Nov. 17, 2011
ATLANTA – The Georgia Tech softball team will have four new additions during the 2013 season as announced by head coach Sharon Perkins, Thursday. The four incomers of Ashley Clifton, Maddie Lionberger, Morgan Taylor, and Courtney Ziese will come to Tech from all over the country after signing their national letters of intent during the fall signing period.
Clifton, a current three-year letterwinner under Coach Skelton at Northgate High School in Newnan, Ga has already helped her team to the 2011 Class AAAA State Championship as a pitcher and first baseman where she was named the team’s co-MVP. During the 2011 Championship season, Clifton compiled an 18-2 record, striking out 182 in 125 innings of work while throwing 11 shut out games, two no hitters and one perfect game. Over her career she boasts a 37-8 record, striking out 415 in 286 innings with a career ERA of 0.88 while pitching 24 shut outs, four no hitters and two perfect games. She holds her school’s record for most strikeouts in a single game. Over the course of her career, Clifton has earned Defensive Player of the Year, first team all-county, second team all-region and second team all-state during her career at Northgate.
“Ashley is a great compliment to our pitching staff,” said Perkins. “She has had success in high school as well as playing at a high level of travel ball.”
Lionberger, a two-year letterwinner under coaches Cathy Johnson-Landers and Rose Ruffino at James Bowie High School in Austin, Texas, has already earned the title as captain helping her team to the 2010 Softball 5A State Finals and the 2011 5A Bi-District Championship. In 2010, Lionberger earned the title of 5A Newcomer of the Year was named to the all-state tournament team and was academic all-district. Last season, Lionberger was named to the 5A First Team all-district and was the team’s Offensive Player of the Year after leading her team in home runs (9), triples (6), RBIs (54), slugging percentage (2.094), total bases and batting average (.578) and had 23 doubles and 68 runs scored during her junior season while playing shortstop, second base and in the outfield.
“Maddie possesses excellent leadership skills along with being a fundamentally sound ballplayer,” said Perkins. “She is another versatile player to add to our roster that can play anywhere in the dirt.”
Taylor, currently a three-year letterwinner under Natalia Gonzalez at Mandarin High School in Jacksonville, Fla., has helped her team to back-to-back Gateway Conference Championships in 2010 and 2011, the District Championship in 2011, regional appearances in each season she has been a part of the team and the elite eight in 2011 as both a pitcher and outfielder. Last season she was named a Triple Crown Sports All-American, earned the title of MVP from the USSSA, ASA and NSA tournaments in 2009 and 2010 and was featured in an ESPN Rise article by Harold Gutmann on her return to the diamond after tearing both her PCL and her labrum prior to her sophomore season. Taylor has also earned the honor of USSSA Elite World Series Champion and during her time in travel ball, she earned the honor of pitching a perfect game. In her junior season, Taylor notched six doubles and a triple to go along with 27 singles for a .374 batting average and .475 OBP. Taylor also scored 28 times and drove in 16 while laying down six sacrifice bunts.
“Morgan will add another true lefty to our roster,” said Perkins. “She is aggressive in the outfield as well as a great leadoff hitter.”
Ziese, in her two years as a letterwinner under the direction of Dewain Whalen at Canyon High School in Canyon Country, Calif., has been the captain of her team and has twice earned all-foothill league honors. Via travel softball, Ziese was a 2004 ASA 12U National Champion while playing for Victory USA, a 2005 ADA 14U Runner Up on Victory USA, and in December of 2010 was one of 40 athletes to try out for the USA Junior National Team consisting of high school athletes that would graduate between 2010-2013.
“Courtney is a solid righty bat with power,” explained Perkins. “She is another versatile incomer and has the ability to catch or play third base.”