Third-year University of New Mexico head softball coach Paula Congleton and her staff have signed three to the 2020 class as announced by the program on Wednesday.
Joining the Lobos in the Fall of 2020 will be pitcher Talia Hannappel (Huntington Beach, Calif.), catcher Savana Martinez (Albuquerque, N.M./ Rio Rancho High School) and outfielder Diamond Sandoval (Santa Fe Springs, Calif.).
“I am excited about our incoming Lobo class of 2020 signees as we continue to build our team chemistry and competitive structure of our program,” said Congleton. “With this class, as well as our 2019’s, come great expectations.
“I believe we have signed players that are not only motivated on the field and in the classroom but who fit in with our vision as we cultivate the depth necessary to compete in the Mountain West Conference. They will represent UNM, our city and great state of New Mexico with pride and commitment.”
Hannappel is a right-handed pitcher from Huntington Beach, Calif., and Edison High School, where she has played on the varsity team for the last three seasons. In her high school career, the newest Lobo earned Sunset League Second Team, Sunset League All-Academic Team and Sunset League Scholar-Athlete.
In the circle, Hannappel carries a 3.16 ERA in 14 appearances including a most-recent 2.95 ERA and an 8-2 record as a junior. During her three years, she has pitched 68.2 innings and struck out 65 batters while walking 28 and was averaging an 8.5 strikeout average her junior and sophomore year.
Of note, the right-hander threw a no-hitter against Woodbridge High School and had a no-hitter going through five innings against Marina High School to send the Chargers to the CIF Southern Section Division 2 playoffs. In another game, this time against Trabuco Hills, Hannappel recorded 15 strikeouts and posted a one-hitter.
At the club level, Hannappel played for the Corona Angels.
“The right-handed, hard-throwing pitcher is a smart, selfless player who understands the game and makes everyone around her better,” the Lobo alum said. “The minute we met Talia and her family we knew she would be a great fit with Lobo softball. Her drive and toughness will make an immediate impact on our team. We can’t wait to see the impact she will have on the field next year.”
As to why she chose UNM, Hannappel said, “It was everything I was looking for in a school. The coaching staff is amazing and I felt right at home on campus.”
Joining her to complete the battery is a local product in Martinez, who was part of the 2018-19 metro, district and state championship team at Rio Rancho High School. Martinez earned first team all-district all three years.
At the club level, the New Mexico native played for the New Mexico Sundancers, where she twice won the state championship.
In addition, Martinez joins her sister Briana, a freshman infielder for the Lobos.
“One of the great things about this year’s class is we have signed another New Mexico student-athlete. Savana Martinez, of Rio Rancho High School, joins older sister Briana Martinez (2019 class), bringing that championship mentality to Lobo softball,” Congleton said. “I am excited about Savana’s competitive energy and explosive nature as she continues to work hard on having an immediate impact when she arrives next fall. Her versatility is a great strength in this class.”
For Martinez, “To play for UNM softball has been the greatest opportunity in my life. I have been given the chance to fulfill my goals of obtaining a college degree and being given the opportunity to play softball for the Lobos.
“I look forward to being part of the great things that are happening with UNM softball, and am committed to being part of the success in making UNM softball a top program. As a proud native New Mexican, I always work hard, am driven, focused and look forward to representing our program together with the greatest of teammates. Thank you to Coach Congleton and Coach Tyler Heil for this fantastic opportunity, and I will give my very best on-and-off the field!”
The final signee comes from St. Paul High School in Santa Fe Springs, Calif., where she has been a member of the varsity program since her freshman year.
An outfielder, Sandoval has played in 71 games throughout her high school career to date and carries a batting average of .315 and an on-base percentage of .347. Additionally, she has tallied 58 hits, brought in 31 runs.
Academically, Sandoval is a member of the California Scholarship Federation and has been named a scholar-athlete.
“Diamond is an outfielder who is not afraid to go all out to catch anything hit near her,” Congleton said. “She’s an all-around athlete that will continue to help our efforts to add depth to our outfield. Diamond is an athletic player from a strong, winning background in high school and at the club level. We are excited for Diamond to join our Lobo softball family. Her fiery energy in the outfield is something we are looking forward to having.”
Intending to major in nursing, Sandoval chose UNM because, “The coaches value greatness not just on the field but in the classroom, it is a beautiful and unique campus and it felt like home.”
The Lobos open the 2020 schedule on Feb. 7 against Weber State in Phoenix, Ariz. at the GCU Tournament. The full schedule can be found HERE.