Falling short of winning the program’s first Big West title in its history, the UCSB softball team will add seven incoming players to next year’s squad in hopes that their athleticism and raw talent will finally earn the Gauchos a conference championship.

With a mix of pitchers and utility players making up the new recruiting class, the Gauchos addressed their area of needs on the circle and at the plate.

“We’re excited about the prospects coming in and the versatility of the incoming athletes,” Head Coach Brie Galicinao said. “We’re going to have a complete staff and it’s really going to help with the lineup overall; any of them have the potential of impacting our lineup.”

Two incoming pitchers will provide help to All-Big West First Team pitcher Shelby Wisdom, who, in her first year, led the league in innings pitched (266.2), games started (37) and appearances (50). Incoming pitcher Ashley Ludlow from Casa Grande High School in Petaluma, CA has an excellent combination of speed and control while on the circle, and is capable of playing first base and outfield.

Pitcher Alexandra Pingree from Santa Catalina High School in Monterey, CA brings many accolades to the team. In 2011, she won Monterey County Player of the Year, Salinas Valley Player of the Year and was on the California-Hawaii All-State Small Schools [First Team as a pitcher].

“It’s really exciting to be able to develop [Ludlow and Pingree],” Galicinao said. “They’re all very different — their delivery, how they move the ball. All of our pitchers can change speeds and throw their changeups for strikes. There’s a lot of potential on the circle.”

With the departure of four-year starter Lainey DePompa, four utility players with the potential of catching will try to fill the gap left behind the plate. Among those is Leah Gordon from Rancho Bernardo High School in Poway, CA, who is also a skilled second and third baseman. Samantha Stark from Agoura Hills High School can also catch and play third base.

“I first saw [Stark] at one of our camps,” Galicinao said. “She has great energy, works hard and hustles; that’s what drew me to her … She’s gotten better just from last year.”

MeShalon Moore from Sheldon High School in Sacramento, whose sister DeJanee plays utility for UCSB, will also join the Gauchos for the 2013 season. As a catcher, Moore brings tremendous skill to the position and her great bat has the potential of replacing DePompa’s productivity from last season.

Galicinao strengthened the versatility of the team by bringing in Jessica Tetzlaff, a utility player from Murrieta, CA who has played everywhere on the field. Nicknamed “Juice,” Tetzlaff will bring speed to the base paths and power to the plate. In fact, it was actually Tetzlaff’s defensive prowess and energy that first caught Galicinao’s eyes.

“[Tetzlaff] is a gamer and she can play. She doesn’t care where she is on the field,” Galicinao said. “She’s a righty hitter but she’s been hitting from the left side. She’s athletic, she’s going to pick it up very quickly.”

The Gauchos also added more defense to its middle infield with the commitment of Arianna Palomares from Warren High School in Downey, CA. Batting from the left side of the plate, Palomares can bring consistency to the lineup as well as shore up the middle infield.

“She’s very skilled and has a great glove,” Galicinao said. “She’s a quarterback on the infield and talks a lot.”