Five talented student-athletes will join the Nebraska softball team next fall, Head Coach Rhonda Revelle announced on Wednesday, Nov. 9.
The group includes Omaha natives Olivia Ferrell, Payton Huscroft and Rylie Unzicker, along with Sarah Yocom (Cozad, Neb.) and Ally Riley (Alva, Okla.). Huscroft and Unzicker were high school teammates at Millard South, while Ferrell, Huscroft and Unzicker were travel ball teammates with the Nebraska Gold. Yocom is only the second player from Cozad to join the Nebraska softball program, while Riley gives Nebraska a talented signee from Oklahoma for the second straight year.
All five future Huskers concluded their high school careers this fall and all were all-state selections, including Ferrell and Unzicker, who were honorary co-captains of the Lincoln Journal Star Super-State team. Unzicker has also been recognized as a high school All-American by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association.
Revelle said the five incoming freshmen are ideal fits for the Husker softball program.
“The 2017 class is characterized by a group of outstanding student-athletes that grew up wanting to be Nebraska Cornhuskers,” Revelle said. “As their dreams became a reality, they did not rest. In fact, they accelerated their work to become the best they can be for their beloved Husker team. We are so proud of their commitment and dedication to their academics and athletics. They are primed and ready to begin their next chapters as University of Nebraska student-athletes.
“Liv, Payton, Ally, Rylie and Sarah are high character people who will strive for and reach excellence in the community, classroom and on the playing field.”
Nebraska Softball Signing Class
|STUDENT-ATHLETE||POSITION||HOMETOWN (HIGH SCHOOL/TRAVEL TEAM)|
|Olivia Ferrell||Pitcher||Omaha, Neb. (Elkhorn South/Nebraska Gold)|
|Payton Huscroft||Infielder||Omaha, Neb. (Millard South/Nebraska Gold)|
|Ally Riley||Catcher||Alva, Okla. (Alva/Oklahoma Exclusive)|
|Rylie Unzicker||Outfielder||Omaha, Neb. (Millard South/Nebraska Gold)|
|Sarah Yocom||Utility||Cozad, Neb. (Cozad/North Platte Sensations)|
Olivia Ferrell, Pitcher, Omaha, Neb. (Elkhorn South/Nebraska Gold)
Olivia Ferrell excelled as both a pitcher and hitter as one of the state’s top players for Class B state champion Elkhorn South. Ferrell was a three-time Omaha World-Herald All-Nebraska honoree and a three-time Lincoln Journal Star Super-State selection. Ferrell was named an honorary captain of the Super-State team as both a junior and senior.
As a senior, Ferrell led Elkhorn South to its first state title. Despite battling a knee injury all season, Ferrell posted a 17-3 record with a 1.30 ERA in 113.0 innings, while adding 191 strikeouts. Offensively, Ferrell batted .404 with six homers and 34 RBIs. For her efforts, Ferrell was a first-team Super-State and All-Nebraska selection and was an honorary captain of the Super-State team, sharing the honor with fellow signee Rylie Unzicker.
As a junior Ferrell led the Storm to a runner-up finish at the state tournament. She posted a 24-7 record with a 1.50 ERA and 295 strikeouts in the circle with 11 shutouts and three no-hitters, while batting .430 with four homers and 30 RBIs at the plate. For her efforts, Ferrell was named co-captain of the Super-State team, and she was also a first-team All-Nebraska selection. Ferrell was a second-team All-Nebraska and Super-State honoree as a sophomore, when she posted a 25-9 record.
In travel ball, Ferrell was the winning pitcher in the championship game of the 2015 ASA Gold 16-and-Under National Championship when her Nebraska Gold team became the first team from the Cornhusker state to win a national title. Ferrell shut out the Kansas City Originals in the title game and finished the tournament with a 7-1 record and a 1.40 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 46.0 innings.
Ferrell is also a standout hockey player who received Division I scholarship offers as a goalie.
Coach Revelle on Olivia:
“Liv is a strong and powerful pitcher who we look to step right into our program and make an impact. She has prepared herself beautifully to take the mound at Bowlin Stadium. Liv loves to pitch, loves to compete and loves the Huskers. Husker Nation will love Olivia Ferrell."
Payton Huscroft, Infielder, Omaha, Neb. (Millard South/Nebraska Gold)
Payton Huscroft capped her high school career with a dominant senior season for Millard South, helping the Patriots to the 2016 Class A state title, her third state title in four seasons. A first-team Omaha World-Herald All-Nebraska honoree and first-team Lincoln Journal Star Super-State selection as a senior, Huscroft posted a .420 career batting average with 32 doubles and 16 home runs.
As a senior, Huscroft posted a career year, setting school records with a .598 batting average and 17 doubles. She also added eight home runs, 31 runs and 36 RBIs with a .636 on-base percentage. Huscroft spent the end of the season as the Patriots’ starting catcher, a position she had never played before after previously serving as Millard South’s starting first baseman. Huscroft earned first-team All-Nebraska and Super-State recognition as a senior.
Huscroft also hit above .350 as both a sophomore (.353) and freshman (.371). In 2013, Huscroft earned Class A honorable-mention all-state accolades from the Omaha World-Herald after batting .371 with five doubles, two homers and 19 RBIs.
In travel ball, Huscroft contributed to Nebraska Gold’s 2015 ASA Gold 16-and-Under National Championship. She hit .400 with three doubles at the tournament while helping the Gold win the first national championship in state history.
Coach Revelle on Payton:
“Payton is a winner who continues to improve herself and her game. She is a high energy player who makes everyone else around her better. A leader and a friend to all, we are thrilled that Payton is a Nebraska Cornhusker."
Ally Riley, Catcher, Alva, Okla. (Alva/Oklahoma Exclusive)
Ally Riley is the lone out-of-state player in the Huskers’ signing class. A catcher, Riley concluded her career for Alva High School by earning all-state accolades as a senior from the Oklahoma High School Fastpitch Coaches Association, and she was also named the Enid News and Eagle Softball Player of the Year. In September of her senior season, Riley was selected as the Alva Athlete of the Month. Riley played her travel ball for the Oklahoma Exclusive.
Riley is also a standout for the Ladybugs basketball team, which has won three consecutive Class 3A state titles. Riley scored nine points in Alva’s 43-39 victory over Washington in the 2016 championship game and was named a second-team all-tournament team selection after averaging 8.0 points per game during the state tournament.
Coach Revelle on Ally:
“Ally has been a longtime Nebraska softball fan from the state of Oklahoma. We are anxious to get Ally in her gear as she has poured out her heart, taken her game to the next level and earned her place in the Nebraska softball family."
Rylie Unzicker, Outfielder, Omaha, Neb. (Millard South/Nebraska Gold)
Rylie Unzicker, the younger sister of Husker junior Madi Unzicker, was one of the state’s top players for Millard South. Rylie, who won three Class A state championships with the Patriots, was a four-time first-team Omaha World-Herald All-Nebraska selection and a four-time first-team Lincoln Journal Star Super-State honoree. She is one of only five players in the history of the All-Nebraska team to be a four-time, first-team selection. Unzicker also earned national recognition in the summer following her junior season when she was named a second-team high school All-American by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association.
Unzicker set Millard South career records in hits (187), doubles (48), home runs (38), RBIs (130), runs scored (185) and batting average (.521). According to available records, Unzicker’s 185 career runs are a Nebraska all-class record, and her .521 career batting average is the highest ever by a Class A player and ranks third overall in state history.
Unzicker capped her career this fall by leading Millard South to a third state title in four years as the Patriots’ center fielder. She was named honorary captain of the All-Nebraska team and was co-honorary captain of the Super-State squad, along with fellow signee Olivia Ferrell. Unzicker hit .500 and drove in 47 runs as a senior, while setting school records with 18 home runs and 57 runs scored. She was named the MaxPreps National Player of the Week in the final week of September after going 10-for-13 (.778) during the week with three doubles, four homers, 10 RBIs and 12 runs.
As a junior, Unzicker hit safely in 28 of 31 games, finishing with 16 multi-hit games while playing shortstop for the first time in her career. She played in the outfield her first two seasons. She posted a .558 batting average as a junior with 53 hits, 46 runs, 12 doubles, four triples, four home runs and 22 RBIs. Following her junior season, Unzicker was named a first-team All-Nebraska and Super-State selection for the third consecutive year.
As a sophomore, Unzicker hit .477 with nine doubles, 10 homers, 33 RBIs and 44 runs. She hit .556 in the postseason while slugging four of her 10 home runs, earning first-team Super-State and All-Nebraska accolades for the second straight season. Unzicker batted .551 with 43 hits as a freshman, when she was the only freshman on the Super-State or All-Nebraska team.
Unzicker played her travel ball for the Nebraska Gold.
Coach Revelle on Rylie:
“Rylie is a gifted athlete who will leave her mark on both sides of the ball. Rylie is an explosive offensive player with her power and speed. Defensively, she makes brilliant catches look routine as she roams the grass as gracefully as any we have ever seen on our Nebraska softball team."
Sarah Yocom, Utility, Cozad, Neb. (Cozad/North Platte Sensations)
Sarah Yocom was a three-time Class C all-state selection as an infielder for Cozad High School, earning first-team recognition as both a junior and senior. Yocom finished her career with 204 hits and 51 doubles.
Yocom posted a career-best .520 batting average as a senior to lead the Haymakers to a runner-up finish at the Class C state tournament. Yocom hit 14 home runs as a senior while producing 51 RBIs and posting a 25-game hitting streak. For her performance, Yocom earned first-team all-state accolades from both the Omaha World-Herald and Lincoln Journal Star.
She was also a first-team all-state pick as a junior after posting a .419 batting average with four homers and 42 RBIs. As a sophomore, Yocom was an honorable-mention all-state selection after she set the Nebraska all-class record with seven hits in a game and tied the all-class record with six runs scored in a game.
Yocom played her travel ball for the North Platte Sensations.
Coach Revelle on Sarah:
“Sarah is an athlete who loves to play hard, work hard, and leave it all on the field. Her athleticism combined with her desire to always improve will make watching her career very exciting. We are so grateful Sarah is going to be wearing the Nebraska jersey.”