Aug. 18, 2006

RSU Hillcat Softball Team Announces Fall Schedule

The Rogers State University Hillcat softball team looks to build on last year's successful inaugural season with a mix of new recruits and returning players.

Last year's team finished with a 29-17 record and late in the season were nationally ranked among the top 30 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) teams in winning percentage. The team tallied a .281 team batting average for the season.

Hillcat softball head coach Dawn Reed is excited about the prospects for this year's team, which returns the core of its starting players and adds some of the state's top recruits.

"Our women have the talent and capability to play competitively with some of the best teams in the NAIA, and I believe we are building the foundation for greatness here at RSU," Reed said.

To prepare for the upcoming spring season, the softball team will play a very competitive set of scrimmages this fall, including several games against Division I schools and the Hillcats' first home date at the new on-campus softball field located on Blue Starr Road on the Claremore campus.

"Our softball facility is among the best in the state, especially when compared with other NAIA schools," she said. "The softball field and locker room facilities have impressed our parents, players and prospective recruits. Construction of these facilities has definitely enhanced our program's reputation and allowed RSU to attract top student-athletes."

The fall dates include the Sept. 9 RSU Fall Festival at the RSU softball field. The festival opens with a 9 a.m. game against Oklahoma Wesleyan University, a 10:45 a.m. game against Carl Albert State College, and a 5:45 p.m. game against Crowder College.

On Sept. 16, the team travels to play Emporia (Kan.) State University with the game time to be announced. On Sept. 23, the team will travel to Tulsa to play the University of Tulsa at 11:00 a.m. and Seminole State College at 1:00 p.m.

On Sept. 30, the Hillcats will participate in the University of Arkansas Fall Invitational at Fayetteville. The team is scheduled to play Oklahoma Baptist University at 11:00 a.m., Carl Albert State College at 3 p.m. and wrap up against the host Arkansas Razorbacks at 7 p.m.

The softball team will conclude its fall schedule with an Oct. 4 doubleheader against Oklahoma State University at Stillwater starting at 5 p.m.

Reed is expecting the high level of fall competition to set the groundwork for a successful spring and a strong opportunity for post-season play. As a first-year member of the NAIA in 2005-06, RSU was ineligible for post-season play last season.

New signees to the softball program this fall include:

Kelly Dunagan, pitcher, freshman, Collinsville. Dunagan lead the Cardinals to a Class 4A State Championship during her senior season while compiling four regional titles and four state tournament appearances during her career. She had a high school career record of 114-28 with 1,256 strike outs. Her career ERA was an impressive 0.25 with 85 shutouts, and her senior season batting average was .408.

Taylor Whisenhunt, freshman, short stop, Collinsville.  Also a key member of the Cardinals' championship squad during her senior season, Whisenhunt batted .377 with five home runs, 25 extra base hits and 28 RBIs with a fielding percentage of .945.

Sydni Jones, freshman, short stop, Enid. A natural athlete, Jones led Enid High School to their first-ever Class 6A state tournament appearance in 2005. Jones hit .304 as a senior, with three home runs and 18 RBIs. 

Kacy Ward, junior, outfielder, Tulsa Memorial High School, Seminole State College. A junior college transfer from an well-regarded program, Ward brings maturity and experience to the Hillcats. As a freshman for the Lady Trojans, she helped lead the team to an overall record of 51-18 during 2005. She batted .314 with 29 RBIs.

Stephanie Egger, freshman, pitcher, Pawhuska. "Stephanie is a huge signee for the RSU softball program," Reed said. "Stephanie will bring experience to the circle, and I anticipate that she will be a great leader on the field." Egger was recruited by several quality programs, including Oklahoma City University. 

Randi Tyler, sophomore, utility player, Depew, Seminole State College. Tyler played one junior college season before transferring to RSU this fall. "She brings strength to the lineup with her offensive skills and is expected to add depth to the program," Reed said.

Jessica Meyer, freshman, utility player, Tulsa Edison High School. Meyer brings defensive skills, athleticism and a strong arm to the Hillcats. A versatile player, Meyer played on the competitive travel team, Mavericks Gold.

Trisha and Belinda Steward, both freshmen from Salina, will be joining the RSU softball program as walk-ons. Trisha plays outfielder, while Belinda is an infielder. Both players display tremendous work ethic and a true love for the game, Reed said.

Returning players include:

Megan Wood, sophomore, outfield/catcher, Claremore. Wood hit .385 last season with 21 double, which ranker her No. 6 in NAIA for doubles per game in 2006.

Denise Garcia, senior, utility player, Tulsa and Seminole State College. Last season, Garcia hit .366 with 55 RBIs, which ranked her No. 8 among all NAIA players for RBIs per game in 2006.

Jenny Ailshie, second base, senior, Claremore, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College.

Somer Dykes, catcher, senior, Tulsa, Eastern Oklahoma State College.

Bridget Stewart, first base, senior, Owasso, Eastern Oklahoma State College

Krista Schlumpberger, catcher/outfielder, sophomore, Vacaville, Calif.

The Hillcats softball team is coached by Reed with assistant coaches Jenny Magill and Bianca Oakley.

For more information on RSU Hillcat softball, call (918) 343-7782.