CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Charleston Southern softball team and head coach Shane Winkler announced the signing of Sarah Brown, Meghan Gagliano, Nina Del Rio, Madison Koger, Alyssa Heinrich and Taylor Gleason during the early signing period. The signees will join the CSU squad in the 2017-18 season.
"I'm excited about the 2017 class joining the Buccaneer family," said Winkler. "This class will add talent and athleticism all over the field."
Winkler has watched the group of recruits better their game over the scouting period and is optimistic those efforts will carry over to their time at CSU.
"We've had the opportunity to see this group grow for a number of years during the recruiting process and while attending our camps and their work ethic will fit right in with our upperclassman next year," Winkler added. "This class will have a lot of success both on and off the field while in the blue and gold."
The Bucs released their 2017 spring schedule earlier this month. The schedule features three home tournaments to open the season, trips to the University of Hawaii and South Carolina, as well as home conference clashes against Liberty, Gardner-Webb and Winthrop.
Sarah Brown – Brown signs with Charleston Southern by way of the two-time defending CIF section champions of Sheldon High School. The third-base/utility player also lined up for the California Grapettes travel ball team. As a freshman, Brown was selected to the Second-Team All-League and went on to receive First-Team All-League and Second-Team All-Metro honors as a sophomore.
From Brown – "I chose CSU because of the great softball program they have there and the beautiful campus. I also chose it because it is a small school and I feel like I will get to know my professors very well."
Winkler on Brown– "Sarah will be an exciting player to watch while at CSU. She has the ability to step in right away at third base and brings athleticism and power to our lineup. She's an extremely aggressive player who will make an immediate impact."
Meghan Gagliano– Gagliano signs with Charleston Southern by way of Wheaton Academy. The outfielder was named to the Illinois High School Association 3A All-State Team and selected as the Most Valuable Player on Wheaton Academy's Varsity Softball team. Gagliano was also the National Christian School Athletic Association Northeast Super-Regional Recipient and a Chicago Bandits High School All-Star. Outside of playing for the Warriors, Gagliano lines up on the Beverly Bandits travel ball team.
From Gagliano– "I chose CSU for its academic and athletic opportunities. The first time I visited the campus, the location, softball coaching staff, Christian culture and smaller class sizes gave me a comfortable feeling."
Winkler on Gagliano– "Meghan has the ability to be a very productive player both in our outfield and also near the top of our batting lineup. It's exciting to add another left-handed batter with speed to help replace some of the offensive threats we will lose after this season. I see Meghan as a player that will put pressure on opposing defenses with her bat and speed and has the ability to cover a ton of ground in the outfield for us."
Nina Del Rio– Del Rio signs with Charleston Southern by way of Brea Olinda High School. In 2014, the right-handed pitcher was selected as Brea Olinda's Scholar Athlete and North Hills All-League Rookie of the Year. The following season, Del Rio was once again selected as Brea Olinda's Scholar Athlete and a North Hill First-Team All-League selection. She was also named Brea Olinda's 2015 Pitcher of the Year and the Century League Most Valuable Player. Del Rio most recently received the honor of 2016 North Hills First-Team All-League and was named Brea Olinda Scholar Athlete for the third-consecutive year. She also lines up for the nationally-recognized Firecrackers Lutterloh travel ball team.
From Del Rio– "I chose CSU because I feel it is a perfect fit for the college experience I'm looking for. It offers me a well-rounded education and a thriving softball program in a beautiful city. I look forward to my next four years at CSU!"
Winkler on Del Rio– "We are adding a big time player in the circle and offensively with Nina. She has the potential to be one of the top pitchers in the Big South during her career and may also see time in the lineup. Offensively, Nina has a ton of power, but it's in the circle where she will have her biggest impact. Nina will come in and complement our pitching staff very well as a freshman and can grow into an ace later in her career."
Madison Koger– Koger signs with Charleston Southern by way of Fairfield High School. The shortstop has been a varsity starter for four years. Koger was also a two-time All-Around Best Offensive Hitter pick and received First- and Second-Team Greater Miami Conference honors. Koger also lines up for the Ohio Hawks Gold travel ball team.
From Koger– "I chose CSU because of the beautiful location and the feeling of support for all of the school's programs and sports."
Winkler on Koger– "Madison is extremely athletic and will push for playing time immediately in our middle-infield. Offensively she is a solid hitter with good speed and I see her growing into a potential power threat during her time in our lineup. She plays with a confidence and an aggressiveness that will fit well with our team as soon as she steps on campus."
Alyssa Heinrich– Heinrich signs with Charleston Southern by way of Wando High School. The right-handed pitcher has led the Warriors since her freshman year and enters her senior year with over 450 strikeouts. Heinrich was selected to the All-Region Team two years in a row and has also received All-Lowcountry Team and Lower State Runner-Up honors. Outside of school, Heinrich lines up for the Carolina Fire travel ball team.
From Heinrich– The reason why I chose to go to CSU is because it was the best fit for me. I love the family atmosphere, curriculum, and I feel like it's a place I can grow as a student and athlete. From my very first visit, the softball players and coaches have been amazing and made me feel right at home."
Winkler on Heinrich– "Alyssa is a power pitcher who we have had our eyes on for years as she has been attending our camps. She has continued to grow in the circle over the past couple of years and I'm looking forward to her continuing to improve during her time with Coach Sheehan. Alyssa has swing-and-miss type of stuff and is only going to make our pitching staff that much stronger."
Taylor Gleason– Gleason signs with Charleston Southern by way of May River High School. The middle-infielder/outfielder has received All-State, All-Region and MVP honors during her time playing for the Sharks. Gleason also lines up for the Carolina Elite travel ball team.
From Gleason– "I chose CSU because it's a gorgeous school with a great academic and softball program."
Winkler on Gleason– "Taylor's position on our roster could be listed as 'Athlete'. She has the ability to step in and play both middle infield and outfield for us and brings a ton of athleticism to our offense. Taylor is another player that we have seen grow a great amount through our camps and she's fun to watch offensively. She has a quick bat with a lot of power while also adding speed on the bases. We have made an effort to become more and more athletic throughout our roster and Taylor will add to that approach."