The Rogers State University Hillcat softball program has signed four student athletes during the early signing period.
Head softball coach Dawn Reed announced the following players will join the Hillcats this fall: pitcher Kelly Dunagan and shortstop Taylor Whisenhunt, both from Collinsville, shortstop Sydni Jones of Enid and outfielder Kacy Ward of Tulsa.
“I believe it’s a solid class, and these four student athletes are considered to be some of the top recruits in the state,” Reed said. “I feel they are a great fit for the program and each will provide significant contributions to our future success. With a solid core established in our first year, these additions will bring some much needed depth to our program in year two.”
The spring season marks the first full slate of games for the Hillcat softball program since RSU was accepted into the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) during the fall.
Pitcher Kelly Dunagan led the Collinsville 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 has a high school career record of 114-28 with 983 innings pitched and 1256 strike outs. Her career ERA is an impressive 0.25 with 85 shutouts and her senior season batting average was .408. Dunagan capped off her high school career with All-State honors, Conference Pitcher of the Year, First-Team All Region and First-Team All Metro.
Joining Dunagan as a future Hillcat is high school teammate Taylor Whisenhunt. Whisenhunt also contributed to the extensive success the Cardinals had in 2005 through her substantial offensive and defensive skills. As a senior, Whisenhunt batted .377 with five home runs, 25 extra base hits and 28 RBIs with a fielding percentage of .945. As a senior, Whisenhunt earned All-State honors, All-Conference Offensive Player of the Year, First-Team All Region and First-Team All Metro.
Sydni Jones will be added to the RSU softball roster as well. Jones, a 5’10” natural athlete, will provide versatility as well as stamina to the lineup. 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.
The lone outfielder of the 2006 class, Kacy Ward, is a 2004 graduate of Tulsa Memorial High School and currently plays for the Seminole State College softball program. Ward will transfer into RSU with maturity and experience from the highly regarded junior college softball program. During high school, Ward was honored with a Class 6A All-State, All-Conference Player of the Year and All Region recognitions. 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. Her arm strength and quickness in the outfield will benefit RSU’s defense tremendously, Reed said.
The RSU Hillcat softball team begins at home on Thursday, Feb. 9, against Arkansas Tech University at Claremore High School. For a listing of the softball team’s full spring schedule, visit www.rsuhillcats.com or call (918) 343-7782 for more information.