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June 20, 2005

South Carolina softball inks three signees to the 2005 class as Ashton Payne (Richmond, Va.), Ciera Jones (Vienna, Va.) and NFCA High School All-American Christie Hamilton (Acworth, Ga.) have agreed to play for the Gamecocks next season.

Hamilton, a pitcher from Acworth, Ga., was named an NFCA All-American and the Gatorade Player of the Year for Georgia. She led Kell H.S., to the 2003 and 2004 Georgia Class 5A State Championship titles. With a 0.18 ERA, Hamilton was also named Player of the Year this past fall by the Atlanta Journal Constitution and the Marietta Daily Journal. Hamilton plays ASA for Georgia Fire and in 2004 she helped lead the Georgia Elite to a fifth-place finish at ASA Gold Nationals. The Elite also claimed the ASA State Championship in 2004.

Payne is a utility player from Mills E. Godwin H.S. in Richmond, Va. She plays summer ball for the Richmond Diamondbacks. During her junior year, she was named first team all-athletic Colonial District and Central Region. Other accomplishments include first-team All-Metro and she was voted best defensive player at Godwin H.S.

Jones hails from Vienna, Va. and attended Madison H.S. Her ASA team is the 18U Vienna Stars. A catcher, Jones was named All-Regional, All-District and All-Metro Honorable Mention in 2004.