Upstate Announces Four Additions to 2017 Signing Class

July 26, 2017 at 5:40 pm

USC Upstate head softball coach Chris Hawkins has announced this afternoon the addition of four players that will join the Spartans for the upcoming 2018 campaign.

Signing to play at Upstate beginning in 2018 are Elisa Cecchetti, Raven Sapla, Tori Robinson and Christina Biggerstaff.

“This is one of our strongest classes coming in recently,” said Hawkins. “Replacing Holly McKinnon and Lexi Shubert is no small task. We have depth, speed and starters coming in this year. Hard work in the fall and getting the newcomers Spartan built is the key to early success in the spring. I am excited to see what the future holds.”

These four additions give the Spartans a total of 11 newcomers for this season after signing Caylie Van Auken, Bree Comer, Hannah Davis, Makenna Helton, Logan Morris, Jordyn Parker and Kelsey Sweatt during the fall signing period.

The four members of this class, along with comments from Coach Hawkins, are:

Elisa Cecchetti  |  Catcher  |  Bollate, Italy  |  Tallahassee Community College
Cecchetti is a catcher and spent the past two seasons playing at Tallahassee Community College under head coach Patti Townsend.

She appeared in 89 career games at Tallahassee and hit .342 with one home run and 46 RBI. Cecchetti earned First Team All-Panhandle Conference honors twice and was a Second Team FCSAA All-State selection this past season.

Cecchetti also excelled academically as she was named NJCAA First Team All-Academic and received the Mickey Englett Panhandle Conference Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award for 2016-17. She was also selected First Team All-Academic by both the Florida College System Activities Association and Panhandle Conference.

The Bollate, Italy native currently plays on the Italy National Team who finished second in the European National Championships.  She graduated from Liceo Scientifico Falcone e Borsellino.

Coach Hawkins on Cecchetti:
  “Elisa brings a lot of experience to our program. A catcher and utility player that has played in the NJCAA at a high level and on Italy’s national team. Tremendously smart player that is a student of the game.”

Raven Sapla  |  Utility  |  Ewa Beach, Hawaii  |  Santa Ana College
Sapla is a utility player who is transferring to Upstate after one season at Santa Ana College in Santa Ana, Calif.

A native of Ewa Beach, Hawaii, Sapla was named First Team All-Orange Empire Conference, arguably the best conference in the California Junior College Association, after helping the Dons earn a third-place finish in conference and an appearance as the 11th seed in the 2017 CCCAA Southern California Regionals.

Sapla, who began her career at Utah Valley University, led the team offensively this past season with a .687 slugging percentage, seven home runs and 43 RBI. She also scored 26 runs.

She graduated from Sacred Hearts Academy.

Coach Hawkins on Sapla:  “Raven brings a great potential at the plate and is solid at several positions. Again, having college experience in the CJCAA will really jumpstart her in our program.”

Tori Robinson  |  Infielder  | Wray, Ga.  |  Northwest Florida State College
Robinson is an infielder who played the last two years at Northwest Florida State College for head coach Jack Byerley.

Robinson is a two-time First Team All-Panhandle Conference performer, and was selected First Team All-State and All-Tournament Team last season. She was second in the state last season with 16 home runs while ranking tied for sixth with 56 RBI. Robinson hit .395, second-best on the team, in 2017 to go with a .449 on-base percentage and .746 slugging percentage. She also stole 19 bases.

As a freshman in 2016, Robinson batted .359 with seven home runs and 28 RBI. She also contributed nine doubles and three triples.

Robinson graduated from Coffee County High School.

Coach Hawkins on Robinson:  “Tori has the ability to carry a team offensively and is a season player that should step right in for playing time. Originally signing with Auburn, Tori has developed her skills to be a factor in the ASUN.”

Christina Biggerstaff  |  Pitcher  |  Houston, Texas  |  Oklahoma State
Biggerstaff is a pitcher who is transferring following one season at Oklahoma State.

A Big 12 All-Academic selection, Biggerstaff went 3-0 in 17 appearances for the Cowboys with five starts and threw 44.1 innings. She tossed six innings during a victory over Abilene Christian and did not allow a run in five innings against Tulsa.

Biggerstaff began her collegiate career at Georgia Tech where she also played one season. She made 28 appearances for the Ramblin Wreck in 2015 with 12 starts and six complete games. Biggerstaff pitched 95.2 innings with 139 strikeouts, and combined to pitch two no-hitters in back-to-back days against Mount St. Mary’s and Savannah State. She struck out 14 batters in a 5-4 win at No. 22 Texas A&M and tallied five games with double-digit strikeouts.

She graduated from Cy-Fair High School.

Coach Hawkins on Biggerstaff:  “Christina will be a huge addition to our program. Previously in two Power 5 conferences, she is seasoned and ready to log innings at Upstate. She is a power pitcher with a strong desire to compete.”

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