PHILADELPHIA Penn softball coach Leslie King has announced her early decision acceptances for the Class of 2011. The incoming freshman class will include eight student-athletes: Diana Ark (Ridge/Basking Ridge, N.J.), Arielle Grapstein (Pingry/Warren, N.J.), Jessica Lupardus (Hoover/Birmingham, Ala.), Alisha Prystowski (Montclair Kimberley Academy/Montclair, N.J.), Victoria (“Tory”) Satagaj (Mercy/Middletown, Conn.), Hilary Sheridan (Seaholm/Troy, Mich.), Taylor Tieman (Palos Verdes Peninsula/Orange County, Calif.) and Kelsey Wolfe (Coronado/Henderson, Nev.).
Ark, an outfielder, has been a three-year varsity starter at Ridge, and has started for the ASA Gold Team New Jersey Breakers. She was named All-Skyland Conference in 2006, Athlete of the Month in May 2005, and “Super Sophomore” by the Newark Star Ledger in 2005.
“Diana is a speedy outfielder who also has some pop with the bat,” Coach King said. “She has shown a ton of improvement in her game over the last year, and we are confident she will continue that growth here at Penn.”
Grapstein, an infielder, has played for one of the better summer softball programs in the Northeast, the Jersey Inferno. The Inferno was 18U State Champions in 2005 and 2006. Grapstein has been honored in a number of ways. She was named Inferno’s MVP in 2006, and has been selected to captain the team this summer. Grapstein has been named first-team All-Conference in 2005 and 2006, All-Area (Gannet) in 200 and 2006, and All-County (Ledger) in 2005 and 2006. She has been named Player of the Week in her county twice.
“Arielle is a very athletic player who swings a good bat and has an outstanding softball I.Q.,” Coach King said. “She is capable of playing both the infield and outfield, which will be a big asset to our team.”
Lupardus, a pitcher from Hoover High School, has earned numerous honors throughout her softball career. A member of the varsity team that won the Alabama state championship in 2004, Lupardus was voted MVP of the tournament. She has been named team MVP every year since 2004, as she has broken school records for single season, single game, and career strikeouts and an underclassman. She’s also set an Alabama state record for single game strikeouts, with 28. She has earned Metro and State Player of the Week honors multiple times since her freshman season. Lupardus was named All-State and Super All-State in both 2005 and 2006. She was named North-South All-Star pitcher in 2006, Birmingham News Player of the Year in 2005, and Over the Mountain Journal Player of the Year in 2005 and 2006.
“Jessie is a tall lefty pitcher who moves the ball as well as anyone I saw recruiting last year,” Coach King said. “Her ability to spin the ball and keep hitters off-balance will make her a force in the League.”
Prystowski, a catcher, has been a member of the Montclair Kimberley Academy softball team since her freshman year, helping the team to Parochial B state championships in 2004, 2005 and 2006. She was named Montclair Kimberley Academy Freshman Student Athlete of the Year in 2004, earned first-team All-Colonial Hills Conference honors, and Essex County Freshman of the Year. In 2005, Prystowski was named first-team All-Colonial Hills Conference, as well as first-team All-Essex Country. And in her junior season, she was named the Colonial Hills Player of the Year as well as first-team All-Essex County.
“Alisha was probably the most athletic and energetic catcher I saw last year,” King said. “She is the type of player you can put anywhere on the field, and is a good enough athlete that she can adapt and play well there.”
Satagaj is a 6’1” pitcher from Middletown, Conn. As a starter last season, she went 23-2, averaging 14 strikeouts per game. In her last two seasons, she has thrown five perfect games and 12 no-hitters. In 2006, she was named conference MVP, as well as All-Division and All-State.
“Tory is a tall pitcher who has the potential to dominate on the mound,” King said. “She throws very well now, and we are confident that she will continue to develop and learn to use her frame to overpower hitters.”
Sheridan, a middle infielder from Michigan, has played for the ASA team Compuware, one of the best teams in the state which has a reputation for producing successful Big Ten athletes. She has been a varsity starter since her freshman year at shortstop, on a team that won the district championship in 2004. In 2006, she was named Best Offensive Player, and All-Conference, and was selected as a team captain for the 2007 season.
“Hilary is a middle infielder who brings a lot of talent to our team,” Coach King said. “She has a good glove and also throws well, hits well and runs well a complete athlete who will continue to develop as she learns the game.”
Tieman, a pitcher from Orange County, Calif., was named MVP of the Notre Dame Academy softball team that won the Sunshine League championship. While at Notre Dame, she was also named second-team all-league. At Palos Verdes Peninsula, she was named MVP of the JV softball team that won the Bay League championship, and MVP of the El Segundo JV Tournament. As a member of the varsity squad at Peninsula, Tieman has been named captain for the 2007 season of a team that won the Bay League championship in 2006. She has been named first-team Bay League and second-team All-Area. She was also named All-Tournament at the Michelle Carew Classic.
“Taylor is the third of our pitching recruits,” Coach King said. “She’s another tall athlete who will come in and make an immediate impact. She has all the pitches to dominate the opposition and also swings a very, very good bat.”
Wolfe, who plays catcher and first base, plays summer softball for the Las Vegas Rage, one of the tops teams in Nevada. She played a key role in her team finishing 13th out of 144 teams at the 18U National Tournament this past summer. Wolfe has been named her high school’s Athlete of the Week on three different occasions, as well as being named Chevron Player of the Week four times. In 2004 and 2005, she was named first-team All-Sunrise Region and All-Conference.
“Kelsey is a catcher and first baseman who brings a powerful presence to any batting order,” King said. “She is a technically sound catcher and a hitter who is capable of producing a lot of extra base hits.”
These recruits will be joining one of the most successful softball teams in Penn history. Currently, the Quakers are 10-4 in the Ivy League and tied for first place, with their best League record since 1981. Penn stands at 19-12 overall, breaking the record for the most wins in program history, with eight games left to play.