WILMINGTON, North Carolina - UNCW softball Head Coach Kristy Norton announced the signing of Nella Chamblee (Wendell, N.C./Corinth Holders), Peyton Jordan (Waxhaw, N.C./Marvin Ridge) and Merritt Wilkinson (Burlington, N.C./Western Alamance) to National Letters-of-Intent during the early signing period.

All three will enroll at UNCW for the fall 2013 semester and join the Seahawk softball program as freshman for the 2014 season.

"Overall, I am very happy that these three young ladies chose to play at UNCW," said Norton, who is in her first season with the program. "They will bring a wealth of softball skill to our team.  They are passionate about the game and are a group of solid competitors."

Biographical information, plus comments from Coach Norton for all three players, can be found below.

Nella Chamblee | 5-4 | C/IF | Wendell, N.C./Corinth Holders

HIGH SCHOOL: All-State and All-District selection as a junior ... Three-time All-Conference pick ... Has earned Team MVP honors all three seasons of her prep career ... Has posted a batting average or .400 or better all three seasons ... Helped Corinth Holders advance to second round of state playoffs in 2011.

CLUB: Plays for Triangle Lightning Fastpitch Association ... Led team to ninth-place finish in ASA “A” Nationals ... Helped squad place fourth in ASA Gold Nationals and third in Dynamite Classic ... Earned Defensive Award in 2010 and Offensive Award in 2009.  

Norton on Chamblee: "Nella is a fantastic young lady and an extremely hard worker.  She knows the game incredibly well and will be a solid addition to our catching staff. She can also play a corner position in the infield and has potential power at the plate."

Peyton Jordan | 5-7 | P/1B | Waxhaw, N.C. | Marvin Ridge

HIGH SCHOOL: Two-time All- Southern Carolina Conference selection ... Earned All-State and All-District distinction following junior season ... Three-time UCHSS First-Team All-County pick … Also named team Defensive Player-of-the-Year in 2012 ... Fashioned 18-4 record and 0.80 ERA in the circle during her junior campaign ... Recorded 120 strikeouts and just 19 walks in 138 inning pitched ... Also finished with a .301 batting average at the plate ... Has led Marvin Ridge to three straight SCC Class 3A championships ... Has also helped Mavericks advance to third round of state playoffs in all three seasons ... NFCA All-American Scholar-Athlete selection in 2010 ... Selected to participate in Battle of the Border showcase on three occasions.

CLUB: Plays for Lady Blues 18U Elite ... Allowed just 29 earned runs in 119 innings pitched during 2012 season ... Ended the 2012 season with 74 strikeouts and just 16 walks.

Norton on Jordan: "Every time I watched Peyton pitch this summer I grew more and more impressed with her presence in the circle. She is a stoic competitor and has a passion for her position. She is a ground ball pitcher, which will benefit us at home since we play in a hitter's ballpark."

Merritt Wilkinson | 5-5 | IF/OF | Burlington, N.C. | Western Alamance

HIGH SCHOOL: Named 2012 NCHSCA Class 3A State Player-of-the-Year ... Also earned District Player-of-the-Year distinction for Region 5 in 2012 ... Earned NCSCA All-State, All-District, All-Conference accolades following junior season; hitting .433 with 39 hits and 23 RBI ... Also recorded 10 extra-base hits, including seven doubles, and 23 runs scored … Was 11-for-12 in stolen base attempts ... Has led Western Alamance to three straight Mid-State Conference Tournament Championships and a runner-up finish in the 2012 N.C. East Regional ... Earned Bronze Medal in Powerade State Games with Region 5 squad.

CLUB: Plays for NC Thunder, pacing team in batting average, on-base percentage, stolen bases and runs scored for the past two seasons ... Also played for Diamond Thunder N.C., guiding team to ASA 14U State Championship ... Also took part in ASA/USA Nationals with Diamond Thunder N.C.               

Norton on Wilkinson: "
Merritt is a solid athlete. She will be the fastest athlete on the roster next season.  We are hoping to use that speed offensively and defensively to help our program improve. She has good range in the middle of the field and is very glove savvy."