HARTSVILLE, S.C.- Coker College Head Softball Coach Travis McCall announced the signing of Ashley Meckley, Ava Jay, Jordyn Goodman, Chloe Pelham, Cierra Watts, Isabelle Mullen, and Olivia Varella for the 2018-19 season.
Ashley Meckley hails from Hanahan, S.C. and played for Hanahan High School at third base. Meckley was a two-sport athlete for the Hawks in softball and basketball. Her softball accolades include: most improved in the eighth grade, best defense her freshman year, and AAA All-State and state champion as a junior. She is successful in the classroom, as well as on the softball field, being a member of the National Honors Society and being named to the honor roll. Meckley played travel softball for the Carolina Fire. She is the daughter of Virginia and Robert Meckley, and she plans to major in business.
According to McCall, "Ashley is a fierce competitor who commands the infield. Her versatility and athleticism allow her to play anywhere on the field. She has great presence on the field and is one of the best dugout leaders I've ever seen. We are so excited about Meck!"
Ava Jay is an outfielder from Matthews, N.C., where she played for the David W. Butler High School Bulldogs. She was named to the Southwestern 4A All-Conference team and is a member of the Black Student Union. Jay also plays travel softball for the Lady Lightning. She is the daughter of Katherine Judge and plans on majoring in exercise science.
When asked about Jay, Coach McCall said, "Ava can really go get it in the outfield. Her size and arm strength will have an immediate impact on our outfield play. At the plate, her speed and ability to put pressure on the defense in numerous ways will make our lineup more versatile. I'm very excited to add Ava!"
Jordyn Goodman is a pitcher from Arbutus, Md. where she attended Lansdowne High School. She played volleyball and softball for the Vikings and was a three-time varsity softball MVP and captain. Goodman garnered Second Team All-Baltimore County honors in 2017 and she was tabbed as a All-Baltimore County Honorable Mention pitcher in 2016. She also broke Lansdowne's single season strikeout record with 190 during the 2016 season. In 2015, she was named the First-Team All-Division pitcher, while leading the Hawks to the 3A North Regional Championship. Goodman has three perfect games to her credit, two being back-to-back in the Maryland 3A North Playoffs. As a batter, she has a batting average of over .600 every season. Goodman has been a member of the president of Lansdowne's Student Athlete Advisory Committee and is a member of the Senior Steering Committee. She has been on the honor roll since the sixth grade and has been a National Honor Society member for the last two years. Goodman is the daughter of Ken and Donna Goodman. She plans to major in business administration. Her sister Hannah is a sophomore on the Cobra softball team.
According to McCall, "Jordyn brings us a look that we haven't had here with our pitching staff. She brings a different dynamic from the left side of the circle and a power left handed bat. She has great command of all her pitches and her attacking mentality will be huge for our staff. We can't wait for Jordyn to be on campus!"
Chloe Pelham is a Goose Creek, S.C. native who plays infield for the Stratford High School Knights. Pelham was named All-Region, All-Low Country and All-State in 2017. She was also a member of the 2017 state championship team for Stratford. The daughter of Tonya and Jimmy Pelham, and she plans to major in education.
When asked about Pelham, McCall said, "Chloe is an extremely hard worker who will add depth at numerous positions on our infield. Her arm strength can change ball games and she's a proven winner. Offensively, she has great pop and can drive the ball to all fields. We are thrilled to have Chloe!"
Cierra Watts is an outfielder for West Brunswick High School, where she was a two-sport athlete playing softball and volleyball. On the softball field, Watts was named First-Team All-Area, Second-Team All-Conference, was the All-Tournament Team MVP, and her team was East Regional Runner-Up for North Carolina. She is a member of the National Honors Society, Junior Beta Club, and the A and A/B honor roll. Watts earned Daughters of the American Revolution Citizenship Award and the Duke Tip Award. She also played travel softball for the Carolina Flames Elite 18U team. The Shallotte, N.C. resident is the daughter of Billy and Sonni Priest Noble, and David Ray Watts. She plans on majoring in biology.
According to Coach McCall, "Cierra gives us another left handed bat in our lineup with some great pop. She has great instincts in the outfield and reads the ball well off of the bat. She adds depth to our corner outfield positions. We are excited about Cierra!"
Isabelle Mullen is a Huntersville, N.C. native, where she attends Pine Lake Preparatory. While playing softball for the Pride, Watts earned 1A All-State and All-District honors. She was also a two-time Southern Piedmont All-Conference selection. She played travel softball for the Carolina Cardinals. Watts is a member of the Tri-M Music Honors Society, the Spirit Club, is a Global Ambassadors, is a member of the Praise Band, and the Pride Singers. The pitcher is the daughter of Ashley and Stephen Mullen and she is currently an undecided major.
"Isabelle gives us even more depth in the circle. She spins the ball all over the zone and has a very high softball IQ. She commands her pitches and really does a great job of throwing strikes and making hitters hit her pitch. We are very excited to have her at Coker!," said McCall.
Olivia Varella, a Summerville, S.C. native, where she attends Fort Dorchester High School. She was named Fort Dorchester's Athlete of the Year, Softball MVP and earned the Offense Award in 2017. She was also named to the 2017 All-Region team. Varella is a two-time Academic Excellence Award winner and she is a member of the Leadership Advisory Board and the BETA Student Council. Varella played travel softball for the Carolina Fire as well. The catcher plans to major in exercise science while playing for the Cobras. She is the daughter of Buzz and Lori Varella.
When asked about Varella McCall said, "Olivia adds depth behind the plate and up the middle for us. She has great presence as a catcher and does a tremendous job of managing the game. She is a gap-to-gap hitter who has a great understanding of the zone. I can't wait for Olivia to be a Cobra!"
"I'm really excited about the caliber of student-athletes we have been able to sign with our 2018 class," said McCall. "We've added depth at every position on the field with players that can come in and make an immediate impact when they step foot on campus. More importantly, all of them are high character people who come from awesome families and are all about Coker. They will be great additions to what we return to our team next year. The future of Coker softball is very bright."
The 2018 Cobra squad returns 18 players from the 2017 team that went 41-17 and finished runner-up in the South Atlantic Conference Softball Championship. The Cobras will be looking to have another great year when they begin the season on Feb. 3, with a non-conference doubleheader at home against Southern Wesleyan at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.