Softball Signs Four To Program
BERKELEY – California softball has signed four future Golden Bears to National Letters of Intent, as announced on Wednesday by head coach Chelsea Spencer. Three of the four signees are California natives, along with one from Texas.
The California signees are infielders Tianna Bell (Antioch) and Elon Butler (San Jose), and utility player D'Auna Johnson (Mather). Pitcher Ashanti McDade heads to Berkeley by way of Denton, Texas.
"I am extremely excited to welcome these young women to the University of California, Berkeley," Spencer said. "This class is very talented, not only on the field, but in the classroom, as well. We will expect these athletes to compete for starting positions during their first year and raise the bar for the Bears for years to come. We are very excited for the future of our program. Roll on!"
Competing at Heritage High School, Bell was tabbed First Team All Bay Valley Athletic League as a freshman and a junior, as well as the league's Offensive Player of the Year as a junior. Her squad was league champions her freshman and junior years, as well as North Coast Section runner-up. Bell's stats during her junior season include a .519 batting average, along with a .557 on-base percentage, 91 RBI, 81 hits and 70 runs scored. In 2021, Bell was tabbed to the 2021 All-State Softball team by Cal-Hi Sports and 2021 All-Metro Softball Team, and also named the Contra Costa/ Tri-Valley Regional Player of the Year (2021). Bell ranks No. 13 in Extra Innings' Under 18 rankings and 11th in the nation for her class. Bell's other club accolades include finishing top 5 in the TCS Colorado Fireworks 18u Powerpool Championship and 13th at Premier Girls Fastpitch (PGF) Nationals.
"A Bay Area native, Tianna comes to us from Antioch, and is one of the top corner infielders in the country," Spencer said. "She has a strong arm and the ability to defend the hit, as well as the bunt. Her offensive capabilities will push others around her to be better, and will add much needed power to our lineup. She has a high softball IQ and will be able to lead us on the field for years to come."
Playing at Archbishop Mitty in the West Catholic Athletic League, Butler's squad was CCS champions in 2019. Butler also competed for the Corona Angels club team. She has compiled numerous national rankings including, one of Flo Softball's top 100 players for the class of 2022 at No. 13, as well as an Extra Innings Elite 100 ranking. Butler also ranks in the Top 40 Bay Area Softball players by the San Jose Mercury News. According to MaxPreps, her prep career stats include batting .410 with a .478 on-base percentage, 55 hits, 44 RBI and 35 runs.
"Elon is an elite defender that also has the ability to play multiple infield positions," Spencer said. "Her range, paired with her glove work and strong arm, makes her one of the most fun ballers to watch in the 2022 class. She is a home run threat anywhere in the lineup. Her competitive drive is second to none, and she will make a huge impact on our team."
Johnson garnered Delta League First-Team honors at Sheldon High School the last two seasons. Also, during her junior campaign, Johnson was tabbed Most Valuable Offensive Player and First-Team All-American at first base. Her squad was Delta League Champions her junior year. She batted .525 during her junior campaign with five home runs. Johnson boasts a No. 17 ranking in the nation by Extra Innings. Her Lady Magic club team was 13th in PGF in 2020. In 2019, her club team then, the California Breeze, was seventh in PGF. She also competed in the PGF All-America Games in 2020. Johnson has collected multiple academic awards during her prep career, including being named to her school's Honor Roll after earning a GPA of 3.75 or higher every year of high school.
"DJ is a dynamic player, having experience in multiple positions," Spencer said. "She is an athlete that can hit for power and, if needed to, lay down a bunt and beat it out. At the plate, she is hard to defend, but what makes her special is the ability to play multiple positions with ease. She has tremendous range, a strong arm and will compete for every spot in the infield."
McDade has twice been tabbed to the All-Area Softball Team, and she was also named Preseason All-First Team by the Dallas Morning News. She holds the school career record for strikeouts at her high school. She is ranked No. 68 by Extra Innings Softball for the class of 2022. According to MaxPreps, from 2018-20, McDade boasted an ERA of 0.44 with a record of 26-14 in her prep career. She garnered three complete games and three shutouts.
"A high-velocity pitcher from Texas, Ashanti has the ability to strike out many at the plate, and the moxie in the circle to go with it," Spencer said. "Her drive to be better every day will allow her to excel to be one of the top pitchers in our conference. I believe she will be a huge piece in making our pitching staff one of the best in the Pac-12. In addition to being a talented pitcher, she also has serious power in her bat and is one to be feared in the box."