JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (May 17, 2011) - Head East Tennessee State University softball coach Brad Irwin announced Tuesday morning that five more recruits have signed to play for the Bucs starting in the fall of 2011.
Joining Mariam Wood (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) - who was Irwin's first recruit landed during the early period back in November - are Alex Everett (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.), Whitney Leon (Dandridge, Tenn.), Lily Robins (Collierville, Tenn.), Haley Thompson (Nicholson, Ga.), and Kara Woods (Erwin, Tenn.). These six recruits look to add much-needed depth to the Buccaneer line-up, while also competing for starting jobs as freshman.
"We are very excited with this group of signees," said Irwin. "We feel like they can all come in and help us right away. These players come from very successful programs with rich tradition and winning backgrounds. We feel this class addresses the needs we have going into next season, and we can't wait for them to get on campus to be a part of the Buccaneer softball family."
Everett, a teammate of Wood under the tutelage of legendary coach Clifford Kirk at Soddy Daisy High School, brings a winning attitude to Johnson City as she played an integral role in guiding the Trojans to the Class AAA State Championship in 2010. At the conclusion of the championship game, Everett was named MVP, while finishing her junior campaign with a blistering .519 batting average along with 23 extra-base hits, 48 RBI and 57 runs scored as a middle infielder. As a sophomore, Everett hit .402 and was named "Best of Preps" by the Chattanooga Times Free Press in both 2009 and 2010. Last season Soddy Daisy finished fourth in the national rankings and the Trojans were ranked as high as fifth in the ESPN Rise Top 50 this season.
"One of the big things I like about Alex is her ability to hit," Irwin said. "I've seen her play many times over the years, and I've been impressed with the way she handles the bat. Playing at Soddy-Daisy, she's coming from a program that knows what it takes to win. We know we are getting somebody that knows how to win and knows how to work hard. We are excited to be adding another player from Soddy Daisy, because they have a rich tradition with top-level coaching. In the summer, she also plays for the Mustangs, which is a high quality club program that played in the ASA Nationals a year ago."
Leon is a very athletic player where she has lettered in softball, volleyball, and basketball at Jefferson County High School. The Dandridge, Tenn. native will see time in the outfield, but she can also give depth to the Buccaneer pitching staff. Leon carries a winning resume with her as she helped steer the Patriots to a 2010 district championship, while finishing fourth in the state tournament. Along with the team success, Leon has compiled numerous accolades, which include three-time District II AA All-Tournament Team selection, IMAC Pitcher of the Year, and a three-time all-conference selection. Including her success at the high school level, Leon also plays for the White Lightning club team based out of Knoxville, who is coached by Mike Mayfield.
"Whitney is a versatile athletic player who has a chance to help us in many ways on the diamond," commented Irwin. "We look for her to help us in the outfield and she will have the chance to pitch as well."
Robins, a catcher/utility player out of Houston High School in Germantown, Tenn., has hit .398 with a .553 on-base percentage for her career with the Mustangs. The four-year varsity letterwinner was named All-Metro Best of Preps in 2010 and appeared in the 2008 and 2009 sectional championships. In addition to her four-year career at Houston High School, Robins also played her summer ball for the Nashville Cruisers and Forth Worth Batbusters Gold.
"Lily brings a lot of versatility to the program since she can catch, play in the outfield, and play the corner infield slots as well," Irwin said. "Offensively, she is a left-handed slapper and hitter. She can slap, power slap, and drive the ball. Her versatility will be a tremendous asset for the team. She will again be playing for the Nashville Cruisers Gold this summer, where she will receive quality coaching from Alan Banks."
Thompson - who was a middle infielder at Prince Avenue Christian School - hit .382 with eight doubles, three triples, and 29 RBI for the Wolverines in her senior season. Thompson and the Wolverines enjoyed a lot of success on the diamond as they won three regional championships and finished third in the state championship this past fall during her time at Prince Avenue Christian School. In addition, Thompson was named Regional Player of the Year from 2008-10 and was selected First Team All-State as a senior. Thompson also plays for the Georgia Knockouts Gold under coach Rob Kelly.
"Haley is a tremendous hitter and defensive player," said Irwin. "She comes from an outstanding high school program and was all-state in talent-rich Georgia. She also plays for a quality summer program that will prepare her for the collegiate level. Haley will have the chance to play a lot in the middle infield and she was a great find for us in this class."
Rounding out the group of signees is Woods, the local product from Unicoi County High School. Woods has compiled quite the resume as she helped guide the Devils to the 2009 AA State Championship title, while also being tabbed a three-time MVP of the Eastman Softball Invitational and named Female Athlete of the Year as a junior. Meanwhile, on the diamond, Woods has tallied very impressive numbers in the pitching circle by recording over 130 total wins, 1,100 strikeouts, and an ERA below 1.00 (0.71 to be exact). Woods also excels at the plate as she has registered 15 homers, 121 RBI, and a career average of .335 during her three-plus years at Unicoi County High School. In addition to all her success on the field, Woods also shines in the classroom as she has a 3.9 grade-point-average.
"We are very excited to add Kara to the Buccaneer softball family," said Irwin. "Kara comes from a very accomplished high school program in which she put up outstanding numbers. I feel like Kara will make an immediate impact in the circle as we look for her to be a big part of the rotation from day one. It's always a plus when you can sign an outstanding local player."
Overall, coach is going to continue working on the recruiting circuit and he's excited for this group to begin their playing careers at ETSU.
"Once again we are very excited about this group of signees and hopefully we can add one or two more players to this 2011 class."