The 2005 freshman class for the Lipscomb University softball team is made up of 7 talanted young ladies who are beginning their jounrney playing collegiate softball. The 2005 freshman are Niki Bails, Heather Collins, Kim Jacobson, Leigh Little, Kate Richards, Shay Sullivan and Allison Tyree.
Head Coach Andy Lane will not be surprised at the impact this young, but talanted group makes on the Lipscomb Softball program in their first season.
"We feel extremely good about our freshman class. Not only is it a very talanted class, but it is filled with outstanding young ladies that will make a huge impact on our program and Lipscomb University over the next few years. The greatest thing about this class is that they are hungry to get better and hungry to get on the field. We also love this class because they are willing to look to our upper classmen and learn what it takes to be dedicated both on the field and the classroom. We are in a good situation with such an outstanding group of older players who are setting such a good example on what it takes display balance in their life with their dedication in the classroom, dedication on the softall field and the decisions they make in their everyday life. We know that this freshman class is being shaped in a positive way," Lane said.
Lane feels that their past success will carry over to the Lipscomb softball program.
"It is always tough making that adjustment to college life and college softball and with any program you have a few bumps along the way. We feel confident this group is going to be fine because they are all winners and have responded in a positive way with the challenges we have put before them concerning softball and their academic responsibilities. In our recruiting process we look for players who have experienced a tremendous amount of success and who have been dedicated to softball. This group is loaded with players who has achieved so much on the softball field, in the classroom and who have played a ton of softball over the years," Lane said.
Niki Bails comes to Lipscomb from Plantation, Florida, where she attended Hollywood Christian High School. Bails will serve as one of the Lady Bison catchers and also spend time working in centerfield.
Lane has been impressed with Bails attitude and work ethic.
"Niki has done a great job in helping us with several areas we needed to upgrade. Catching is an area we needed to add depth to help us in practice and work with our pitchers. Not only has Niki displayed a great attitude and love for the game, but she has shown our staff she can play at this level. We are looking forward to watching her develop and get better as she sees the game at the collegiate level. Niki has a very strong arm and continues to get better as a receiver. She makes good contact and will only become a stronger hitter as she gets older and stronger from her work in the weight room," Lane said.
Bails is the daughter of Steve and Denise Bails of Plantation, Florida.
Heather Collins comes to Lipscomb from Montverde, Florida, where she attended Mt. Dora Christian School. Collins will play first base and also serve as one of the Lady Bison catchers.
Lane feels Collins can have an immediate impact on the Lipscomb softball program.
"Heather has done a terrfic job for us. She has worked hard on the softball field, but has been committed with her responsibilities in the classroom. Heather is such a kind individual and a pleasure to be around and respresents our program with a great deal of class. As a player, the sky is the limit on how good she will be. Defensively, Heather has a tremendous glove and as good skills at first base as we've seen. She is very very soild at first. At the plate we feel like she is going to have a terrfic year for us. We know there will be the ups and downs of adjusting to the college level, but Heather is well prepared for this. She has played at the highest level of travel ball and worked with some great coaches to prepare her to be successful. Heather has worked as hard as any player we have and think her hard work will show when we begin the season," Lane said.
Collins is the daughter of Roger and Sue Collins of Montverde, Florida.
Kim Jacobson comes to Lipscomb from Colton, California, where she played at Colton High School. Jacobson will serve as one the Lady Bison pitchers and could also see action at third base.
Lane will look to Jacobson to solidify the Lipscomb pitching staff.
"We are glad Kim is here at Lipscomb. Kim is tremendous athlete that will only get better the more she plays. In the time that Kim has been here we have seen her work to get better and make adjustments to show more success each time she pitches. It's tough at this level where up and down the entire line-up you see good hitters and you either learn and get better or you go backwards and we're seeing Kim get better as she gains experience. Kim has done a terrfic job at third and can cover a lot of ground, has great hands and a strong arm," Lane said.
Jacobson is the daughter of Doug and Arlene Jacobson of Colton, California.
Leight Little is from Brentwood, Tennessee, where she attended Brentwood Academy. Little will challenge for playing time in outfield and could also see action at second base.
Lane says Little is one of teams top athletes as a freshman.
"Each season you have players that surprise you with their play and Leigh has been absolutely outstanding. We all knew she had terrific speed, but her eye-hand cordination and bat speed are terrific. She has hit some shots leading up to our season. It is going to be tough to keep her off the field with the way she has played. Not only is she a terrific person with such an upbeat personality, but she also had the best semester in the classroom for our freshman class. Leigh is the type of player that has so much ability and once she sees first hand the collegiate level she will take her game to another level by the experiences of Division I softball. Leigh may be our best athlete and will only get better with time," Lane said.
Little is the daughter of Houston and Betty Little of Brentwood, Tennessee.
Kate Richards is from Fountain Valley, California, where she attended Fountain Valley High School. Richards will be counted on this season to play on the left side of the infield at both third base and shortstop.
Lane says Richards will be a key player for the Lady Bisons in 2005.
"Kate is a very solid player and will get a lot playing time this season. She will play third, shortstop and will be a key hitter in our line-up. Defensively she is very smooth with her glove and has a very very strong arm. Kate is another player who has played at a high level that will have no problem adjusting to the collegiate game. She is very solid at the plate and has a great eye for the ball. It's always nice to see Kate's great smile each day and we are glad she is at Lipscomb," said Lane.
Richards is the daughter of Phil and Sue Richards of Fountain Valley, California.
Shay Sullivan comes to Lipscomb from Mobile, Alabama, where she attended Faith Academy. Sullivan will challenge for playing time as an infielder and in the outfield.
Lane says Sullivan will see a great deal of action in 2005.
"Shay is a very solid player. She can play both outfield, the corners and is a terrific hitter that will only get better with playing time. She has been slowed after she injured her foot, but we are looking forward to her getting back and competing for playing time. A lot of time when you suffer an injury and your off the field for a while you can lose a player, but Shay has been in tune with what we are doing and is anxious to show what she can do. She is such a terrific person that we love having in our program and look for her to be a foundational player for our program," said Lane.
Sullivan is the daughter of Gerald and Judy Sullivan of Mobile, Alabama.
Allison Tyree is from Brentwood, Tennessee, where she attended Brentwood High School. Tyree will serve as one of the Lady Bison pitchers. .
Lane says Tyree will be a key member of the pitching staff after an outstanding fall season.
"One of the areas we wanted to increase our depth was our pitching staff and Allison has certainly filled that role. She had maybe the best fall of all our pitchers and we are excited to see how she will do this spring. Allison has deceptive speed and terrfic movement and keeps the ball in a place that gives our defense a chance to make plays. She has shown signs of being very effective at this level. She loves playing and is so well liked by her teammates. It is great to have Allison at Lipscomb," said Lane.
Tyree is the daughter of Ben and Susan Tyree of Brentwood, Tennessee.
Lane feels his 2005 freshman class will experience a great deal of success.
"We feel like this class can be a very special group. There is a tremendous amount of talent in this class, they each are terrific people that love playing softball and present different personalities to the team. It is going to be fun watching them improve as players mature as young ladies and reach for their goal of earning their degree. We already can see them maturing as people, as students and entering another phase in their lives. Our staff loves each of them for what they bring to the team," said Lane.