Wayne State College head softball coach Shelli Manson has announced the addition of five players for the 2019-20 season, recently signing national letters of intent during the fall NCAA signing period. The list includes Natalie Arbizu of Gilbert, Arizona, Madison Gomez from Glendale, Arizona, Riley Holmberg of Surprise, Arizona, Clare Reinhart from Omaha and Paiton Tornberg of Surprise, Arizona.
“With the seniors we have graduating this year, we have a lot of big shoes to fill,” remarked Coach Manson. “This group has the potential to fill those needs and has a great balance of speed, power and defense. They all have great playing experience on the travel ball circuit and have played against some of the best competition year-round. Their tools and athleticism will push the returners and make for an exciting 2020 season.”
Natalie Arbizu is a 5-6 outfielder from Perry High School in Gilbert, Arizona. She is a three-year letterwinner and helped her team reach the Arizona Class 6A State Playoffs the last two seasons. Arbizu had a .313 average with 21 hits in 2018 and batted .320 during the 2017 season.
“Natalie has the ability to drive the ball with power or read the defense and play small ball,” stated Manson. “She displays great range and her arm strength will make an immediate impact in our program. We are excited for Natalie to play at our level and we are expecting great things from her.”
Madison Gomez is a 5-4 shortstop/utility player from Ironwood High School in Glendale, Arizona where she is a three year starter. As a junior (2018) she hit .494 with two homers and 34 RBI, earning All-District and All-Region honors. Gomez produced a .457 average during her sophomore season (2017) with seven homers and 33 RBI and received All-District and All-Region honors.
“Madison is a versatile player who is just beginning to tap into her potential,” said Coach Manson. “She is developing into a five-tool player who will be able to play multiple positions. Madison plays a very high level of club ball and should be able to compete at the Division II level immediately.”
Riley Holmberg is a 5-10 outfielder from Shadow Ridge High School in Surprise, Arizona. As a junior, Holmberg hit .339 preceded by a .317 average as a sophomore and .333 during freshman season. Holmberg received SA Northwest All-Region Second Team honors as a freshman and sophomore.
“Riley brings experience and depth to our outfield,” commented Coach Manson. “Defensively she has a good arm and has a great read on the ball. She is a threat at the plate with her ability to bunt for a base hit or slap with power. Riley is a great competitor and has a lot of potential to earn a starting position right away.”
Clare Reinhart is a 5-9 catcher from Omaha Duchesne High School where she was a four year starter and letter winner. She served as a team captain for the last two years and hit .500 as a junior with 38 hits and 23 RBI and had just three passed balls in 137 innings behind the plate. Reinhart is a two-time All-River Cities Conference and Class B All-State honorable mention selection.
“Clare brings a strong arm and solid defensive presence behind the plate,” stated Coach Manson. “She has the potential to hit for power and will add depth to our catching and first base needs. Clare has a lot of experience throughout her high school and travel ball careers and we are very excited to have her on the field.”
Paiton Tornberg is a 5-6 third baseman/utility player from Shadow Ridge High School in Surprise, Arizona where she is a four-year letter winner. As a junior, she posted a .333 average with a 1.000 fielding percentage. Playing for Willow Canyon HS as a sophomore, Tornberg was Second Team All-Region after recording five doubles, 17 hits, 13 RBI and 15 runs scored.
“Paiton brings depth to our infield,” commented Manson. “She will be able to play the corners and catch and has a strong arm, good hands and can hit for power. Paiton is an athletic infielder who is willing to leave it all on the field. She will be able to compete for a starting position right away if she continues to work hard.”
Wayne State College is an NCAA Division II school located in Wayne, Nebraska and competes in the 16-team Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. The Wildcats finished the 2018 season with a record of 16-29 overall and placed 11th in the NSIC with a league mark of 10-16.