RUSTON, La. – Louisiana Tech head coach Mark Montgomery added six newcomers during national signing day on Wednesday as the Lady Techsters saw five high school prep stars and a junior college all-American join the program.
Jessica Ball (Thornton, Colorado/Western Nebraska CC), Berkley Calapp (Ft. Collins, Colorado/Fossil Ridge HS), Anna Dies (Haughton, La./Haughton HS), Preslee Gallaway (Pilot Point, Texas/Pilot Point HS), Morgan Turkoly (Sanger, Texas/Sanger HS) and Chelsea Rangel (Bossier City, La./Benton HS) comprise this year’s signing class for LA Tech.
Montgomery said he has one more high school prep star that will sign on Thursday.
Dies is a local product from Haughton who has played outfield and has pitched for coach Leanne Prather and the Buccaneers. She has batted over .400 each of her first three years in high school, including a .480 mark as a junior – a season that saw her set the school single season record with 12 home runs.
“Anna is an excellent lefty pitcher, but she is so much more than that,” Montgomery said. “Anna is a fantastic left-handed hitter. She led the state of Louisiana last year in home runs and did that from the leadoff spot which also shows her ability to hit for average as well. In addition, Anna can play any outfield spot. Anna is another versatile athlete that will help our team get better in many ways.”
Dies is a three-time all-city (Shreveport Times) and three-time all-parish (Bossier-Press Tribune) selection who helped Haughton win the district title in 2012 and 2013. She earned honorable mention all-state honors this past season.
“Visiting the campus and meeting the players and coaches made it an easy choice for me,” Dies said. “They made me feel a part of the team. Louisiana Tech is close enough to home so my family can come and watch me play but also far enough for me to mature on my own.”
Rangel is another local product as the speedy outfielder letters at Benton High School where she helped the Tigers to the district title as a sophomore.
“She is so fast,” Montgomery said. “Chelsea plays for Michelle Owens at Benton High School and has primarily worked as an outfielder and utility player, but it was her base-running at camp that caught our attention. Her speed on the bases will be the immediate impact as we go forward, but look for her to learn and grow as an outfielder.”
Rangel is a two-time all-district selection and was named all-parish by the Bossier Press-Tribune last season. She is a multi-sport star, also lettering in soccer and track and field at Benton. She was named the district MVP in soccer as a junior.
“The reason I chose Louisiana Tech is because it is close to home,” Rangel said. “Coach Montgomery seems like a man of his word, and I love the LA Tech softball players and coaches. The Lady Techsters seem to be extremely spirited, and I’ve heard nothing but great things about Louisiana Tech. God did truly open the opportunity for me.”
“Overall, I think this is another great class for our program,” Montgomery said. “Our goal is to always get better. That creates competition in practice and it creates a competitive environment; a winning environment. These young ladies will help us get better as a program.”
Ball is the lone junior college player in the class and is coming off an All-American freshman campaign at Western Nebraska Community College. The former Legacy High School prep star led the country last season with 25 home runs and 206 total bases while ranking third with 88 RBI.
“Jessica is an amazing hitter,” Montgomery said. “She hits for power and average and consistently delivers in clutch situations. Defensively she is very versatile as well, with the ability to play several positions. We are so pleased she decided to continue her education with us. Playing for Coach Winn at Western Nebraska means she is ready for this challenge and knows how to work hard.”
She earned the Region IX Player of the Year award and was named first team all-West Region by the NFCA. She was a third team all-American by both the NFCA and the NJCAA.
“I chose Louisiana Tech for many reasons,” Ball said. “Watching the team and coaches have such good chemistry together excited me. The coaching staff is awesome and is always looking out for everyone’s best interest. I see this softball program rising with more success as the years go on, and it’s a blessing to be a part of that. The girls were very welcoming and made me feel like I was already part of the team. The town is very supportive towards the softball team and everyone is so friendly. My dream for softball has always been to go and play at a Division I school and looks like my dream is finally coming true. I cannot wait to play for Louisiana Tech.”
Calapp comes to Ruston from Fossil Ridge High School in Fort Collins, Colorad where she played both infield and outfield. Her career high schools stats include a .502 batting average with 156 hits, 137 runs and 116 RBI.
“What an all-around athlete,” Montgomery said. “Berkley has the ability to play five different positions on the field and she has a great swing. She plays high level travel ball with the TC Stars and has played against the best in some big-time situations. The biggest compliment I can give to Berkley is we love to watch her play.”
Calapp helped lead Fossil Ridge to a pair of conference championships and the state championships game in 2014. She was named all-state as a senior and first team all-conference the past two years.
“I chose Louisiana Tech because I fell in love with the campus when I came to visit for my first time,” Calapp said. “The coaching staff is outstanding, and my future teammates were very welcoming. I have always liked the idea of going away for college to experience something new. When Louisiana Tech showed interest, it was major opportunity for me and I could not turn it down. It has always been my dream to play at a Division 1 school.”
Gallaway is a versatile athlete that has played infield and pitched for the Pilot Point Bearcats during her high school career. She has led Pilot Point to three straight district titles and the Texas Class 3A state championship in 2013. As a junior she batted .433 with 12 doubles and eight home runs and she recorded a 16-6 mark with a 1.22 earned run in the circle.
“Preslee is such a strong athlete,” Montgomery said. “She can hit for tremendous power. Preslee is battle-tested by playing for one of the top travel teams in the nation in Texas Glory-Shelton. Preslee will mostly compete at the corners, but she can pitch and has such athleticism that you never know where she might end up.”
Gallaway has won numerous honors, including being named the Co-Offensive Player of the Year by the Denton Record Chronicle and the District 12-2A Offensive Player of the Year in 2013. As a junior she was named the all-area co-Utility Player of the Year by the Denton Record Chronicle and the District 12-2A MVP.
“Louisiana Tech University has an outstanding kinesiology program that will benefit me as a student-athlete,” Gallaway said. “I am honored to join coach Montgomery, his staff and the extremely talented and competitive Lady Techsters softball team. I am excited to play for coach Montgomery with his expectations for academics and athletics.”
Turkoly is a highly-touted outfielder from Sanger High School in Texas that led the Indians to three straight district titles and a pair of regional semifinal appearances. As a junior she batted .565 with 11 doubles, seven triples and 11 home runs with 43 RBI and 39 runs scored.
“She is essentially a five-tool player that brings so much to the table,” Montgomery said. “In addition to her strong skill set, she has great competitiveness and work ethic. She also plays for Texas Glory-Shelton, so she has played against the best and performed at a high level. Morgan should provide an immediate impact on our team next season.”
Turkoly is a three-time first team all-District 9-3A selection and a three-time all-area selection by the Denton Record Chronicle. The two-time all-state honoree was named the District 9-3A MVP in 2014 and the District 9-3A Offensive Player of the Year in 2013.
“I chose LA Tech for several reasons,” Turkoly said. “I loved the coaching staff, which was a big factor in my decision. The college town atmosphere and tradition was something I was looking for in a college and I think Louisiana Tech softball is a program on the rise. I wanted to be a part of that success.”
Haughton, La. (Haughton HS)
High School: Lettered three years for coach Leanne Prather and the Haughton High School Buccaneers … Pitched and played centerfield for the Buccaneers … Helped lead Haughton to the district championship in 2012 and 2013 … As a freshman, batted .441 and was 17-6 with a 2.21 earned run average in the circle … As a sophomore, batted .422 and registered a 1.97 earned run average with 119 strikeouts in 120 innings pitched … Broke the program single season record as a junior with 12 home runs along with a .480 batting average and 25 RBI and 40 runs scored … Also recorded a 1.68 earned run average with 138 strikeouts in 143 innings pitched … Three-time all-city by the Shreveport Times (2012, 2013, 2014) … Three-time all-parish by the Bossier Press Tribune (2012, 2013, 2014) … Three-time all-district selection (2012, 2013, 2014) … Named honorable mention all-state in 2014 … Played travel ball for coach Amanda Nordenberg and the Intensity 18U in 2013, helping lead the team to the USSSA State Championship … Played travel ball for coach Lori Kowalski and the Louisiana Freedom Gold in 2014, helping lead that team to the FASA Fire Cracker National Championship and the FASA World Series Championship … Personal: Daughter of Thomas and Jessica Dies … Has three brothers, Clayton, Jeremy and Trace … Born Nov. 25, 1996 in Del Rio, Texas.
Bossier City, La. (Benton High School)
High School: Lettered three years at Benton High School in Louisiana and lettered as a freshman at North DeSoto … Played centerfield and shortstop and pitched for the Tigers and coach Michelle Owens … Helped lead Benton to the district title as a sophomore … Two-time first team all-district … Named academic all-district as a sophomore … Named all-parish by the Bossier Press-Tribune as a junior … Also lettered in soccer and track and field at Benton … Was named first team all-district in soccer as a sophomore and junior and the district defensive MVP as a junior … Named academic all-district in soccer as a junior … Finished fourth in the 4 x 400-meter relay in regionals as a freshman … Member of the National Honor Society and the National Forensic League (debate) … Was an All-American nominee and finished seventh at nationals in cheer as a freshman … Played travel ball for coach Chuck Stigall and the Louisiana Storm 97 … Personal: Daughter of Anthony and Bridgette Rangel … Has one brother, Dalton, and one sister, Emma … Born November 6, 1996 in Shreveport, La.
— Louisiana Tech Sports Information