GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNC Greensboro softball head coach Janelle Breneman announced the 2019 signing class on Wednesday. Blayke Batten, Maycin Brown, Ashley Gontram, Tayler Ramos, Alex Rodriguez and Greyson Way will join the Spartans for the 2019-20 academic year.
“I am pleased with the talented young ladies that comprise the class of 2019,” said Breneman. “They are dedicated students that possess the love for the game, and I am thrilled they will wear the blue and gold. They will not only benefit our program but the community and our university.”
Batten is a right-handed middle infielder/outfielder from Kenly, N.C. Under coach Chris Batten at North Johnston High School, she garnered All-NCHSSA 2A, All-Eastern Plains 2A Conference and all-district selections the last two seasons and also the 2017 conference player of the year award. She batted .404 with a .609 slugging percentage and broke the school’s home run record (31) as a sophomore and upped those totals to a .495 batting average, .970 slugging percentage and 36 homers as a junior.
Lettering every year, Batten helped the Panthers reach the NCHSSA Eastern Regional Final Series last season and win the conference every year. The team has a combined 27-3 conference record and 64-14 overall record in her high school career. She has lettered the last three seasons at North Johnston in volleyball and also in 2016 in basketball.
“Blayke is a talented infielder with a strong arm and an explosive bat that we can't wait to add to our offense,” said Breneman. “She is a hard-working, excellent teammate that loves the game. We look forward to her contributions to our team both at the plate and in the field.”
Batten has played for the Carolina Flames Elite the last five years under coach James Barrington. Planning to major in Education, she is a member of the National Honor Society and Future Farmers of America and volunteers with Rock Ridge Elementary School and North Johnston’s high youth camp. Her aunt Kathy Creech graduated from UNCG in 1974 and also has a cousin that attends.
Brown is a infielder who bats left-handed from Summerville, S.C. Under her coach and father Tony Brown, at Northwood Academy, she garnered S.C. Independent Schools Association (SCISA) All-State honors the last two seasons. She has also been selected the team’s most valuable player and regional player of the year twice and to the North-South All-Star Game in addition to being named on the all-region and Post and Courier All-Lowcountry Team. Also, she has lettered in basketball and helped the Chargers win the 2016 SCISA 3-A State Championship.
“Maycin will bring speed and power to our offensive repertoire from the left side,” said Breneman. “Her game sense and communication will be an asset. I am glad she is a Spartan because she has the ability to play several positions well.”
Brown has played for the Carolina Elite-Genovese for the last eight years for coach Tony Genovese as a utility player. She helped the squad win the Scorchers Tournament in Virginia Beach and place in the top-15 at the Junior Olympic Cup this year and was on the 16-under team in 2016 that placed fifth at the Junior Olympic Tournament and in the top-10 at the Independence Day Tournament in Colorado. Planning to major in Kinesiology, she is a member of the National Honor Society and Senior Beta Club, has been on the honor roll throughout high school and was recognized as a High Honor Junior Marshal.
Gontram is a right-handed middle infielder from Wake Forest, N.C., and the younger sister of UNCG’s starting centerfielder Jordan Gontram. Under coaches Mark Downing and Jessica Furlough, she has earned All-NCHSSA 4A and All-Northern Athletic Conference honors for the last three seasons and also all-district twice as a three-year letterwinner at Heritage High School. She holds the school record for most runs scored in a season (46) in 2017. She’s helped the Huskies win the conference championship every year with a combined 58-9-1 overall record in her high school career. Last year the team made it to the fourth round of the state playoffs after reaching the third round the previous season.
“Ashley is an incredibly talented athlete who will be a great addition to our infield,” said Breneman. “Her athleticism will allow her to play up the middle on the infield, and I think it will be cool to have two Gontrams on the team! Ashley is an aggressive hitter with the ability to drive the ball for power as well as be a gap-to-gap threat in the box.”
Gontram plays for the Firecrackers NC club team for the last four years under her father Eddie and Ben McKinney and helped the team finish ninth out of 72 teams at the last USA Nationals. She played alongside UNCG sophomores Rachel Johnson and Melanie Darges. Planning to major in Kinesiology, she is a member of the National Honor Society and National Math Honor Society and has been selected academic all-conference every year of high school.
Ramos is a right-handed middle infielder from Apopka, Fla. Under coach James Bayly at Lake Brantley High School, she has lettered every year and was selected to the Second-Team All-Seminole Athletic Conference. She helped the Patriots win the conference two years in a row and break the school record win-total with a 20-5 record that placed them second in the district.
“Tayler is a very versatile middle infielder who can also help us in the outfield,” said Breneman. “She has great game sense and is highly competitive. She will be a tremendous asset to this team both defensively and at the plate. We are excited to see her in action and making an impact in the Spartan uniform.”
Ramos has played for the Future Rebels club team the last two seasons under Coach Lorenzo Cirilo and has also been on the Lake County Tigers and Team South Carolina. Planning to major in Criminal Justice, she’s a member of the peer counseling and sunshine clubs.
Rodriguez is a left-handed pitcher from Winston-Salem. Under coach Kevin Baity, last year she was named the Piedmond 4A Conference Pitcher of the year and selected to the all-district and All-NCHSSA 4A team. She earned all-conference honors as well in her sophomore season and has lettered three times at West Forsyth High School. She helped the Titans win the conference tournament last year and make the state playoffs the last two seasons.
“Alex, also known as A- Rod to her teammates, will add a different look in the circle for the Spartans,” said Breneman. “As a southpaw, she adds a different movement and spin that sets her apart from the other pitchers on staff.”
Rodriguez has played for the Carolina Cardinals the last three years with current UNCG freshmen Delaney Cumbie, Gabi Howard and Samantha Lagrama and sophomore Hannah Stiltner under coach Rick McHone. She helped the Cardinals win the ASA/USA National Championships the last two years and the ASA/USA North Carolina State Championship this past season. She has served as the vice president of the Crosby Scholars each year of high school and also been a member of the Key and Interact Clubs. She intends to major in Psychology.
Way is a right-handed pitcher/first baseman from Hamlet, N.C. Under coach Wendy Wallace, last season she was named the NCCSA 4A and District Four Pitcher of the Year and Sandhills Athletic Conference (SAC) Player of the Year after leading the state in strikeouts (252) with a .443 batting average and conference-leading 41 RBIs. She has lettered at Richmond Senior High School and been named to the all-district team every year of her high school career and has been selected to the all-conference and all-state teams the last two years. As a freshman she led the conference with 37 RBIs and seven home runs. The following season, she led the state and broke the school record with 15 homers and once again paced the conference with 37 RBIs along with a .337 batting average.
Way has guided the Raiders to three conference championships with a 33-1 overall conference record in her career. In her freshman season, the team played in the fourth round of the state playoffs and finished with a 23-5 record. The next year, she helped Richmond to a 25-6 record and an appearance in the Western Finals. Last season, the Raiders reached the Western Finals again with a 24-5 record. She has also earned all-conference honors in swimming and tennis, where she is coached by her father Mike.
“We are excited about adding another hitting pitcher to our staff,” said Breneman. “With the addition of Greyson, it will help our staff versatility in the circle and in the lineup. Greyson brings offense power as well as being a skilled pitcher in the circle.”
Way has played for the Carolina Wildcats the last two years under Jeff McPhail and was previously with the Richmond Thunder, coached by her dad and Danny Lampley. Her father is a 1998 UNCG graduate who lettered for four years with the men’s golf team. Undecided on a major, Way currently has a 4.4 GPA, is a member of the BETA Club and National Honor Society and volunteers with various community organizations.
-- UNCG –