Notre Dame and head coach Deanna Gumpf were slotted second (92 points, two first place votes) in the 2016 ACC Preseason Coaches Poll that was released on Monday

Softball Completes 2020 Early Signing Period

Nov. 13, 2015

by Tony Jones

NOTRE DAME, Ind. ââ’¬” With final preparations being made for the upcoming softball season, the University of Notre Dame softball team has solidified its class of 2020. The Irish signed five talented prep student-athletes to National Letters of Intent, with each player set to attend Notre Dame in the fall of 2016.

Alexis Bazos, a right-handed outfielder from Pound Ridge, New York (Fox Lane High School), Madison Heide, a right-handed catcher from Belton, Missouri (Notre Dame de Sion School), Katie Marino, a right-handed infielder from Warren, New Jersey (The Pingry School), Chelsea Purcell, a right-handed infielder from La Habra, California (Sonora High School), and Ellie Richards, a right-handed infielder/utility player from Pendleton, Oregon (Pendleton High School), are eligible to officially join the Irish for the 2017 softball season.

“It’s nice to get the 2016 class here because I feel like we have been recruiting this class for a long time,” Notre Dame head coach Deanna Gumpf said. “This is probably the earliest class we have committed through time, and it has continued to grow. We are finally where we want to be and are excited to welcome this class to the Irish softball family.”

The five players that comprise the class of 2020 reside from coast to coast, as far northeast as New York and as far northwest as Oregon. Illustrating the national brand of Notre Dame softball, Gumpf believes that the geography of the incoming class reinforces the reach of the Irish across the United States.”The makeup of this class pretty much defines where we are in the recruiting process,” Gumpf said. “We have players from New York, New Jersey, California, Missouri, and Oregon. They are all different kinds of players but this is a very athletic class, and we were looking for people to fill very specific shoes with this group.”

Notre Dame returns 13 monogram winners in 2016 from last season’s roster that made its 17th consecutive appearance (20th all-time) in the NCAA Championship, hosting an NCAA Regional for just the second time in program history (2005). The Irish capped 2015 with a 42-15 (.737) mark, establishing single-season program records for hits (543), runs (395), and on-base percentage (.419), while batting above a .350 clip (.351) for the second straight season. Notre Dame also earned eight victories over fellow national top 25 foes, and enjoyed a 24-game winning streak from March through the end of April that was the second longest in the nation during the year. The Irish tied their 2014 team total of seven NFCA Mid-Atlantic all-region honorees, with Micaela Arizmendi and Karley Wester returning as first team performers and Morgan Reed back as a third team representative from last season.

The core talent already residing on the Notre Dame campus, in Gumpf’s mind, will only be further enhanced by the arrival of the newest signing class in the fall of 2016.

“We were also looking for athletes that aren’t one-dimensional, and if you look at this class there are five players who can each do more than one thing,” Gumpf said. “We don’t have any pitchers in this class, which we didn’t need, we needed people who can handle other positions and be ready to jump in and make a difference.”

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Alexis Bazos – OF – 5-7 – R/R – Fox Lane – Pound Ridge, New York

PREP AND PERSONAL: Four-year letterwinner at Fox Lane High School ââ’¬¦ team leader as a junior captain in batting average (.581), runs, RBI, doubles, triples, stolen bases, and on-base percentage ââ’¬¦ named all-league and all-section as a junior, and was tabbed first team all-Hudson Valley ââ’¬¦ missed all but three games of sophomore season due to injury ââ’¬¦ earned all-league and all-section honors as a freshman, batting .490 with 43 runs scored in only 20 games ââ’¬¦ became the first eighth grader in school history to earn all-league distinction after batting .521 for league champion Fox Lane ââ’¬¦ has competed with the New Jersey Intensity KOD club team under head coach Kevin O’Donnell, father of former Irish standout pitcher Brittany O’Donnell (’13) ââ’¬” other Irish alumni of Intensity KOD include current players MK Bonamy, Bailey Bigler, Megan Sorlie, and Carly Piccinich, as well as O’Donnell and Cassidy Whidden (’15) ââ’¬¦ played with future teammate Katie Marino on the club circuit ââ’¬¦ member of the National Honor Society and National Society of High School Scholars ââ’¬¦ has earned High Honor Roll distinction in every high school quarter, has been recognized as a National Merit Scholar, and received the Women’s Foundation of Science and Mathematics Award for the class of 2016 ââ’¬¦ daughter of George and Jill Bazos ââ’¬¦ has two sisters, Taylor and Nicole ââ’¬¦ father, George, played baseball at Tufts University.

Coach Gumpf on Alexis Bazos: “We found Alexis later in the process because of her injury. We didn’t know much about her prior to that, so we really got to see her as she was coming back from that. What we did see were really good mechanics and great fundamentals in her. Alexis is a very bright player who made nice, quick adjustments when we were watching her, and when we are looking for people who can play multiple positions we want someone who can make adjustments and is coachable. She really showed that to us, and I think she is the type of player who will always be determined to succeed.”

Madison Heide – C – 5-7 – R/R – Notre Dame de Sion – Belton, Missouri

PREP AND PERSONAL: Four-year letterwinner in softball at Notre Dame de Sion School ââ’¬¦ named first team all-district after batting .406 with five home runs, 18 RBI, and a .508 on-base percentage as a senior captain ââ’¬” selected as the team’s top defensive performer after finishing senior campaign with a .986 fielding percentage ââ’¬¦ earned first team all-district and all-region distinction as a junior team captain, compiling a .522 batting average, five home runs, six triples, 24 RBI, and a .627 on-base percentage ââ’¬¦ earned first career all-district nod as a catcher during sophomore season ââ’¬¦ claimed first team all-district and all-region as a freshman utility player, while also receiving first top defensive performer award ââ’¬¦ won an additional three letters playing basketball at Notre Dame de Sion ââ’¬¦ has competed with the DeMarini Zephyrs and the DeMarini Aces on the club circuit ââ’¬¦ member of the National Honor Society and the youth advisory board for the Women’s Intersport Network in Kansas City ââ’¬¦ has served as the sports editor of school newspaper and as a peer minister ââ’¬¦ daughter of David and Beth Heide ââ’¬¦ has one brother, Rhett ââ’¬¦ father, David, played baseball at Avila University.

Coach Gumpf on Madison Heide: “I think Madison does a great job on the field, both offensively and defensively. The thing I like about Madison is she able to play middle infield and be a starting catcher. She’s quick, she makes good decisions, and she has good fundamentals. I love her versatility and her work ethic. I see her filling shoes in many different areas, she’s a very consistent player and is very steady.”

Katie Marino – IF – 5-6 – R/R – The Pingry School – Warren, New Jersey

PREP AND PERSONAL: Four-year letterwinner in softball at The Pingry School ââ’¬¦ batted .500 with seven doubles, seven home runs, 12 RBI, 17 stolen bases and 29 runs scored in only 16 games as a junior team captain ââ’¬¦ also pitched 106 innings in the circle, striking out 208 opposing hitters ââ’¬¦ earned all-area, all-county, and all-conference accolades, and was a New Jersey Gatorade Player of the Year nominee ââ’¬¦ compiled a .678 average with 20 extra-base hits (including 13 home runs), 38 RBI, 22 stolen bases, and 41 runs scored during sophomore campaign ââ’¬¦ struck out 321 batters in only 147 innings pitched ââ’¬¦ was a Star Ledger Player to Watch and an all-state selection that season ââ’¬¦ hit at a .556 clip as a freshman, smashing 10 home runs while driving in 22 runs, stealing 30 bases, and scoring 37 runs ââ’¬¦ tossed 146 innings in the circle, striking out 287 batters ââ’¬¦ claimed all-state, all-conference, and all-county first team honors, and was a Star Ledger Player to Watch ââ’¬¦ also played one season of basketball during freshman year ââ’¬¦ has competed with the New Jersey Intensity KOD club team under head coach Kevin O’Donnell, father of former Irish standout pitcher Brittany O’Donnell (’13) ââ’¬” other Irish alumni of Intensity KOD include current players MK Bonamy, Bailey Bigler, Megan Sorlie, and Carly Piccinich, as well as O’Donnell and Cassidy Whidden (’15) ââ’¬¦ played with future teammate Alexis Bazos on the club circuit ââ’¬¦ Intensity finished ninth at PGF Nationals during freshman season ââ’¬¦ has been on the academic honor roll throughout high school career, and has volunteered with St. Vincent DePaul Church, Warren Youth Basketball, Mt. Pleasant Animal Shelter, and the St. Baldrick’s foundation ââ’¬¦ daughter of Anthony and Patricia Marino ââ’¬¦ has a twin brother, Anthony ââ’¬¦ will be the seventh Division I athlete in immediate family, joining uncles Jim, Tom, and Matt Bradley who played football at Penn State, mother, Patty, and aunt Cassie Bradley who ran track at Villanova, and uncle, Rich Marino, who played basketball at St. Thomas.

Coach Gumpf on Katie Marino: “Katie is a spark plug, she looks like she wants to be in the tough situations. She is that player who, when the game is on the line, wants to be up to bat then. She has done a nice job in the middle infield and she is another player who can play multiple positions. She has really good speed, good power, and has a great short game, so she is very versatile in the lineup.”

Chelsea Purcell – IF – 5-2 – R/R – Sonora – La Habra, California

PREP AND PERSONAL: Multi-year softball letterwinner at Sonora High School ââ’¬¦ named team most valuable player and was a first team all-league selection as a junior after batting .462 with nine extra-base hits, 11 RBI, three stolen bases and 20 runs scored in 21 games ââ’¬¦ hit at a .380 clip as a sophomore, connecting on six doubles, seven home runs, 21 RBI, and scored 18 runs ââ’¬¦ was a first team all-league selection that season, and was named team defensive player of the year ââ’¬¦ batted .319 as a freshman, with 12 of 23 total hits going for extra bases, driving in 17 runs and scoring 14 times ââ’¬¦ tabbed as the team offensive player of the year after rookie campaign ââ’¬¦ has competed with Firecrackers-Brashear, the SoCal Athletics-McNee/Meyers, and the Ohana Tigers on the club circuit ââ’¬¦ the Firecrackers squad was the undefeated 2011 ASA national champion, while the SoCal A’s took the top spot in the 16u draw at 2014 PGF Nationals ââ’¬¦ has been a scholar-athlete over four year at Sonora High School ââ’¬¦ daughter of Mo and Pamela Purcell ââ’¬¦ has one sister, Amber Smith, who played softball at Alabama State ââ’¬¦ will become the 50th player from California to play for Notre Dame softball, the most represented state on the all-time Irish varsity roster.

Coach Gumpf on Chelsea Purcell: “The great thing when you watch Chelsea play is that she’s always in charge when she’s on the field. She’s a great communicator, she makes big plays, and she is a very powerful hitter. Chelsea shows great leadership on the field, and will bring that leadership ability that she has developed with her to our team.”

Ellie Richards – SS/UT – 5-5 – R/R – Pendleton – Pendleton, Oregon

PREP AND PERSONAL: Three-year softball letterwinner at Pendleton High School ââ’¬¦ batted .487 with 52 hits, 13 doubles, 35 RBI, 12 stolen bases, and 43 runs scored for the Oregon 5A state runner-up Pendleton team as a junior ââ’¬¦ named a 5A all-state and all-conference selection ââ’¬¦ member of the state championship Pendleton team as a sophomore ââ’¬¦ earned all-state and all-conference accolades as a freshman after finishing the season with a .337 batting average ââ’¬¦ has also earned a pair of varsity letters in basketball and cross country ââ’¬¦ set the school record for highest 3-point shooting percentage for a season (51%), and tied a single-game record with eight made 3-pointers during freshman basketball season ââ’¬¦ has competed with the Northwest Batbusters and the USA Explosion on the club circuit ââ’¬¦ finished in third place with the Explosion at ASA Nationals in 2015 ââ’¬¦ member of the National Honor Society ââ’¬¦ daughter of Steve and Kim Richards ââ’¬¦ has one brother, Lane ââ’¬¦ has one sister, Lauren ââ’¬¦ brother, Lane, is a senior on the Notre Dame baseball team ââ’¬¦ father, Steve, played baseball at Linfield College ââ’¬¦ will become the first Oregon native to suit up for Notre Dame in varsity softball.

Coach Gumpf on Ellie Richards: “Ellie is another player who has rebounded from injury, and joins the other signees as true athletes that we are adding in this class. She has played multiple sports and is super athletic, and has never been tied down to one position. She recovered well from her injury, and Ellie is a player whose versatility is really exciting to our team moving forward.”


Tony Jones, athletics communications assistant at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2012 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame softball and men’s soccer programs. A native of Jamestown, New York, Jones is a 2011 graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and prior to arriving at Notre Dame held positions at the University of Louisiana at Monroe and with the National Football League’s Buffalo Bills.