NOTRE DAME, Ind. — On National Signing Day Wednesday, Notre Dame head coach Deanna Gumpf announced the signing of seven future Irish student-athletes to the softball program. Bryn Boznanski, Molly Carney, Karina Gaskins, Cassidy Grimm, Carlli Kloss, Mikayla LaPlaca and Mackenzie Vasquez signed letters of intent to join the Notre Dame squad next season.
Hailing from all over the country, the newest signees represent some of the best and most versatile players in the nation to continue the tradition of excellence in the softball program.
“I’m so excited about the strength of this class,” Gumpf stated. “They are powerful, athletic and versatile. This class covers gamut on the field and can make a big impact immediately.”
All seven signees will join the team for the 2020-2021 season.
- First Base
- Rosary High School (Fullerton, Calif.)
- Irvine, Calif.
“Bryn will add an offensive punch to our program,” head coach Deanna Gumpf noted. “She has massive power and a great presence on the field.”
“I chose Notre Dame because it offers for me the perfect combination of world-class academics and top-notch softball,” Boznanski declared. “Notre Dame has always been where I wanted to be, and I look forward to continuing the third generation of my family’s lineage there and to help bring the Fighting Irish to the College World Series.”
- .435 batting average (fourth all-time in Rosary HS history) and .478 on-base percentage
- 101 hits, 24 doubles, 52 runs scored, 55 RBI
- Boasted a .994 fielding percentage (1 error in 160 chances) and boasted a 11-for-21 (.523) batting average with runners in scoring position as a junior.
- Had a 13-for-19 (.684) batting average with runners in scoring position as a freshman.
- Third-generation Domer – her father, Irish football punter Brent (’94) and grandfather, Carl (’58) attended Notre Dame.
- Named first-team California All-State (2019)
- Also received first-team All-CIF (region), OC Register first-team All-Orange County (district) and first-team all-conference honors (2019)
- Played in the Trinity League, the same league which boasts Irish products Emma Clark (sophomore outfielder) and Miranda Johnson (freshman infielder).
- Earned multiple awards from Rosary HS, including 2019 Junior Multi-Sport Athlete of the Year and Softball Varsity Rookie of the Year
- Howell High School (Mich.)
- Stockbridge, Mich.
“Molly is a dominant pitcher who understands how to use her spin as a weapon,” Gumpf explained. “She will be an added arsenal to the strength of our pitching staff.”
“I love the culture and tradition that Notre Dame is filled with,” Carney shared. “The coaches are a few of the greatest women I have ever met. The beauty of the campus amazed me. There isn’t a better place to play four years of softball and earn a degree.”
- 79-15 (.840 winning %), 26 shutouts, 691 strikeouts
- Has posted one perfect game and six no-hitters
- Was named first-team (2019) and second-team (2017-18) All-State, first-team All-Region (2017-19), first-team all-district (2017-19) and first-team all-league/conference (2017-19)
- Was inducted into the Howell High School Hall of Fame
- Earned Michigan All-State as a junior and the team was a state contender
- First base
- Donovan Catholic High School (Toms River, N.J.)
- Edison, N.J.
“We are excited to get one of the most powerful hitters in the country,” Gumpf expressed. “Karina comes from a tradition of winning programs and knows what it takes to be the best.”
“I chose Notre Dame because I fell in love with the home atmosphere that I felt when I walked onto campus,” Gaskins revealed.
- New Jersey Gatorade Player of the Year (2019)
- 113 hits, 112 runs scored, 139 RBI, 39 home runs 63 doubles, 11 stolen bases over three seasons
- Named an All-American, first-team all-state, all-region and all-conference as a sophomore and junior; named second-team all-conference as a freshman.
- Awarded NJ.com 2018 & 2019 NJ Softball Player of the Year
- High school teammates with fellow Irish commit, Mikayla LaPlaca
- Named to Donovan Catholic’s President’s Honor Roll, and achieved the highest grade in sophomore history
- Third base
- Chesterton High School (Ind.)
- Valparaiso, Ind.
“She is plays the game with fire and grit,” Gumpf shared. “We can’t wait to see the energy Cassidy will bring to the field in the Irish uniform.“
“Notre Dame is the perfect balance of academics and athletics, and it connects me with the global Irish family,” Grimm expressed.
- 97 hits, 77 runs scored, 66 RBI, 27 stolen bases
- 24 doubles, four triples, four home runs
- Earned All-DAC honors in 2017 and 2019
- Tied the Chesterton school record for most assists
- With club team Beverly Bandits, earned the 2019 PGF National Championship, Demarini Invite Championship and the PGF Shootout Championship
- Will join sister Shelby Grimm (sophomore catcher) on the Irish squad, and father, Jeff, played baseball at Valparaiso University
- Pacifica High School (Calif.)
- Cypress, Calif.
“Carlli is a dynamic triple-threat at the plate,” Gumpf noted. “She will make an immediate impact to the continued success of our program.”
“On top of all of the amazing academic programs, my future softball coaches became such a significant factor in my decision to continue my academic and athletic career at this specific University,” Kloss shared. “Notre Dame may quite possibly have one of the most generous, welcoming, and determined coaching staff within the collegiate level of softball.”
- Named first-team All-Empire League as a sophomore and junior; was second-team all-league as a freshman
- Named Pacifica Defensive Player of the Year as a sophomore and junior
- With the Firecrackers TJ 18U club team, batted .506 with an on-base percentage of .622
- Was ranked 45 out of 500 by Extra Inning Softball as a senior
- As a junior, was named All-PGF and placed ninth in PGF
- With Firecrackers TJ 18U, was coached by former NFL wide receiver T.J. Houshmanzadeh
- As a sophomore with Firecrackers Brashear, placed fifth in PGF
- Sister Kellsi Kloss won an NPF Championship with the Chicago Bandits after playing softball at Louisiana State
- Catcher/outfield/second base
- Donovan Catholic (Toms River, N.J.)
- Island Heights, N.J.
“Mikayla brings versatility to our program,” Gumpf expressed. “She is hard-working, dedicated and passionate, and we are excited to welcome her to the team.”
“My decision to play softball at Notre Dame is rooted jointly in the softball team’s family-like culture and the world-class education the university has to offer,” LaPlaca said.
- 104 hits, 75 runs scored, 77 RBI
- 13 doubles, 2 triples, 3 home runs, 8 stolen bases
- With Donovan Catholic, won the 2019 State Final and the 2019 Tournament of Champions, when she scored the game-winning hit
- Named player of the game on three occasions: April 7, 2017, May 10, 2017 and May 16, 2018
- Named third-team All-Shore in 2019
- High school teammates with fellow Irish commit, Karina Gaskins
- Honored with Donovan Catholic’s Unsung Hero Award, and was named to the Honor Roll as a freshman, sophomore and junior
- Shortstop/Second Base
- Boerne High School (Texas)
- Boerne, Texas
“Mack has a natural sense for the game,” Gumpf explained. “She is a smooth and steady all-around player.”
“The outgoing and caring coaching staff immediately set the impression that the softball program is a family,” Vasquez revealed. “Along with an amazing coaching staff, the softball program competes in a Power 5 conference and has established itself as a premier program in the country. The opportunity to receive an education from the University of Notre Dame and compete at the highest level athletically was irresistible.”
- 141 hits, 122 runs scored, 130 RBI, 16 home runs
- 44 doubles, 17 triples, 28 bases stolen
- Was named first-team all-state in Texas as a junior and first-team all-district as a freshman, sophomore and junior.
- Earned all-area infield as a freshman and sophomore
- With Boerne High School, honored with the team Selfless Award as a junior
- Team was regional quarterfinalists as a junior, as well as Bi-District Champions and Undefeated District Champions as a freshman
- Played on the Texas Blaze club team, which finished in the Top 10 at the PGF Premier Bracket 16u in 2018, and placed second in 16u at the World Fastpitch Championships in 2019
The current Irish softball team will take the field for the first time this spring at the NFCA Leadoff Classic Feb. 7-9 in Clearwater, Fla. Follow along for updates throughout the offseason on Twitter (@NDSoftball) and Instagram (@NotreDameSoftball).