CONWAY, S.C. – Coastal Carolina University head softball coach Kelly Green has announced the early signing of six student-athletes in Kennedy Ellis (Aynor, S.C. / Aynor High School), Abigail Jankay (Coeur D’Alene, Idaho. / Lake City High School), Madyson Jennings (Belton, S.C. / Belton-Honea Path High School), Nicolette Picone (Bethpage, N.Y. / Kellenberg Memorial High School), Keirstin Roose (Wolcottville, Ind. / Lakeland High School), and Madelyn Volpe (Harleysville, Pa. / North Penn High School).
“We couldn’t be more excited about our 2021 class,” stated coach Green. “We believe this class mixed with our strong core of expected returning student-athletes will continue to propel our Chanticleer program to new heights.”
Ellis will come to Coastal Carolina from just up the road in Aynor. She has had a star-studded high school career to date which includes picking up all-state and all-region honors as a sophomore. She helped lead the Bluejackets to back-to-back District VI and Region VI championships in both her freshman and sophomore seasons before the pandemic knocked out her junior season after a 10-4 start. She hit .371 during her freshman season with 12 stolen bases and followed that up with a .394 average with seven doubles, 27 RBIs, and 19 stolen bases as a sophomore. She was hitting .571 with eight RBIs and nine stolen bases through the 14 games of her shortened junior season.
Ellis also was a pitcher for Aynor and is 18-5 during her career with four no-hitters and seven shutouts. She had 183 strikeouts in 144.0 innings pitched entering her senior season this year.
She is also a multi-sport athlete playing basketball and volleyball. In the classroom, Ellis is a member of the National Honor Society, Beta Club, Future Business Leaders of America, and the National Technical Honor Society.
Coach Green on Ellis: “Kennedy is an extremely versatile athlete who can play anywhere on the field. She has a great swing and will have the opportunity to make an impact in many ways.”
Jankay has decided to cross the country to continue both her athletic and academic careers traveling from Idaho where she plays for Lake City High School. She hit .425 in both her freshman and sophomore seasons before the pandemic cut short her junior campaign. She was named the conference’s Newcomer of the Year as a freshman and earned all-league accolades as both a freshman and sophomore.
Coach Green on Jankay: “Abby’s big-time power will fit nicely into our style of play. Her experience playing top-caliber competition will help prepare her to make an immediate impact in our lineup.”
Jennings is another player who decided to stay close to home for her collegiate career, as the future Chant hails from Belton where she plays at Belton-Honea Path High School. She hit .363 as a freshman with four home runs and 19 RBIs. She followed that up with a .450 average during her sophomore season with eight home runs and 21 RBIs. Following her freshman season, she was named to the all-state and all-region teams and duplicated those feats as a sophomore. She was also named the conference’s Player of the Year following her sophomore season.
She helped lead BHP to a 15-6 mark and a regional title her freshman season. BHP finished 17-4 her sophomore season with a district championship. Her junior season was canceled due to the pandemic.
Coach Green on Jennings: “We look for Maddy to be a huge presence behind the plate and in the middle of our lineup. She possesses impressive power to all fields and our pitchers will love throwing to her.”
Picone has had a terrific career thus far at Kellenberg Memorial High School in Uniondale, N.Y. She hit .548 with 25 RBIs as a freshman and .582 with 28 RBIs her sophomore season prior to her junior campaign being stopped due to the Pandemic. Also pitched for KMHS, Picone has a record of 10-2 with 152 strikeouts in 80.2 innings pitched heading into her senior season.
She was just as strong in the classroom where she is a member of the honor roll and the National Honor Society.
Coach Green on Picone: “Nicolette is a crafty lefty that will help complete a diversified pitching staff. Her movement and ability to keep hitters off-balance will help lead us to many Chanticleer victories.”
Roose, and Indiana native, plays at Lakeland High School and hit an incredible .615 during her freshman campaign with four home runs and 31 RBIs to go along with 31 stolen bases. She followed that up with a .565 average as a sophomore with nine home runs, 49 RBIs and 25 stolen bases, and a .951 fielding percentage. She set school records for batting average, single-season home runs, and enters her senior season tied for the career-lead at Lakeland in home runs.
With those numbers, Roose was a two-time first-team all-conference pick as well as a KPC News first-team all-area honoree. Following her sophomore season she was named to the all-state team. She helped lead LHS to the NECC Conference Championship and the 3A Sectional Championship.
A multi-sport athlete, Roose has she also played soccer, basketball, golf, and run track and field. She was a first-team all-conference and all-area performer in each of those sports while leading the soccer team to conference championships during her freshman and sophomore seasons.
Roose had other interests outside of softball as she served as president of the National Honor Society, Student Council, DECA, and her class. She is also in the running for the class Valedictorian.
Coach Green on Roose: “Keirstin is a highly-motivated and elite level athlete. She is a five-tool player and we look forward to seeing her do big things in teal.”
Volpe is from Harleysville, Pa., where she plays at North Penn High School and enters her senior season with a 38-7 overall record in the circle over her first two years. She pitched two no-hitters including one in the Pennsylvania state playoffs as a freshman and was named first-team All-Continental Conference and the North Penn High School Rookie of the Year.
Following her sophomore season, she was named first-team all-state and first-team All-Continental Conference again while leading the state of Pennsylvania in strikeouts with 266. She also picked up the North Penn Most Outstanding Sophomore Athlete honor and was named the team MVP while also receiving the All-Intelligencer Athlete of the Year award. She also hit .269 during her sophomore campaign with two home runs and 16 RBIs.
Heading into her senior season, she holds the Pennsylvania state high school single-season strikeout record (266) and also holds the most strikeouts in one game in District 1 with 26 in 11 innings. She is also the North Penn career strikeout leader with 418.
Coach Green on Volpe: “You won’t find many pitchers who work harder and want it more than Mady. This kind of drive and her record of success will pay dividends in the circle for our squad.”