Softball Inks Four Recruits

Nov. 12, 2009

BERKELEY - The California softball program has signed four incoming freshmen to National Letters of Intent, head coach Diane Ninemire announced Thursday. Ashley Decker (Reno, Nev./Spanish Springs High School), Arianna Erceg (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif./Palos Verdes HS), Victoria Jones (Oceanside, Calif./Vista High School) and Alex Robben (Napa, Calif./Napa High School) have all signed NLIs and will join the Golden Bears in fall of 2010.

'This is an outstanding recruiting class,' Ninemire said. 'These four players have all come from winning programs with winning traditions. This talented class will be an asset to our program from the get go.'

Hailing from Reno, Nev., Ashley Decker will join the Bears as a second baseman/outfielder. The 5-5 player has been to ASA nationals six times and has won multiple national qualifier tournaments with her travel teams. A standout prepster, Decker has led her league in hitting for the past three years - boasting an above .600 batting average - and was selected first-team all-state in each of her first three years of play at Spanish Springs High School. On pace to break the Nevada state high school career batting average, Decker was the 2009 High Desert League player of the year and has led her squad to two state championships. Decker, who played in the Under Armor All-American All-Star Game in 2008, which aired on ESPN, says that Cal is the school of her dreams for its location, education and the team's success. Decker also played on the Spanish Springs High School volleyball team as a freshman.

'Decker brings a wealth of talent with her,' Ninemire said. 'She's one of the fastest players in the nation. Her speed and hitting ability will allow her to play in the infield and outfield, which will help immensely with our depth.'

Arianna Erceg is a 6-0 pitcher/first baseman out of Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. Erceg led her Palos Verdes High School squad to its first league championship in school history in 2009. For her performance, Erceg was named to the All-Bay League team and was the 2009 MVP of the Bay League as well as placed on the all-area team for the South Bay. In 2007, she was named rookie of the year. A four-year participant of her high school's AVID program, which is designed to prepare students for a four-year college, Erceg notes that she chose Cal for its strong academics, the storied softball program and because it's been a dream of hers to play in the Pac-10 Conference. A proven winner, Erceg played on the 16U Orange County Batbusters, which won the ASA Southern California state championship as well as the Boulder Independence Day Tournament. She is currently played for the 18 Gold OC Batbusters.

'Erceg is an exceptional pitcher,' Ninemire said. 'She has played on great softball teams in her past. She will bring additional talent to the circle in the following years for us.'

Victoria Jones is an all-around athlete and lauded student hailing from Oceanside, Calif. Like her teammate Robben, Jones has played on ASA multiple championship teams - going to nationals in 2002 and from 2004-09. Her 14U team took second at the 2005 nationals in Owensboro, Ky., and at the 2006 ASA nationals in Jacksonville, Tenn. As a prepster at Vista High School, Jones was named first-team All-CIF, All-League, and All-North-County. Jones, who also plays varsity and club soccer, was named the MVP of her Vista High School varsity soccer team in 2008 and 2009 as well as second-team all-league both years. Jones, who notes she fell in love with the Cal campus and softball program from the minute she stepped foot in Berkeley, has also been lauded for her academics - named the December 2008 Student of the Month and has been a member of the counselor's honor roll from 2008 -present.

'Jones is a great utility player,' Ninemire noted. 'She's an excellent catch, shortstop and third baseman. She will help our infield, as well as give us some flexibility.'

Alex Robben, a 5-5 utility player, is a talented tri-sport athlete. Robben has played on ASA teams from a young age, finishing as high as fourth place at nationals with her 12U Sorcerer team and first at the 2007 16U national qualifier. From nearby Napa, Calif,. Robben said that she has wanted to attend and play for Cal since she was 12-years-old. With her Napa High School team, Robben was named the 2009 player of the year for Napa County as well as all-state and the MVP of her squad. Robben received similar honors in 2008 - all-county, all-league and all-state. Robben, who was the 2006 Napa track and field champion in the 200 meters and 400 meters, will be a threat on the base paths for the Bears. As a freshman, Robben led her prep varsity basketball team to a 15-0 finish to win the Monticello Empire League and was named the MVP of the team as well as first team All-Napa-County.

'Robben can also play infield and outfield,' Ninemire said. 'She has also played on some outstanding ASA teams. Both her hitting and fielding are extraordinary.'

The Bears will begin their 2010 campaign Feb. 12 at the Arizona State Tournament in Tempe, Ariz. Last year, Cal advanced to the postseason for the 24th consecutive season, which is the second-longest streak in the nation and the longest in the Pac-10. The Bears won their NCAA Regional at Florida State before falling at top-seeded Florida in the Super Regionals. Over the course of the year, the Bears broke team records for stolen bases (146) and home runs (55).

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