Lincoln - Six talented student-athletes will join the Nebraska softball team next fall, Head Coach Rhonda Revelle announced on Wednesday during the early signing period. The 2015 freshman class consists of four Nebraska natives, an infielder from Missouri and a pitcher from Texas.
Kaylan Jablonski (Omaha Skutt), Gina Metzler (Papillion-La Vista), Taylor Otte (Wahoo) and Madi Unzicker (Millard South) represent one of the top collections of in-state talent in Nebraska high school history, while Laura Barrow (Kearney [Mo.]) and Caitlin Bartsch (The Woodlands [Texas]) will come to Nebraska following outstanding out-of-state high school careers.
In addition to talent, the six new additions will bring a winning attitude to the Husker program. Combined, the group has won 10 state championships and added two runner-up finishes. Otte and Unzicker both won three state titles and Jablonski was a two-time state champion, while Bartsch and Metzler each captured one state championship. Bartsch added a national title when The Woodlands was ranked No. 1 in the country following her freshman season, while Metzler’s Papillion-La Vista squad added a pair of runner-up finishes in addition to its 2010 state title.
In addition to the team success, the six standouts also achieved at a high level as individuals.
Among the Cornhusker state products, Jablonski set Nebraska’s all-class career batting average record and produced Class B home run and RBI records, while Unzicker is the state’s all-time home run leader. Both Jablonski and Unzicker were three-time, first-team All-Nebraska selections, while Metzler was just the fourth player in state history to be a four-time, first-team All-Nebraska honoree. Otte was named to the All-Nebraska team as both a junior and senior.
Both out-of-state signees also have earned all-state recognition in their careers. Barrow was Kearney’s first all-state selection in three years as a junior in 2012 and is a strong candidate to earn repeat accolades as a senior. Bartsch was an all-state honoree in Texas’ largest class as a sophomore and looks to improve upon a 35-8 career record during her senior season this spring.
The combination of individual talent, the collective leadership of the group and the players’ team-first mentality has Revelle excited for what the six players will bring to the Husker program.
“This is an exceptional class both on the field and in the classroom,” Revelle said. “They are athletic, driven and are passionate about being Huskers. From the day they committed, they have continued to work every day to get better.
“They are proud of the rich tradition of Nebraska Softball and are intent on adding to the team’s success. We look for this high-character group to have an immediate and lasting impact on the Nebraska softball program.”
2013 Nebraska Softball Signing Class
- Laura Barrow, INF, Kearney, Mo. (Kearney HS/Kansas City Originals)
- Caitlin Bartsch, RHP, The Woodlands, Texas (The Woodlands HS/Texas Firecrackers)
- Kaylan Jablonski, RHP, Omaha, Neb. (Omaha Skutt HS/Nebraska Gold)
- Gina Metzler, OF, Omaha, Neb. (Papillion-La Vista HS/Nebraska Gold)
- Taylor Otte, INF, Wahoo, Neb. (Wahoo HS/Frozen Ropes Fury)
- Madi Unzicker, C, Omaha, Neb. (Millard South HS/Nebraska Gold)
Laura Barrow, INF, Kearney, Mo. (Kearney HS/Kansas City Originals)
One of two out-of-state prospects in this year’s class, Laura Barrow comes to Nebraska from Kearney High School in Kearney, Mo. In addition to being a solid hitter, Barrow was regarded as one of the top defensive infielders in the Kansas City area. Although complete statistics from her high school career are unavailable, Barrow finished with top-three marks in Kearney history in hits, batting average, runs scored, RBIs, stolen bases and walks. She was honored as one of Missouri’s top players as a junior in 2012, when she was a second-team all-state selection in Missouri’s largest class. Barrow was also a second-team Kansas City Star all-metro selection as a junior and was a four-time all-district and all-region performer.
As a senior in 2013, Barrow made Student Sports’ national list of players to watch. She helped Kearney finish with an 18-10 record and a 9-3 mark in conference play. After helping the Bulldogs end a multi-year drought by earning second-team all-state accolades as a junior in 2012, Barrow is a candidate to repeat as an all-state selection when the teams are announced later this month. She earned appointments to both the all-district and all-region teams as a senior, making her a four-time honoree for both awards.
Barrow helped Kearney to a 23-8 record in 2012 and a trip to the district final, where the Bulldogs fell to the eventual state champion. Following her junior season, Barrow was named a second-team all-state selection in Class 4, Missouri’s largest class. Along with a senior teammate, Barrow was the first Bulldog to earn all-state recognition in three years. Barrow was also a first-team all-district selection as a junior.
Barrow was also an all-district and all-region selection as a freshman and sophomore at Kearney, where she was a four-year letterwinner. In addition to displaying her talents on the softball diamond, Barrow earned letters in basketball as a sophomore and junior and is in line for a third varsity letter this winter. She was also a four-year member of the Kearney student council.
Barrow played her club ball for the Kansas City Originals, coached by Chad Bernholtz. Barrow helped lead the Originals to back-to-back USSSA Missouri 18-and-under state championships in 2012 and 2013, along with a runner-up finish in 2013. The Originals also posted top-10 national finishes in both 2010 and 2011.
Coach Revelle on Laura:
“Laura brings a tremendous softball IQ and acumen to the Nebraska softball team. We are grateful that Laura selected the Huskers as her team. She brings great tools and skill set from the offensive and defensive sides of the game. Laura is an intelligent player who has a great motor for the game and its big moments. Husker fans be on the lookout for this inspiring young lady, as she knows only one way to play the game…with Heart-N-Hustle.”
Caitlin Bartsch, RHP, The Woodlands, Texas (The Woodlands HS/Texas Firecrackers)
Caitlin Bartsch has put up impressive numbers through her first three seasons at The Woodlands High School in The Woodlands, Texas. Entering her senior season this spring, Bartsch owns a 35-8 career record with a 1.37 ERA in 260.1 innings. She has added seven saves and 172 strikeouts, while limiting opposing hitters to a .182 average. In Bartsch’s 39 career starts, the opponent has been held scoreless 27 times.
As a junior in 2013, Bartsch helped the Highlanders to a 30-9 record and an appearance in the Texas Class 5A, Region II final for the third consecutive year. Bartsch posted a 9-4 record with a 1.90 ERA in 88.1 innings as a junior. She did not allow an earned run in 11 of her 22 appearances and surrendered just one earned run on six other occasions. Opponents hit just .220 against her and struck out 52 times, as Bartsch owned a strikeout-to-walk ratio of better than 3-to-1. For her efforts, Bartsch earned all-district honors.
Bartsch enjoyed a terrific sophomore campaign in 2012, finishing with a 19-4 record and a 1.16 ERA in 121.0 innings. She started 23 of The Woodlands’ 35 games, while making 33 total appearances in the Highlanders’ 30-5 campaign that culminated with a trip to the regional final. She did not allow an earned run in 22 of her 33 appearances, surrendered just one earned run on seven occasions and gave up more than two earned runs just twice. Opponents hit a paltry .157 against Bartsch in 2012, while she struck out 99 and walked only 22. Bartsch was an honorable-mention Class 5A all-state selection by the Texas Sports Writers Association and an all-district honoree.
Bartsch made the varsity team as a freshman in 2011, when The Woodlands finished with a 44-1 record and captured a state title before being named national champions by MaxPreps and ESPNHS. Pitching behind National Gatorade Player of the Year Paige McDuffee, Bartsch made 22 appearances and earned seven starts as a freshman. She posted a 7-0 record with a 0.96 ERA in 51.0 innings, allowing an earned run in only five of her 17 appearances.
In club ball, Bartsch pitched for the Texas Firecrackers, one of the premier programs in the country. The Firecrackers are coached by Connie May, and Bartsch’s pitching coach with the Firecrackers was former Texas A&M two-time All-American Amanda Scarborough.
Coach Revelle on Caitlin:
“Caitlin brings an infectious enthusiasm to the game and her teammates. When Caitlin takes the mound, her defense rallies and just wants to play hard for her. We knew from the moment Caitlin stepped foot on campus that she is a great fit for the Husker family. It is an exciting time for Nebraska Softball and Coach Sippel, as Caitlin primes herself for a successful career as a Nebraska Cornhusker.”
Kaylan Jablonski, RHP, Omaha, Neb. (Omaha Skutt HS/Nebraska Gold)
Kaylan Jablonski was a standout for Omaha Skutt High School, leading the SkyHawks to the first two state championships in school history in 2011 and 2013. A four-time Omaha World-Herald All-Nebraska selection, Jablonski garnered first-team honors as a sophomore, junior and senior, and she was the team’s honorary captain as a senior. Also a four-time, first-team Class B all-state selection, Jablonski was one of the top dual-threat (pitching and hitting) players in state history, and she was tabbed as the nation’s No. 50 overall recruit by Student Sports.
She finished her career with a .557 batting average, an all-class state record, bettering the .514 mark of current Husker Alicia Armstrong. Jablonski also set Class B career records with 25 home runs and 137 RBIs. Forty-three percent of her 201 career hits went for extra bases. In the circle, Jablonski posted an 81-14 career record with a 1.50 ERA and 891 strikeouts in 556 innings.
Jablonski led Omaha Skutt to its second state title in three years as a senior in 2013. She posted a 23-2 record for the 28-4 SkyHawks. Jablonski allowed only one run in a five-hit performance in a 2-1 state championship victory over York. At the plate, she batted .610 with 36 walks in her senior season. Her performance earned her a third straight spot on the All-Nebraska first team, and she was a first-team Lincoln Journal Star Super State honoree.
As a junior in 2012, Jablonski helped Skutt to a third-place finish in the Class B state tournament. She boasted a 23-5 record in the circle with 256 strikeouts in 163 innings, while batting .654 with 13 home runs and 52 RBIs. For her efforts, she was a first-team All-Nebraska selection and a second-team Super State pick.
Jablonski excelled offensively and in the circle while leading Skutt to its first Class B state championship as a sophomore in 2011. She was 22-2 in the circle with a 0.90 ERA and 232 strikeouts in 148.1 innings. In her first season as Skutt’s ace, Jablonski allowed just 58 hits. She led the 29-4 SkyHawks in hits (49), while posting a .521 batting average with nine doubles, three home runs, 18 stolen bases and 35 runs. Jablonski earned the first of three straight appointments to the All-Nebraska first team following her sophomore season.
As a freshman in 2010, Jablonski split time in the circle and in the outfield. She produced a .420 batting average (34-for-81) with 22 RBIs, 17 runs scored and three triples. In the circle, Jablonski finished with a 13-5 record with one save, a 2.05 ERA and 125 strikeouts in 99 innings. Despite her freshman status, Jablonski earned first-team all-state accolades and second-team All-Nebraska honors.
Jablonski played her travel ball for Nebraska Gold, the same team as fellow signees Gina Metzler and Madi Unzicker. Nebraska Gold is coached by Kaylan’s father, Dick, and is assisted by Gina’s father, Brad, and Madi’s father, Travis. Kaylan produced nearly 30 wins, 20 home runs and 100 RBIs and hit better than .400 while helping Nebraska Gold qualify for the Premier Girls Fastpitch national championship last summer, where the team finished in the top 20. Previously, Jablonski had helped Nebraska Gold qualify for ASA Gold Nationals.
Coach Revelle on Kaylan:
“Kaylan is a fierce competitor who wants the ball when the game is on the line. A natural leader, Jablonski can equally impact the game as a pitcher or as a hitter. Kaylan has trained herself with an intensity that we have rarely seen in a high school athlete, and we couldn’t be more proud to add Kaylan Jablonski to the Nebraska Softball family.”
Gina Metzler, OF, Omaha, Neb. (Papillion-La Vista HS/Nebraska Gold)
Gina Metzler was one of the top players in the history of Nebraska high school softball. She earned first-team All-Nebraska honors from the Omaha World-Herald all four years for Papillion-La Vista High School, becoming just the fourth player in the 21-year history of the All-Nebraska team to be a four-time, first-team selection. Metzler started every game of her career for the Monarchs and was a four-time Lincoln Journal Star Super State selection. Metzler also earned first-team Class A all-state accolades all four years of her career. She hit .500 in her prep career, the fourth-highest mark in state history.
As a senior in 2013, the speedy slapper boasted a career-best .600 average with 52 runs scored and 40 stolen bases. She added five doubles, eight triples, one home run and 29 RBIs. Led by Metzler, Papillion-La Vista finished with a 33-4 record and a Class A runner-up finish in 2012. She was honored as the MaxPreps/NFCA National High School Player of the Week on Oct. 27, 2013, following her performance during the state softball tournament. During the state tournament, Metzler batted .727 (16-for-22) with one double, one triple, eight runs scored, five stolen bases and six RBIs in six games. She hit safely in all six games at the state tournament and reached base in 18 of her 24 plate appearances to post an on-base percentage of .750. On the season, Metzler hit safely in 35 of 37 games. For her efforts, Metzler earned her fourth straight appearance on the All-Nebraska and Super State squads, as well as her fourth straight first-team Class A all-state honor.
Metzler batted .529 as a junior in 2012, producing 16 RBIs, 45 runs scored and a school-record 44 stolen bases. Metzler was again recognized as one of the state’s top players in 2012, earning a spot on the All-Nebraska and Super State teams for the third straight year.
As a sophomore in 2011, Metzler batted .439 for the 21-12 Monarchs. She produced 12 RBIs, four triples, 28 runs scored, 23 stolen bases and four triples, while recording at least one hit in 29 of Papillion-La Vista’s 33 games. Metzler hit safely in the first 11 games of her sophomore season, extending the hitting streak from her freshman season to 19 games. Following her sophomore season, Metzler earned her second straight appointment to the All-Nebraska and Super State squads.
Metzler made an immediate impact as a freshman in 2010, when she was the only freshman and one of just three underclassmen on the World-Herald’s 13-player All-Nebraska first team. Overall, Metzler was just the fourth freshman in the then-18-year history of the All-Nebraska team to earn a spot on the first team. Also a Super State and first-team all-state selection, Metzler played a key role on a Papillion-La Vista squad that won the Class A state championship. She led the team with a .440 batting average and had a hit in 23 of the Monarchs’ 24 games, while stealing 15 bases.
Metzler played her travel ball for Nebraska Gold, the same team as fellow signees Kaylan Jablonski and Madi Unzicker. Nebraska Gold is coached by Kaylan’s father, Dick, and is assisted by Gina’s father, Brad, and Madi’s father, Travis. Gina helped Nebraska Gold qualify for the 2013 Premier Girls Fastpitch national championship, where the team finished in the top 20. Previously, Metzler hit .446 to help Nebraska Gold qualify for 2012 ASA Gold Nationals.
In the classroom, Metzler is a three-time NFCA All-America Scholar Athlete.
Coach Revelle on Gina:
“Gina is a tremendous blend of athlete, scholar and leader. She brings all of these qualities to every aspect of her life, and it is the recipe for the highest level of achievement. Where Gina goes, success follows. We could not be more excited to add this young lady to the Big Red, as she is the epitome of a scholar-athlete. Gina will take the Nebraska field with pride and make all of us proud.”
Taylor Otte, INF, Wahoo, Neb. (Wahoo HS/Frozen Ropes Fury)
Taylor Otte was a three-time state champion at Wahoo, where she helped the Warriors to a 113-23 record as a four-year starter. One of the state’s top leadoff hitters, Otte was recognized as a two-time All-Nebraska selection by the Omaha World-Herald, earning first-team accolades as a senior. Otte was a three-time Class C all-state selection, including back-to-back first-team honors in her junior and senior seasons. She was also a four-time all-area selection and a three-time all-district and all-conference performer.
Otte hit .584 for Wahoo as a senior in 2013 with 17 doubles, six triples, seven home runs, 34 stolen bases and 44 RBIs. Otte added 61 runs as she helped the Warriors to their third Class C state championship of her career. Wahoo finished with a 29-6 record in Otte’s final season, and she was chosen as one of the state’s top players with her appointment to the All-Nebraska first team and the Lincoln Journal Star Super State first team.
As a junior in 2012, Otte helped Wahoo to a 30-8 record and an appearance in the state tournament. She was honored as one of the state’s best players by earning appointments to the All-Nebraska and Super State second teams.
Otte won her second state title as a sophomore in 2011, when the Warriors finished with a 28-7 record. Otte repeated as an all-area selection as a sophomore, while earning the first all-district, all-conference and all-state accolades of her career.
As a freshman in 2010, Otte was a starter for Wahoo’s 26-2 Class C state championship team. One of the top freshmen in the state, Otte was recognized as a second-team all-area selection following the season.
Otte played her club ball for the Frozen Ropes Fury. The Fury is coached by Dave Peterson.
Coach Revelle on Taylor:
“Taylor is a competitor and a winner. She’s led Wahoo High School to three out of the last four state championships with her consistently clutch performances. Taylor is a young lady that has wanted to be a Husker since she first started playing softball, and we are excited about her making this dream a reality. Taylor’s athletic ability and competitive fire will propel her to success in the Husker uniform.”
Madi Unzicker, C, Omaha, Neb. (Millard South HS/Nebraska Gold)
Madi Unzicker was one of the state’s top hitters throughout her high school career. The Millard South standout hit a Nebraska all-class record 37 career home runs, 13 more than any other player had hit in state history. She also produced a .494 career batting average that ranked sixth overall in state history and third among Class A hitters. For her efforts, Unzicker was a three-time, first-team Omaha World-Herald All-Nebraska selection, and she was named the 2012 Nebraska Gatorade Player of the Year. Unzicker was also a four-time, first-team Class A all-state honoree.
In her final prep season, Unzicker helped Millard South to a 32-4 record that culminated with the Patriots winning their third straight Class A state championship. She made only four outs in eight postseason games, producing 12 hits and 11 walks. During the state tournament, Unzicker was 10-for-13 (.769) with four home runs and 11 RBIs, while posting an .852 on-base percentage. In the game before the if-necessary state championship game, Unzicker hit a pair of two-run home runs against Papillion-La Vista. On the season, Unzicker batted .531 with a school-record 49 RBIs. She also set a Millard South record with 14 home runs and she drew 32 walks. Following her senior season, Unzicker earned her fourth straight spot on the All-Nebraska team and third consecutive first-team honor. She was also a first-team Lincoln Journal Star Super State selection.
In 2012, Unzicker earned the state’s Gatorade player-of-the-year honors thanks to an outstanding junior season. She set then-Millard South offensive records with a .536 batting average, 42 RBIs, 50 runs scored, 34 walks, a .664 on-base percentage and a 1.143 slugging percentage. Unzicker helped the Patriots finish 29-5 and win their second straight state title. By the end of her junior season, Unzicker had already tied the Nebraska Class A career home run record. Following the year, Unzicker was named honorary captain of the All-Nebraska team, and she was also selected for the Super State squad in addition to her Gatorade state player-of-the-year honor.
Unzicker exploded onto the scene as a sophomore in 2011, helping Millard South to its first of three consecutive state titles. Unzicker set the school record with nine home runs, a mark she would top as a senior. She produced a .438 batting average as a sophomore with a .564 on-base percentage and .844 slugging percentage. Unzicker also drew 20 walks, scored 39 runs and produced 31 RBIs. She was named to the All-Nebraska first team following her sophomore season, after earning second-team All-Nebraska accolades as a freshman.
Unzicker played her travel ball for Nebraska Gold, the same team as fellow signees Kaylan Jablonski and Gina Metzler. Nebraska Gold is coached by Kaylan’s father, Dick, and is assisted by Madi’s father, Travis, and Gina’s father, Brad. Madi hit better than .400 and scored nearly 100 runs last summer, helping Nebraska Gold qualify for the 2013 Premier Girls Fastpitch national championship, where the team finished in the top 20. Previously, Unzicker had helped Nebraska Gold qualify for ASA Gold Nationals.
Coach Revelle on Madi:
“Strong, powerful, poised and a great teammate…that is Madi. Madi plays whatever role her team needs and does it with a smile on her face and a charge in her bat. The bigger the moment, the more Madi embraces it. She is a person we all need as a teammate. Madi makes everyone around her better just by being herself. We are honored that Madi chose the University of Nebraska, and we will all be better for it.”