Softball Signs Five for 2018
Greensboro, N.C. – UNCG softball head coach Janelle Breneman announced the 2017 signing class Friday afternoon. Hannah Stiltner, Makenna Matthijs, Rachel Johnson, Melanie Darges and Allison Mitchell will join the Spartans for the 2017-18 academic year.
Stiltner, a right-handed pitcher from Mebane, N.C., was a three-time All-State selection at Eastern Alamance High School. She’s earned All-Mid State Conference and was named the Mid-State 3A Pitcher of the Year. She holds the single season and career strikeout record at EAHS and led the Eagles to back-to-back conference championships as a sophomore and junior.
“We are excited to add Hannah Stiltner to the pitching staff in 2017,” said Breneman. “Hannah will add depth to the staff already in place. She is a powerful and talented player excited to compete at the next level. Hannah’s ability to command the circle will allow her the opportunity to make an impact as a strong young Spartan.”
Off the field, she is a member of the Student Council and spends her free time volunteering at various softball clinics. Stiltner plays for the Carolina Cardinals under head coach Scott Long.
Matthijs is a catcher with the ability to play in multiple spots for the Spartans. The Greenville, N.C., native is a three-sport athlete at D.H. Conley High School. She helped her team to the 2015 4A State Championship and was named All-County First Team, All-Eastern Carolina Conference, All-District and All-State.
“Makenna Matthijs is a talented athletic catcher with the versatility and quickness to play multiple positions as a Spartan,” said Breneman. “She is a competitive hitter and a game that runs the bases extremely well. Makenna has a team first mentality that will allow her to impact the program in a positive way.”
Matthijs has played for the Pitt County Heart Breakers for ten years under coach Barry McCallum. She is a member of the National Honors Society, English National Honors Society and Future Business Leaders of America and is involved in multiple other organizations at D.H. Conley.
Rachel Johnson is a right-handed catcher from Raleigh, N.C. She led the Southwest Wake Athletic Conference in batting average, home runs and fielding percentage as a junior and earned Offensive Player of the Year honors for the Catamounts.
“We are thrilled to bring Rachel Johnson into our Spartan family,” said Breneman. “She will help us behind the plate as a fundamentally skilled catcher that works extremely hard. Rachel will be a significant addition to our offensive lineup, adding gap power. She is a positive teammate and a young lady that enjoys the game tremendously. I look forward to her wearing blue and gold.”
Johnson has played for the Firecrackers NC team for two years, with fellow signee Melanie Darges and current Spartan Jordan Gontram under head coach Eddie Gontram.
She is a member of the National Honors Society, DECA and FCA while earning Academic All-Conference honors in both 2014 and 2015.
Darges is a right-handed infielder who has played three years of varsity softball at Athens Drive High School in Raleigh. She was named the team MVP as a sophomore and served as the Jaguars captain during both her sophomore and junior seasons.
“Melanie Darges will be a huge asset to the squad and plays the game with heart and passion,” said Breneman. “Mel will contribute to our infield as a corner player with a strong arm. She will be another big bat in the lineup adding gap power. Mel’s determination and talent will bring ingredients that position her to impact early with the Spartans. She is a strong athlete who loves to compete and you see that in her play.”
Darges has played for the Firecrackers NC for three years. 2018 will be a reunion for her and fellow club teammates and Spartans Johnson and current freshman Jordan Gontram.
Allison Mitchell is an outfielder that bats and throws right-handed. She has played three years at Forbush High School in East Bend, N.C., and has earned All-WPAC honors three times while lifting the Falcons to three conference championships. During her tenure with FHS she helped the team to an NC State Championship appearance.
“Allison Mitchell is an athletically talented outfielder who covers ground and possesses a strong accurate arm,” said Breneman. “When Allison approaches the box she is ready to compete with a strong desire to produce for her team. We are glad Allison will be a Spartan and look forward to seeing her develop and contribute to the Blue & Gold.”
An All-District and All-State selection, the Wilkes, N.C., native played four years for Firecrackers NC head coach Ben McKinney.
This marks the second consecutive year Breneman has signed a group of five in a recruiting class. The Spartans begin the 2016 campaign Friday, February 10, at the Eagle Classic hosted by Georgia Southern.