D.H. Conley senior among members of latest ECU softball signing class

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GREENVILLE, N.C. – Mackenzie Kila, Madison Mercer, Anna Sawyer and Michaela Weber have committed to attend East Carolina University and compete for the softball program beginning with the 2023 season, according to an announcement Wednesday by first-year head coach Shane Winkler.

Three of the signees are ranked in the Extra Inning Softball Top 100.

“We are so excited about this class and the immediate impact they will have on our program, especially on offense,” Winkler said. “This group will not only help us move towards the top of the AAC in the future, but they are also exactly the type of young women we want in our program as they all excel both on the field and in the classroom. Pirate Nation is going to love watching this class over the next four years.”

Mackenzie Kila | 5-5 | Utility | Mililani, Hawai’I (Mililani High School)
• Ranked No. 48 in the Extra Inning Softball Top 100 as well as the 24th-best outfielder
• Hit .609 with 12 home runs and 29 RBI in 17 games during the 2021 season at Mililani High School
• Helped her high school teams win a pair of Oahu Interscholastic Association championships as well as the 2020 Waimea tournament title
• Named team MVP her sophomore season

Kila on Choosing ECU: “I chose ECU because I love the atmosphere of the school and softball program. It has everything I’d need or want for the next four years. I felt like this is where I’d grow and learn the most while having the most memorable college career.”

Winkler on Kila: “Mackenzie is going to bring a very explosive bat to our program. She has the athleticism to play all over the field, but we are extremely excited about the impact she’ll have offensively for us. She’s an aggressive hitter and will fit into our offensive philosophy perfectly.”

Madison Mercer | 5-5 | Infield | Wilson, N.C. (Hunt High School)
• Ranked No. 77 in the Extra Inning Softball Top 100 as well as the 54th-best middle infielder
• Has tallied a .398 career batting average with 45 hits, 38 runs scored and 36 RBI in three years of high school softball
• Exploded at the plate her junior season, hitting .567 with 12 runs scored and 11 RBI in 10 games
• Named the Big East 3A Player of the Year as a junior while also earning all-conference, all-region and all-state accolades
• Picked up all-conference, all-region and all-state accolades her sophomore campaign
• Helped the Warriors to the second round of the North Carolina 3A playoffs as a freshman, collecting all-conference and all-region honors in the process
• Also lettered in basketball all four years of her prep career

Mercer on Choosing ECU: “As soon as I stepped on campus it felt like home. I immediately fell in love with the new coaching staff. Their mission, purpose and values were exactly what I was looking for in a program. Coach Winkler brings an energizing mentality to the program which has quickly resulted in change and success.”

Winkler on Mercer: We’re really excited to add Madison to our program. She is an outstanding middle infielder, but has the ability to play all over the field for us. Offensively, she handles the bat extremely well and competes at the plate while continuing to develop more and more power. Madison is going to grow into a big-time player for us as her work ethic and energy is infectious.”

Anna Sawyer | 5-7 | Outfield | Greenville, N.C. (D.H. Conley High School)
• Ranked No. 37 in the Extra Inning Softball Top 100 as well as the 17th-best outfielder
• Owns a career .571 batting average and has racked up 78 hits, 68 runs scored and 60 RBI in 45 games
• Led the Vikings to a 15-1 overall record, 12-0 conference mark and an Eastern Carolina 3A/4A conference title as a junior while batting .449 with 22 hits, 25 runs scored, 18 RBI, a .526 on base percentage and .877 slugging percentage
• Named the 2021 North Carolina District 1 3A Player of the Year and the Eastern Carolina 3A/4A Player of the Year as well as garnering spots on the all-district and all-state teams
• Enjoyed a productive freshman season during which she batted .570 with 53 hits, 40 runs scored, 40 RBI, a .607 on base percentage and a .903 slugging percentage
• Garnered a bevy of awards her rookie campaign, including selection to the MaxPreps Underclass All-America Team, NFCA All-South Region Team and North Carolina 3A All-State Team as well as being named the North Carolina District 1 3A Player of the Year, Eastern Carolina 3A/4A Player of the Year and Daily Reflector Batter of the Year
• Tabbed the 2018 Lady Dukes Lamar Most Valuable Player and Most Valuable Offensive Player

Sawyer on Choosing ECU: “I chose ECU because it’s a good program with great facilities and it’s home. Every girl that has played at Pitt Country Girls Softball League has dreamed of playing at ECU. Shane Winkler has plans to make it great and I feel like I can make an impact and contribute to that.”

Winkler on Sawyer: “Keeping Anna home here at ECU was one of our priorities this summer. She’s one of the best hitters in the state of North Carolina in the ‘22 class and has middle of the order power that is going to be a big addition for us. It’s going to be fun seeing Anna develop into one of the better power bats in the AAC all while doing it right here at home in Greenville.”

Michaela Weber | 6-0 | Pitcher/Infield | New Egypt, N.J. (New Egypt High School)
• Owns a .394 career batting average with 26 hits, 19 runs scored and 23 RBI
• Tallied 62 strikeouts in 35 innings pitched as a junior
• National Honor Society inductee
• Currently ranked in the top 10 percent of her class

Weber on Choosing ECU: “I chose ECU for the family atmosphere that made me feel right at home, as well as the opportunity to compete for an American Athletic Conference championship.”

Winkler on Weber: “We’ve known Michaela for years now as her sister played for us at George Washington. We are so fortunate to be able to bring her down here to ECU. She’s the type of player that is going to make everyone around her better as she develops into an impact player both offensively and in the circle. Michaela is a tall and strong athlete that will be a power pitcher and power hitter for us in the future.”

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