NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Lipscomb University softball team has picked up five commitments for the 2013 season, head coach Kristin Ryman announced Thursday.
The Lady Bisons, intent on adding depth at key spots all over the field, were rewarded with three outfielders, a pitcher and a catcher.
“We are extremely excited about this class,” said Lipscomb head coach Kristin Ryman. “(Assistant Coach) Lexi Myers and I have worked very hard to put together a class we feel can come in and have a big impact right away.”
Three signees were in-state recruits. Outfielders Heather Montgomery (Hendersonville, Tenn./Beech HS) and Brittany Elmore (Mt. Juliet, Tenn./Goodpasture Christian School) are top-of-the-order talents who can get on and steal bases for the Lady Bisons.
Montgomery led her school to the 2011 TSSAA state championship, hitting a game-winning walk-off home run to clinch the title. She was a Tennessean Top-10 Player to Watch in 2011 after hitting .376 with 56 steals in 2010.
“Heather is a big base-stealing threat,” Ryman said. “She can get on in a variety of ways and covers a lot of ground in the outfield. She’s smart and plays with a unique swagger that will allow her to compete right away.”
Elmore was also part of a 2011 state title squad at Goodpasture. She was an all-tournament selection after getting a tournament-record five base hits in a single game. She can also provide quality defense in the middle infield as needed.
“(Elmore) is a girl that epitomizes the word ‘student athlete,’” Ryman said. “On the field, she goes all-out and is absolutely fearless. She is a great person with a contagious personality who will make our program better.”
The third Tennessee athlete is pitcher Tanner Sanders. A Flintville native, Tanner has been a three-time All-District 8-AAA pitcher and was District Pitcher of the Year in 2010 for Lincoln County High School. A left-handed bat, Sanders can also play multiple spots around the diamond.
“One of the first things everybody will notice about Tanner is her demeanor on the mound,” Ryman said. “She pitches with a confidence that is hard to teach. She’s a hard thrower who works the zone and has outstanding movement. We believe she is one of the best pitchers in the Southeast.”
Outside the borders Lipscomb picked up two more commitments: outfielder Dee Baddley from Olive Branch, Miss. and infielder Micaela Bell from Clark’s Hill, S.C.
Baddley, a 2011 Best of Prep’s All-Metro team selection by the Memphis Commercial-Appeal, has been a starter for the Lewisburg High School softball team since she was in seventh grade. She has been named all-district as an outfielder each of the past three seasons.
“Dee is a speedy slap-hitter who will add depth to the outfield,” Ryman said. “She carries herself like a champion and plays with a passion that is hard to describe. She will challenge everyone on the field to get better.”
Bell has starred for Fox Creek High School in volleyball, basketball and softball, but sets herself apart on the diamond. A career .619 hitter, she is a three-time All-State player and plays travel ball for the Atlanta Vipers, finishing in the top five at ASA Nationals each year since 2009. She will play catcher and fill in at third base for Lipscomb.
“Mickey is a steady catcher we believe can have an immediate impact,” Ryman said. “Offensively, she’s a strong, natural hitter who will be able to drive in runs as a middle-of-the-order bat. On defense, she controls the game behind the plate and is a confident leader.”
This is a pivotal class for the Lady Bisons, who will lose seniors Whitney Kiihnl, Mollie Mitchell and Caroline Mason following the 2012 season.
“We tried to address our specific needs,” Ryman said. “We believe this class will perform well early in their careers. They will fit in well to our system and we are excited to welcome their families into ours.”
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