DAVIS, Calif. —
A pair of pitchers and two infielders make up a group of four standout high school student-athletes who have signed National Letters of Intent to continue their academic and athletic careers with the UC Davis softball team during the NCAA's early signing period, Head Coach Erin Thorpe
announced on Tuesday.
Right-handers Kenedi Brown (Elk Grove, Calif. / Sheldon HS) and Taylor Fitzgerald (Rocklin, Calif. / Rocklin HS), along with infielders Leah Polson (El Dorado Hills, Calif. / Oak Ridge HS) and Sarah Starks (Gilroy, Calif. / Christopher HS), will join the Aggies for the 2020 season and will have four years of eligibility remaining.
"Overall our 2019 class will compliment our current roster very well," Thorpe said. "We have not only signed four very talented athletes, but four great students and overall amazing people. We are excited to welcome these four families into our Aggie softball family.
"Taylor and Kenedi will bring great depth and young talent to our already seasoned pitching staff, while Leah and Sarah have a breadth of experience being relied upon on offense against some of the nations best competition. Leah's athleticism and versatility will also make an immediate impact on defense."
Brief bios on each of UC Davis' signees are below.
Wrapping up the winningest season in the program's Division I history with a 27-24 overall record and a 9-12 mark in Big West play, UC Davis posted the most wins and the program's first-ever winning season at the Division I level in 2018. The nine league wins were the most since the Aggies finished with the same number in 2014, while the tie for fourth in the conference standings was the program's highest Big West finish since UC Davis ended up third in 2012.
KENEDI BROWN (6-2, RHP, Elk Grove, Calif. / Sheldon HS '19, LTG)
Entering her fourth varsity season with the Huskies… Helped Sheldon HS to three straight Delta League titles and a pair of CIF Sac-Joaquin Section titles as a freshman and sophomore… Team was section runner-up as a junior… Two-time team MVP as a freshman and sophomore… All-Delta League first team, all-area second team selection, and a second team All-Metro selection as a junior… Also earned NFCA high school All-West Region second team honors in 2018, posting a 1.42 ERA and hitting .333 at the plate… Team finished with a 30-2 overall record, a No. 4 state ranking, and No. 11 nationally in 2017… Parents are William and Heidi… Has two siblings: Kade and Kwinci… Intends to major in education at UC Davis… Her mother played basketball at Dickinson State… Three-year scholar-athlete.
TAYLOR FITZGERALD (5-9, RHP, Rocklin, Calif. / Rocklin HS '19, All-American Sports Academy-Merrida)
Entering her senior season with the Thunder… All-Sierra Foothill League first team honoree as a junior after hitting .433 on the year while also seeing time in the circle… Three-time scholar-athlete… Parents are Jack and Liz… Has a sister, Morgan… Helped the Firecrackers North-Thomas club to the PGF 18U Platnium National Championship in August… Helped her Firecrackers North-Thomas club to a first-place finish at the PGF Ultimate Challenge in 2017, while previously helping her club teams to a third-place finish at the Colorado Sparkler Power Pools Tournament and a ninth-place finish at the PGF Premier Nationals in 2016.
LEAH POLSON (5-4, IF, El Dorado Hills, Calif. / Oak Ridge HS '19, All-American Sports Academy-Merrida)
Entering her senior season at Oak Ridge HS in El Dorado Hills, Calif… Helped the Trojans to a Sierra Foothill League title as a sophomore in 2017, finishing with a 22-7 overall record… Helped lead Oak Ridge to a pair of section quarterfinal appearances in each of the last two seasons…. First-team All-Sierra Foothill League section and Sacramento Bee All-Metro honorable mention selection as a junior, hitting .365 with a .481 on-base percentage… All-state nominee and team MVP in 2018… Also earned all-league first team honors and was an all-state nominee as a sophomore, hitting .481 with a .500 on-base percentage… Parents are John and Maryann… Has a younger sibling, Jessie… Intends to major in neurobiology, physiology, and behavior at UC Davis… Three-year Principal's Honor Roll selection with a 4.09 GPA and ranks 52nd in her 595-member class.
SARAH STARKS (5-7, IF, Gilroy, Calif. / Christopher HS '19, Salinas Storm)
Entering her third varsity season with the Cougars… Also played water polo as a junior and tennis as a sophomore… All-Monterey Bay League-Gabilan first team selection as a sophomore and junior in 2017 and 2018… Hit .447 with 38 hits and a CIF Central Coast section-leading 11 home runs as a sophomore, driving in 37 and scoring 32 times… Slugged .976 and posted a 1.506 OPS… Errorless in 121 total chances… Hit .429 as a junior and was the team's offensive player of the year… Parents are Paul and Rachel… Has two siblings: Garrett and Aubrey… Intends to major in Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity at UC Davis, with a possible minor in anthropology… Helped lead her Salinas Storm club team to a PGF Platinum Championship in 2017.
2018 UC DAVIS SOFTBALL EARLY SIGNEES
Name (Height, Position, Hometown / Previous School, Club Team)
Kenedi Brown (6-2, RHP, Elk Grove, Calif. / Sheldon HS '19, LTG)
Taylor Fitzgerald (5-9, RHP, Rocklin, Calif. / Rocklin HS '19, All-American Sports Academy-Merrida)
Leah Polson (5-4, IF, El Dorado Hills, Calif. / Oak Ridge HS '19, All-American Sports Academy-Merrida)
Sarah Starks (5-7, IF, Gilroy, Calif. / Christopher HS '19, Salinas Storm)
ABOUT UC DAVIS
Providing a small-town community feel while providing a world-class academic experience, UC Davis is home to more than 37,000 students and centrally located between San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, and the Napa Valley. The No. 5-ranked public university in the nation according to the Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education, and among the top 10 public universities nationwide according to U.S. News and World Report, UC Davis offers nearly 100 graduate programs and more than 100 academic majors across four colleges and six professional schools, ranking among the world and nation's best in numerous disciplines, including veterinary science, agriculture, and plant and animal programs.
Launched in 2017-18, the Aggie EVO System is UC Davis Athletics' investment in the primary mission of preparing student-athletes for a successful "launch" after graduation. Thanks to a collaboration of alumni, university resources, corporate partners, coaches and Student-Athlete Outcomes staff, all Aggies are guided over four years to acquire the skills, knowledge, opportunities and tools to better know and navigate the "World of Work" after graduating from UC Davis. Follow the Aggie EVO system on Twitter and Instagram at @AggieEVO.