JOHNSON CITY, TENN. (April 23, 2004) - The East Tennessee State University women's softball squad has completed their 2004-2005 recruiting class with four student-athletes signing national letters of intent to compete for head coach Amy Fuller and ETSU during the 2005 campaign, it was announced today. Melissa McCall (Kingsport, Tenn./Dobyns-Bennett), Briana Knight (Brier, Wash./Mountlake Terrace), Amanda Haverman (Kirkwood, Mo./Kirkwood) and Jessica Payne (Maryville, Tenn./William Blount) will all join the ETSU softball team for the 2004-2005 season.
McCall, an area standout from nearby Kingsport, was a four-year varsity starter for the Dobyns-Bennett softball team playing primarily third base. During her junior campaign Melissa was honored as a member of the All-District team as well as being honored with All-Conference Tournament team accolades. Leading her high school squad to the 2003 conference and district crowns, McCall will bring a solid softball background to the field for ETSU. Melissa has also played USSSA softball with the Greeneville Stars where she was awarded the Defensive Player of the Year award at the Tennessee State Tournament during the summer of 2003. Posting solid numbers with a .377 batting average, McCall will compete for the Knoxville Thunder ASA Gold travel team during the summer of 2004. The daughter of Edwin and Mary McCall, Melissa was also a key member of the Dobyns-Bennett volleyball squad earning All-District honors while also competing on the varsity basketball squad.
"Melissa will be an all-around positive addition to the ETSU softball program," coach Fuller had to say. "She has a strong arm, sound eye-hand coordination and the ability to develop into a sound division one power hitter."
Briana Knight is also a celebrated high school athlete who will bring solid experience and a strong work ethic to the ETSU softball squad. A national nominee for the Wendy's High School Heisman Award in 2003, Knight boasts a 3.9 grade point average at Mountlake Terrace High School earning varsity letters in both softball and soccer. Knight was honored with first-team All-Wesco accolades during the 2002 and 2003 seasons, and recorded the most runs in school history in 2003. Briana also competed for the Eastside Elite traveling team playing primarily second base in both high school and travel competition. In 65 games played for Eastside Elite, she finished with a .359 average and 12 stolen bases, while during high school play she hit .389 stealing six bases in 23 games.
"Briana brings a great deal of experience and speed to our team. Playing competitive travel softball for many years she understands the work ethic that it takes to be part of a competitive program. With her ability to play both infield and outfield, Briana will have an immediate impact on the ETSU softball program both offensively and defensively."
Amanda Haverman will join the ETSU squad from Kirkwood, Mo. where she has won numerous honors as a four-year varsity starter for Kirkwood High School. Haverman will primarily pitch for the Lady Bucs and will bring strong experience to the first and third base positions. During her senior season she posted a 14-8 record, with a .44 earned run average, while hitting .384 with a tally of 14 RBI, a team high in that category. Also competing with the St. Louis Elite traveling team, Haverman posted a 34-19 record, four saves, a 1.04 earned run average with five shutouts on the year. Along with her impressive pitching stats during her select season, her overall batting statistics, a .341 average in 79 games, will also bring an offensive charge to the ETSU line-up. The daughter of Frank and Sheila Haverman, Amanda plans to major in math and education.
"Amanda will make an immediate impact on our pitching staff and as a hitter for our team. She has the size to become a dominating pitcher and constant offensive threat. With her experience at the select level, and a well-coached athlete thus far in her career, it will be exciting to see how she develops at ETSU," coach Fuller said.
Jessica Payne joins the ETSU line-up from Maryville, Tenn. An all-around athlete, Payne will bring flexibility to the line-up with her experience at the middle-infield, outfield and first base positions. Jessica was a four-year starter for the varsity squad at William Blount High School and competed with the 2003 Knoxville Thunder travel team. During her junior season she was named to the 2003 All-Blount County Softball Team, while also being honored to the All-District Four squad for the second consecutive year.
"Jessica brings a lot of competitive experience to the plate as well. She is fundamentally sound both defensively and offensively with an amazing work ethic. I expect Jessica to develop quickly into an impact player for our team," Fuller said.
Catch the Lady Bucs as they return to conference action in an April 24 doubleheader with College of Charleston and a single game set for April 25. All games will be played at Metro-Kiwanis Park.