LIMA - Tracy Coffman has wasted little time in attracting attention to the University of Northwestern Ohio softball program. The Lady Racers, who will begin play in the 2013-14 athletic calendar, signed 10 players from around Ohio on Saturday.
The players introduced Saturday during the UNOH volleyball tri-match are Kristen Buck, Taylor Guggenbiller, Ellen Jones, Kayley Keller, Andi Lee, Camille Martin, Chelsea Miller, Dana Pike, Kati Sawmiller and Taylor Walls. They join current UNOH student Morgan Truxal, who was the first player signed in program history.
Buck is a right-handed pitcher and outfielder at McComb High School. She has won three letters in softball and two in basketball. A two-time All-Blanchard Valley Conference performer, she hit .382 with 28 runs scored as a junior, also going 13-8 with a 1.77 ERA and a school-record 213 strikeouts.
"Kristen is an excellent athlete who can do a lot of things well," Coffman said. "We are looking for Kristen to develop into a solid college pitcher and all-around player that can give us a lot of depth in our lineup."
Guggenbiller is already enrolled at UNOH, having completed a standout career at Fort Recovery High School. She led the prestigious Midwest Athletic Conference in batting average as a junior and senior, being named first-team All-MAC and first-team All-District during those two seasons.
As a senior, she batted .465 with 14 RBIs, 19 runs, seven doubles and eight stolen bases. She hit .581 as a junior with 12 doubles and 27 RBIs. She will play first base and catcher for the Lady Racers.
"Taylor is another kid that is here on campus training and working out," Coffman said. "She has a ton of potential to hit the ball a very long way. She provides us depth behind the plate and will be looked upon heavily to provide leadership to next year's freshman class."
Jones is entering her senior season at Clear Fork High School, but she has already won three varsity letters and two All-Ohio Capital Conference honors. As a junior, she went 17-8 with a 3.42 ERA and 94 strikeouts. Jones will pitch at UNOH.
"Ellen gives us a ton of versatility on the mound. She throws the ball hard and her spins make her very hard to hit," Coffman said. "She has received high level pitching instruction and has had an outstanding prep career. We are looking for big things from Ellen these next four years."
Keller will come to UNOH from Canfield High School in eastern Ohio. She is entering her senior season and is a three-year letterwinner. She has been selected as an All American Conference red tier all-conference performer twice. She led Canfield in RBIs as a sophomore and junior, and was the leading triple hitter and second-best home run hitter as a junior. She will be a centerfielder and third baseman at UNOH.
"Kayley does so many things well. She can hit from the left side for power, slap and bunt. She has solid speed and is a force in the outfield," Coffman said. "Kayley is a tremendous leader and has the personality and drive to move our team in the right direction from day one."
A senior at Indian Lake High School, Lee was named All-Central Buckeye Conference as a junior, hitting .384 with 28 RBIs and six homers. She will play catcher for the Lady Racers.
"Andi is a great kid with a strong desire to compete at the next level and we are excited to have her at UNOH," Coffman said. "She will give us depth behind the plate and will provide us with additional power in the lineup."
Martin is one of the most decorated players in the recruiting class. A standout entering her senior campaign at Lima Bath High School, she has been named first-team All-Western Buckeye League and All-District three times, honorable mention All-Ohio as a sophomore and first-team All-State as a junior. She's twice been tabbed as the WBL Offensive Player of the Year, and last year was the league's Player of the Year.
She already holds the school records for most extra-base hits and most home runs while sitting in the top-4 in most doubles, most hits, most stolen bases and batting average.
Martin his .515 with six homers, 26 RBIs, 44 runs scored and 30 stolen bases as junior, adding an 8-1 mark off the mound with a 1.98 ERA. Her sophomore numbers were .427 batting average, two homers, 13 RBIs, 29 runs and 14 steals with a 7-2 pitching record and 1.14 ERA. Her first high school season saw her hit .437 with three home runs, 35 RBIs, 28 runs and 10 stolen bases, going 11-4 with a 3.29 ERA.
Martin will play short stop and third base for the Lady Racers.
"We are ecstatic to have Camille choose UNOH," Coffman said. "When I was hired I talked about getting the best in our area, and Camille is one of the best. She can hit for power, is a force in the middle infield can pitch and play a corner. That type of versatility is rare and we see her having an outstanding career here at UNOH."
Miller appears to fill the role of marquee pitcher in this recruiting class. She was named Southwest Buckeye League Pitcher of the Year last season at Franklin High School in addition to first-team All-League, All-Metro honorable mention and All-Ohio honorable mention honors. She was named All-League and team MVP as a sophomore and junior. Last season, Miller went 16-5 with a 1.07 ERA, hitting .365 with six home runs, 36 RBIs and 18 runs.
Miller also excels in the classroom, named a Principal's Scholar-Athlete, a three-year academic letterwinner and a member of National Honor Society.
"Chelsea is the pitcher we were looking for as soon as the summer recruiting season began," Coffman said. "She has tremendous potential to lead our program from the circle. She throws hard, moves the ball well and has an incredible presence on the mound. We are ecstatic that Chelsea chose UNOH for her college career."
Pike is a senior at Lexington High School. She has won three letters in both softball and soccer while being named honorable mention All-Conference twice and honorable mention All-District as a junior. She hit .348 with 19 RBIs, 12 runs and 14 stolen bases with a .444 on-base percentage. Pike will play in the outfield for UNOH.
"Dana has tremendous speed and athletic ability," Coffman said. "She will fit very nicely with our short game and has the ability to run a lot of balls down in the outfield. Dana has a great attitude and will be a great leader on our team."
Another local product, Sawmiller is a senior at Wapakoneta High School. She has been named honorable mention All-WBL as a sophomore and junior. She batted .444 with 10 RBIs, 21 runs and six stolen bases during her junior year. She will play catcher at UNOH.
"Kati was our first 2013 commitment, and her excitement for UNOH and our softball program has been contagious," Coffman said. "She will give us depth behind the plate and has lot of potential for power at the plate."
Walls is a freshman at UNOH, majoring in Accounting. During her four years at Parkway High School, the Panthers won four straight MAC titles, including undefeated runs during her junior and senior years. They were district runners-up during her freshman and senior seasons.
She batted .495 with five home runs, 26 hits and 35 runs in her senior year on her way to being named first-team All-MAC, All-District and second-team All-Ohio. She scored 120 runs in her prep career. She is in the top-10 in school history for single season hits, career home runs, single season home runs, career batting average and single season batting average. She will be a middle infielder for the Lady Racers.
"Taylor is starting school this year and will have a head start in training with our other 2012 graduates," Coffman said. "We will look for Taylor and the others to provide much needed leadership next year. Taylor had an outstanding prep career in the middle infield and at the plate. She has solid speed and has been well coached."