Loaded 2021 softball signing class boasts championship experience

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Courtesy of AU Athletics

Gold medals, multiple state and national championships highlight some of the staggering accomplishments of Auburn softball’s decorated 2021 signing class, as head coach Mickey Dean announced the addition of nine student-athletes on Wednesday.

“We are extremely excited about our 2021 class,” Dean said. “It is filled with power hitters, speed and game experience at the highest level. All of them have won several championships at the high school, travel ball and international levels.”

The 2021 softball signing class, poised to be one of the best in the country, features catcher Jessie Blaine, outfielders Kenadie Cooper and Abbey Smith, infielders Bri Ellis, Riley McNemar, Rylie Moody, Nelia Peralta and Rose Roach and catcher/infielder Aubrie Lisenby. Four of Auburn’s signees are ranked within the top 20 of Extra Innings Softball’s Signing Rankings with two making the cut in the top 10.

JESSIE BLAINE

Hometown: Wentzville,  Mizzouri.

High School: St. Dominic High School

Club: Iowa Premier Gold

Position: Catcher

Highlights: Ranked as the No. 14 recruit of the 2021 class by Extra Innings Softball … completed her senior season at St. Dominic High School … bouncing around the country as part of a military family, also competed at San Clemente High School and Quantico High School … closed her senior season at St. Dominic with a .521 average at the plate … recorded 37 total hits, including 13 doubles, two triples and nine home runs for a 1.140 slugging percentage… scored 40 runs and totaled 37 RBI … drew 27 walks and struck out just once in 71 at-bats for a .657 on-base percentage … also an all-state performer in basketball … anchor behind the dish for the 2019 Team USA U17 National Team … helped the team win gold at the Pan American Games … competes for Iowa Premier Gold on the club scene.

Dean on Blaine: “Jessie brings power with her bat and a cannon in her arm. She has played at the highest levels, including for the Team USA Junior National program.”

KENADIE  COOPER

Hometown: Newnan, Georgia. 

High School: East Coweta

Club: East Cobb Bullets

Position: Outfield

Highlights: Ranked the No. 22 overall recruit and No 4 outfielder of the 2021 class by Extra Innings Softball … held a batting average over .400 in all three of varsity seasons, including a career-high average of .556 in 2017 … totaled 24 doubles, eight triples, six home runs and 36 steals to earn All-State honors last season … led East Coweta to the 2017, 2018 and 2020 Georgia 7A State Championship … East Coweta finished the 2019 GHSA State Tournament in the Elite Eight … 2017 and 2018 High School Softball National Champion … a two-time First Team All-Region selection … 2018 All-County Team … 2018 and 2019 Georgia 7A All-State selection … GHSA Junior All Star Game invitee … member of the National Honor Society, BETA Club and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes … academically ranked in the top six percent of her class … competes for East Cobb Bullets club team… won multiple national championships on the club scene, including the 2019 Triple Crown National Championship and the 2016 ASA National Championship … held a batting average above .400 over her last three club seasons.

Dean on Cooper: “Kenadie has speed and a strong arm roaming the outfield. She has very good power and can turn a single into a double with her speed.“

BRI ELLIS

 Hometown: Houston Texas 

 High School: Memorial High School

Club: Impact Gold

Position: Infield

Highlights: Ranked the No. 20 recruit of the 2021 signing class by Extra Innings Softball … holds a career .421 batting average with 80 hits, 99 RBI and 104 runs scored in her three seasons at Memorial High School … has slugged 31 career home runs with 25 doubles and two triples for a 1.036 slugging clip … slugged 13 home runs as a freshmen en route to a .392 batting average … held a .515 on-base percentage and a 1.000 slugging percentage as a freshman … added 37 RBI … tabbed 15-6A All-District Newcomer of the Year and Memorial High School’s Most Valuable Player and Offensive Player of the Year … nominated as North Houston Softball Player of the Year … Slugged 12 homers as a sophomore to record a 1.049 slugging clip coupled with a .612 on-base percentage … closed her sophomore season with 45 RBI and a .415 batting average … selected 17-6A First Team All-District … voted sixth place for Vype Magazine Softball Player of the Year … in her shortened junior season, knocked nine home runs and totaled 20 RBI in just 14 games … closed the season with a .457 batting average … added a .623 on-base percentage and a 1.171 slugging clip … named Vype Magazine’s Preseason Player of the Year … member of the National Science Honor Society … 17-6A Academic All-District and 15-6A Academic All-District selection … competed for Impact Gold club team … over the 2020 summer season, recorded 13 home runs, 52 RBI with a .476 batting average and .818 slugging clip … named to the 2020 Extra Innings Softball All-Summer Team … 2020 Sparklers/Fireworks Texas Region 18U Champion.

Dean on Ellis: “Bri brings a great deal of success in big games after hitting several home runs in national tournaments. She’s a great glove playing the corner positions.”

AUBRIE LISENBY

Hometown: Huntsville, Alabama.

High School: Bob Jones High School

Club: Birmingham Thunderbolts

Position: Catcher/Infield

Highlights: The top-ranked recruit of the 2021 class from the state of Alabama, according to Extra Innings Softball … also ranked the seventh-best recruit in the country and the third-best catcher by Extra Innings Softball … a five-year varsity starter … enters her senior season tied for the most home runs in Bob Jones High School history …  a five-time all-state catcher (three at Bob Jones, two at Randolph High School) … reliable behind the plate with only two errors over the 2019 season for a .993 fielding percentage … voted to the Alabama North/South All-Star Team … closed her COVID-shortened junior season with the most home runs to at-bat ratio in the country with nine homers in 40 at-bats … led Bob Jones in slugging percentage (1.071) and RBI (20) last season … member of the Junior National Honor Society and the National Honor Society … been a member of the Birmingham Thunderbolts organization since 2010 … helped the Bolts win the USA 18U Gold Nationals, the only Bolts’ team to win a national championship at that age division … first premier team to win Atlanta Legacy Showcase Tournament, one of the top three tournaments in the country.

Dean on Lisenby: “Aubrie is one of the most consistent hitters I have seen, showing power to all sides of the field. She is a catcher/corner who knows the game very well.”

RILEY MCNEMAR

Hometown: Galena, Kansas.

High School: Galena High School

Club: Aces Fastpitch – Kansas City

Position: Infield

Highlights: Earned first team and second team All-State honors for Galena High School … selected first team All-Conference in back-to-back seasons … junior season was canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic … held a .534 batting average over the 2019 campaign … closed the 2018 season with a .506 average at the plate … member of the National Honor Society, Spanish Club and Family Career and Community Leaders of America … is a National Greenbush Leadership Academy graduate … staple on the Galena Honor Roll … served as the Student Council President … participated in the Connect Mentorship Program … competes for Aces Fastpitch club team … over her club career held a .469 average … named Aces Defensive Player of the Year in 2018.

Dean on McNemar: “Riley is a power player both offensively and defensively. She plays with great strength and confidence.”

RYLIE  MOODY

Hometown: Douglasville, Georgia.

High School: Chapel Hill High School

Club: Tennessee Mojo

Position: Infield

Highlights: A four-time first team All-State selection at Chapel Hill High School … won multiple All-Region honors over her career … compiled a .475 batting average over the last four seasons … West Georgia School Sports All-Area Softball First Team selection the last three seasons … tabbed as the No. 80 recruit of the 2021 class by Extra Innings Softball … member of the Key Club … also competes for Tennessee Mojo club team.

Dean on Moody: “Rylie is a versatile player capable of playing infield and outfield. She is a consistent hitter, showing power gap to gap.” 

NELIA PERALTA

Hometown: Wellington, Florida. 

High School: Wellington High School

Club: Birmingham Thunderbolts

Position: Infield

Highlights: Ranked the No. 6 recruit of the 2021 class by Extra Innings Softball … tabbed 2019 Florida 8A All-State honoree after holding a .416 batting average with 22 RBI, 35 hits, five home runs and 12 walks …  posted a .522 on-base percentage coupled with a .828 slugging clip and 1.351 OPS … earned 2019 All-County 8A Palm Beach County honors … member of the Science National Honors Society and the Spanish Honors Society … competes with the Birmingham Thunderbolts club organization … over the Atlanta Legacy tournament, held a .656 average with three homers and 18 RBI … posted a .458 average with three home runs, 13 RBI and an .808 on-base percentage at USA Gold Nationals … closed the 2020 summer season with a .371 average with seven home runs and 38 RBI … added a .453 on-base percentage and .691 slugging clip.

Dean on Peralta: “Nelia is a former baseball player who has tremendous athletic ability. She has a powerful bat and a high-level understanding of the game.” 

ROSE ROACH

Hometown: Elburn, Ill.  

High chool: Kaneland High School

Club: Tennessee Mojo

Position: Infield

Highlights: Tabbed the No. 32 recruit of the 2021 signing class by Extra Innings Softball … selected to the 2019 Extra Innings Softball 16U All-Summer Team … 2018 First Team All-State selection … 2019 Daily Chronicle Player of the Year … closed the 2019 season with a .537 average with eight home runs, 47 RBI and 44 runs scored … also competes for Tennessee Mojo club team.

Dean on Roach: “Rose is a middle infielder with exceptional speed and quickness. She is a force to be reckoned with as a triple threat from the left side.” 

ABBEY SMITH

Hometown: Austin, Texas  

High School: James Bowie High School

Club: Tennessee Mojo

Position: Outfield

Highlights: Ranked as the No. 39 recruit of the 2021 signing class by Extra Innings Softball … named a two-time Bowie High School’s Most Valuable Player …  a two-time Austin ISD Top Performer … a two-time First Team All-District 6A selection … a two-time 6A District All-Academic Team member … a two-time  All-CenTex Team honoree … held a .575 batting average and .609 on-base percentage as a freshman at James Bowie High School … was a perfect 23-for-23 in stolen base attempts … closed her freshman campaign with a .947 fielding percentage …  6A District Newcomer of the Year …  named All-State 6A by Texas Girls Coaches Association and Texas Sports Writers Association …  followed up with a strong sophomore performance with a .574 average and .630 on-base percentage …  posted a .969 fielding percentage …  was perfect on the base baths with 25 steals …  6A District Offensive Player of the Year as sophomore …   added 6A All-State honors by TGCA …  selected a First Team All-American by Extra Innings Softball …  over her shortened junior season, held a .584 batting average, .653 on-base percentage and turned in a perfect fielding percentage …  also went 19-for-19 in steal attempts …  competed in volleyball and track, winning multiple district championships in each … leader of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes …  serves as a class officer …  member of the Student Leadership and National Honor Society …  competes for Tennessee Mojo club team …  won the 2020 USA Softball Junior Olympic Cup Championship …  closed the 2020 season leading the team in batting average (.464), on-base percentage (.562), hits (58) and steals (43).

Dean on Smith:  “Abbey is an outfielder with electric speed. She’s a difficult hitter to defend with her elite base-running skills.” 

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