providence Christian Academy alum Kylie Kleinschmidt next year.

A four-time member of the All-Region and the All-Gwinnett County first teams, Kowalewicz made an immediate impact with the Providence Storm earning honorable mention all-state and Rookie of the Year awards her freshman season. She was named second team all-state the next two years and was the offensive player of the year in the Class A Region her junior year. That season she batted a single-season record .500 with 37 runs, 33 RBI, five home runs, and a .864 slugging percentage. In 105 total plate appearances she struck out just once and totaled 77 bases.

Kowalewicz wrapped up her high school career with a .404 batting average, 162 hits, 129 runs, 92 RBI and 11 home runs. She reached base safely in all 30 games in both her junior and senior years, and was named MVP her senior season.

She is also a four-year letter winner as a point guard on the basketball team and a goalie on the varsity soccer team. Kowalewicz was named second team All-Region her junior season with the basketball team and earned soccer rookie of the year honors.

“Jessie is a very unselfish player who can play any position on the field,” Perkins said. “Not only is she versatile, but she can play any position extremely well and will do it with a smile on her face. She is fun to watch offensively with her power and her speed.”

Samantha Pierannunzi ● OF ● L/R ● Lawrenceville, Ga./Peachtree Ridge

Sam Pierannunzi was a four-year letterwinner and starter at Peachtree Ridge High School. A lefty power hitter who can also slap, Pierannunzi was selected as Offensive Player of the Year at Peachtree Ridge all four years of her career. In addition, she was named Most Valuable Player her senior season and selected as Player of the Year by the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Pierannunzi posted career highs in average (.481), home runs (11) and RBI (28) to help lead Peachtree Ridge to Region 7-AAAAAA’s regular season championship and the second round of the Class AAAAAA state playoffs her senior season. She tallied team-highs with 30 walks, 29 stolen bases and 46 runs.

She is a three-time All-Gwinnett County first team selection and three-time Gwinnett Diamond Club Region 7A first team honoree.

“In watching Sam throughout her career, she has transformed into a power hitter with speed, but has the ability to bunt and slap well also,” Perkins said. “This makes her tough to defend as she has so many tools. I look forward to watching her leadership skills develop as she possesses a super personality as well.”

Alexis Jones ● IF/OF/P ● R/R ● Columbus, Ga./Columbus

Alexis Jones is a four-year starter who helped her team to win the 2009 state championship and earn all-state recognition. She led the Lady Blue Devils back to the state tournament her senior season as the squad compiled a 31-6 record.

She is a four-time All-Bi-City selection by the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer and was invited to play in the 2012 Georgia Dugout Club All-Star game.

She led Columbus High School with a .402 batting average, 21 RBI and 35 runs scored her senior year and became the school’s career hits leader with 152. She saw time in the pitcher’s circle tallying a 9-3 record and throwing two shutouts.

“Other than catching, Alexis will have opportunity to play any position for us,” Perkins said. “She provides depth to what will be an experienced team for the 2013-14 season. Alexis has a strong bat and is a solid defensive player with a very strong arm.”

Colleen Darragh ● OF ● R/R ● St. Johns, Fla./Creekside

Colleen Darragh is currently a three-year letterwinner with the Creekside Knights in softball and basketball, with her senior seasons yet to come.

As a junior, she helped Creekside to the school’s first ever Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) conference and district championships. In addition, she batted .314 with 18 RBI and five triples to earn first team all-county honors selected by the St. Augustine Record.

She earned tournament MVP honors with her travel team Florida Select after the team won the 2012 USSSA/ESPN-HS 18U “A” World Series. The squad also claimed the 2012 ASA 18U Gold Southern National Championship and earned a berth to the 2013 ASA 18U Gold Nationals in Clearwater, Fla.

“Colleen is an aggressive outfielder that loves to dive and also brings a solid bat,” Perkins said. “She had tremendous coaching in travel ball under Jennie Ritter. She is a blue collar player who has a very strong softball IQ. She has familiarity with our team and was a teammate of Morgan Taylor.”

– Information courtesy of RamblinWreck.com

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