Softball Coach Sami Ward Inks Six in Inaugural Signing Class

LUBBOCK, Texas – Newly appointed Texas Tech softball coach Sami Ward announced the additions of six signees to the 2021 signing class on Wednesday.


Erna Carlin, Demi Elder, Breanna Hayward, Karson Jennings, Maddie Kuehl and Kaylee Lyon will join the Red Raider roster for the 2021-22 season.


“I am extremely pleased with the overall athleticism in our 2021 recruiting class,” said Ward. “We are adding quality student-athletes that will continue to help elevate our program. They are a well-rounded group that add tremendous talent and depth to our squad. I can’t wait to see how these young ladies grow over the next four years.”


Erna Carlin 

RHP | 5’11” | Waller HS | Hempstead, Texas 

Texas native Erna Carlin joins the Red Raiders from Waller High School where she helped her team to the state playoffs in 2018 and 2019. Carlin was named Newcomer of the Year and All-District honors in her freshman season. She followed up with an impressive sophomore campaign where she was named Co-MVP and All-District once again. In her first two seasons at Waller High School, she accumulated 497 strikeouts. Carlin helped lead her travel ball team to a 2016 PGF National Championship, 2017 Texas Challenge Series Championship, 2018 USA Elite Select Championship and a 2020 Junior Olympic Championship.


Demi Elder 

OF | 5’5” | Clear Springs HS | League City, Texas 

Demi Elder comes to Lubbock from Clear Springs High School in League City, Texas where she has had an impressive career holding the school records for stolen bases in a game, doubles in a game, stolen bases in a season, career hits and career stolen bases. Elder earned District Newcomer of the Year, First Team All-County and Team MVP honors as a freshman. She was named First Team All-District, First Team All-County and Team MVP in her sophomore season, when she helped lead the Lightning to the second round of the state playoffs. She placed third with her travel ball team at the TFL Championships in 2020 and finished in the top 20 at both TCS Nationals and PGF Nationals in 2019. She was ranked 34th on Flo-Softball’s 2021 Grads list. Elder’s older sister, Danielle, plays softball at Texas A&M and her sister, Devon, was a cheerleader at Tech.


Breanna Hayward 

INF | 5’8” | Cienega HS | Tucson, Arizona 

Breanna Hayward makes her way to the Lone Star State from Cienega High School in Tucson, Arizona. She was twice named First Team All-State and All-Conference and earned Southern Arizona Freshman of the Year. Hayward helped Cienega High School to the AIA softball playoffs twice, claiming the championship with her team in 2018. She was named one of Southern Arizona’s Top 100 sports figures for her success on the field. Hayward has posted a career batting average of .720 with an on base percentage of .750 while tallying 120 hits. She holds the school record for career home runs with 25 in just two seasons (2020 season was canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic). Hayward comes from an athletic family. Her father, Joe, played football at New Mexico State and her older brother, Terrell, plays football at Northern Arizona.


Karson Jennings 

C | 5’11” | Purcell HS | Purcell, Oklahoma 

Karson Jennings will join the Red Raider roster from Purcell High School in Purcell, Oklahoma. The catcher guided the Dragons to a 2017 regional and state championship while earning All-City and Second Team All-District honors as a freshman. She was named First Team All-City, All-District and Catcher of the Year as a junior with a .355 batting average. Jennings earned First Team All-District, All-Region and All-State honors as a catcher while hitting .466 in 2020. She ranked #128 on Extra Innings Softball 2020 list and helped her travel ball team to a TFL Championship Final Eight and third place finish at the Triple Crown Summer Nationals.


Maddie Kuehl 

RHP | 6’1” | Silver Creek HS | Longmont, Colorado 

Maddie Kuehl is a four-year letter winner from Silver Creek High School in Longmont, Colorado. She is a three-time BoCoPreps First Team All-Region honoree and owns the school record for career strikeouts, WHIP and batting average. Her junior season, she was named CHSAA 4A All-State, Northern/NCAC Conference Player of the Year and Pitcher of the Year. In her senior season, she once again earned CHSAA 4A All-State and Northern/NCAC Conference Player and Pitcher of the Year honors while also being named BoCoPreps Region Player of the Year.


Kaylee Lyon 

INF | 5’5” | Norman HS | Norman, Oklahoma 

Kaylee Lyon is a two-time First Team All-District earner from Norman High School in Norman, Oklahoma. In her high school career, Lyon was named First Team All-State, All-Region, First Team All-conference, OKC Area All-Vype Team, and three-time Norman High School Defensive Player of the Year. She finished the 2020 season with a .467 batting average, .537 on base percentage, 31 RBI, 42 runs, 13 doubles, four triples, three home runs and 12 stolen bases. Lyon was ranked 60th on FloSoftball’s Hot 100 2021 list and 110 on Extra Innings Softball Elite Class of 2021. She reached the TFL Championship Final Eight with her Impact Gold team and finished third at TC Southwest Summer Nationals.



Release provided by Texas Tech Athletics


Katie Moseley

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