Softball Inks Six in Early Signing Period
FORT MYERS, Fla. – With the softball season quickly approaching, FGCU head coach David Deiros announced the signing of six student-athletes to National Letters of Intent (NLI) during the early signing period.
Kelsey Carpenter (Oviedo Fla,/Hagerty HS), Stephanie Metzger (Naples, Fla./Palmetto Ridge HS), Shelby Morgan (High Springs, Fla./Santa Fe HS), Lauren Stevens (Naples, Fla./Palmetto Ridge HS) and Chelsea Wildey (Oviedo, Fla./Oviedo HS) will join the Eagles’ as incoming freshman and will have four years of eligibility starting in 2011-12. Britney Pugh (Pembroke Pines, Fla./Pines Charter HS), from St. Petersburg College, will transfer as a junior and will have two years of eligibility.
"We are very pleased with our recruiting class. We were able to address some very specific needs due to the impending graduation of our class of 2011 and insure depth and versatility at some other critical positions,” said Deiros. “With 2011-12 being our first season of postseason eligibility at Division I, this is arguably our most important recruiting class and they will be expected to have an immediate impact on our team."
Carpenter joins the Eagles with one more season at Hagerty High School to go, but already boasts several accolades. She was named to the All-Conference first team and earned Class 6A All-State honorable mention honors after her junior campaign in which she posted a .483 average and was named the team’s Most Valuable Defensive and Offensive Player. The Oviedo, Fla., native has a 4.0 grade-point average (GPA) and was named a Bright Futures Florida Academic Scholar. Carpenter is on the Hatters Gold and Team North Florida travel teams.
"Kelsey has all the tools necessary to be a fantastic softball player,” said Deiros. “She runs well and has a plus arm which will help at one of our corner outfield spots. She will be a very good power hitter at the college level and we expect her to make an impact somewhere in the middle of our lineup."
The duo of Metzger and Stevens were members of the Heatwave travel club and Palmetto Ridge High School team under the direction of head coach Jeff Stevens. The pair was part of three state champion travel teams and played in the 2006 and 2008 USSSA World Series. The Naples, Fla., products are two-time All-State, All-Conference and Naples Daily News All-Area selections. In their freshman and sophomore years, Metzger and Stevens guided Palmetto Ridge to the regional semifinals.
Metzger is a three-year starter for Palmetto Ridge and led team with a .382 batting average, a .435 on base percentage and tied Stevens’ for total hits with 29. For her junior year performance, Metzger was named to the Class 4A All-State first team.
“Stephanie can play any position on the field (I think she will even pitch this year for Palmetto Ridge), but I see her greatest potential for us behind the plate and in the outfield,” said Deiros. “Most importantly to us, she hits consistently to all fields and is starting to develop as a power hitter.”
Starting alongside Metzger for the past three years, Stevens led Palmetto Ridge in triples with seven, a .602 slugging percentage and tied Metzger for most hits with 29. She was a two-time Collier County Athlete of the Week in 2009 and capped her sophomore campaign with a Class 4A All-State third team selection. Stevens was also named the Offensive Player of the Year at Palmetto Ridge. Along with playing on the Heatwave, Stevens played travel ball with the Perrine Stingers for head coach John Spicer and led the team to a runner-up finish at the 2008 FAST 14U-A Nationals.
“Lauren is very intelligent and intuitive on defense – she always seems to be in the right place at the right time to make plays at second base,” said Deiros. “Over the last couple of years, I have seen her grow into a more potent offensive threat and I expect that will continue at our level."
A senior at Santa Fe, Morgan was named to the Class 3A All-State first team after posting a 0.67 ERA and 238 strikeouts for her junior campaign in the circle. As well as being named a three-time All-Area selection, Morgan has been on the honor roll in each year and is currently in the top 10 percent of her graduating class.
"Shelby is the most composed and even-tempered pitcher I have ever seen at the high school level,” said Deiros. “She is a tireless worker and mature beyond her years. Those attributes will pay immediate dividends for our team and pitching staff."
Pugh joins the team after a season at St. Petersburg College in which she posted a 16-9 record. The Pembroke Pines, Fla. native struck out 167 batters in a 170 innings pitched and earned a Florida Community College Activities Association All-Suncoast Conference first team nod and was named to the All-State second team.
"Britney is a competitor and workhorse in the circle,” said Deiros. “She is a power pitcher who will not back down from any hitter she faces. She will immediately contend for a top spot in our pitching rotation."
The Eagles’ final addition to the 2012 roster, Wildey posted a .402 batting average and .565 slugging percentage for Oviedo High School last season. The third baseman led her team to the 2009 District Championship and was named to the All-Conference second team under head coach Janet Williams. Wildey is the vice president of the Beta Club and the American Sign Language Club and a member of the honor society, while maintaining a 3.6 GPA.
"She is arguably the best defensive third baseman I saw coming out in the 2011 class,” said Deiros. “She covers a lot of ground and has a strong, accurate arm. She has a very strong work ethic and we expect that she will develop into a very good power hitter."
FGCU opens the 2011 campaign at the USF Tournament on February 11 against ACC foe N.C. State. The Eagles will also play Women’s College World Series participant Florida, Marshall, USF and NCAA participant Long Island during the tournament.
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