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Softball Signs Eight for 2013

Lawson hauls in eight heralded players from across the country


LEXINGTON, Ky. –  After racking up the best season in school history in 2011, UK softball coach Rachel Lawson has inked a heralded class of eight highly-touted athletes from across the country for the 2013 season.
The Wildcats have signed Katie Henderson (Hixscon, Tenn.), Kelsey Nunley (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.), Darington Richardson (Duluth, Ga.), Nikki Sagermann (Budford, Ga.), Sylver Samuel (Simpsonville, S.C.), Ansley Smith (Newnan, Ga.), Maisie Steed (Powder Springs, Ga.) and Christian Stokes (Chesterfield, S.C.).
“The 2013 class is arguably the most balanced class to ever sign with Kentucky softball,” Lawson said.  “Collectively, the class has speed and power and can dominant in the circle. And without question, the athletes in this class love being on the ball field and they know how to win.”
Henderson is a pitcher who has led the city of Chattanooga in strikeouts during her prep career. She has earned All-District Tournament team honors three times in her career and also been tabbed the Defensive Player of the Year in her high school career. Also a terrific student, Henderson is an honor roll student who has also been inducted into the National Honor Society as well as Mu Alpha Theta which is a mathematics honor society.
“Katie adds the depth needed to compete against the great hitters in the SEC,” Lawson said. “She is a strong pitcher who loves to challenge batters.”
Nunley is a dual-threat with talented abilities as both a pitcher and an infielder. Nunley is a two-time All-State performer and has been tabbed the Chattanooga City Player of the Year twice. The dynamic athlete has also captured nine state titles and three national championships with her club team. An honor roll student and a member of the National Honor Society, Nunley is also involved with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
“Kelsey is one of the most complete athletes to sign with the Wildcats,” Lawson said. “A three sport athlete in high school, Nunley not only knows how to dominate in the circle but can also provide power in the heart of the lineup.”
Richardson is an outfielder who has twice been tabbed the All-Region utility Player of the Year. Richardson has played in multiple positions throughout her prep career. As a junior, she was named the All-Region Offensive Player of the Year, while also seeing action in the pitching circle.
“Darington has all of the tools necessary to become a great outfielder in the SEC,” Lawson said. “She has both speed and power.  When Dari adjusts to the speed of the SEC, she has the ability to develop into one of the toughest outs in the conference.”
Sagermann is an infielder who has three-time All-State performer and a Georgia state champion during her high school career. She has been named the Offensive Player of the Year twice and became the first player in her school history to pitch a perfect game and connect for a home run in the same outing. She has been nominated as the Gatorade State Player of the Year which will be announced later this fall.
“Nikki is one of the best power hitters in the country,” Lawson said. “She not only is incredibly strong, but she has the innate ability to hit many different pitches in all zones. The best part about Sagermann is her competitive nature and her knack for performing at the highest level in all types of pressure situations.”
Samuel is an outfielder who charted a 22-game hitting streak in her high school career. She is a two-time All-State performer and a three-time All-Region team member. She has already achieved a record for most career stolen bases and boats a near .500 batting average.
“Sylver is arguably one of the fastest athletes in the country,” Lawson said. “In the outfield, Sylver has great range and a strong arm.  A natural lefty, Sylver has power and a great short game which creates match-up issues for any defense.”
Smith was the most valuable player for her high school state champion squad as a dynamic shortstop. She has been named an All-County team performer in all four seasons of action and twice has been tabbed the All-County Player of the Year. She is also a member of the Beta Club and the Student Alliance for Green Earth (SAGE).
“Ansley is one of the most dynamic infielders in the country,” Lawson said. “A great shortstop, I have no doubt Ansley has the game sense required to play any position in the field at an elite level.  Offensively, Ansley is strong has good speed, and is an outstanding base runner.”
Steed is an athlete who can play in either the outfield or the infield. She is an All-State performer and a Wendy’s High School Heisman School winner. She has set career records for hits, stolen bases, runs scored and doubles. Also an excellent student, she was named the math student of the year in back-to-back years as well as the Sophomore of the Year in 2010.
“Maisie has the ability and desire needed to develop into a dominant player within the SEC,” Lawson said. “Our first pure switch hitter, Maisie has the ability to generate runs many different ways.  Defensively, Steed has great speed, a strong arm and can play any position on the field.”  
Stokes is a two-sport star in volleyball and softball. She has signed to play infield for the Wildcats after lettering for six seasons and capturing two state titles. Stokes is an All-State performer and has twice been named the All-Region Player of the Year.  She is also an exceptional student who ranks in the top-five of her graduating class.
“Christian is undoubtedly one of the most exciting defensive shortstops in the country,” Lawson said. “She has tremendous range and arm strength second to none.   Christian has a keen sense of the game and already understands the value of fielding every ball that is hit up the middle and towards the left side of the field.”



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