Mendez joins Tiger softball program

Vanessa Mendez from DWU.

Vanessa Mendez

MITCHELL, S.D. – Dakota Wesleyan University softball coach Ed Kieff brought his 2013 recruiting total up to 11 athletes this week when he announced the signing of Vanessa Mendez.

Mendez, a third baseman from Monterey Park, Calif., will join the Tiger infield starting in the 2013 season. She earned four varsity letters and was a four-year starter at Mark Keppel High School in Alhambra, Calif. The 5-foot-4 Mendez batted over .500 as a senior and was selected to play in the San Gabriel Valley All-Star game.

Mendez earned all-league honors at third base in each of her four seasons with the Aztecs. She also lettered twice in soccer and once in volleyball. She plans to major in nursing at Dakota Wesleyan.

“Vanessa brings power and speed to our roster,” said Kieff, who enters his second season with the Tigers in 2012-13. “She will play infield and has the ability to play effectively in the outfield. Her instincts on the bases are amazing and she is fearless going in for that extra base.”

Mendez is Kieff’s fifth recruit from California to sign with Dakota Wesleyan for next season. She joins Meghan Bovee (OF, San Diego); Alex Davis (INF, Chula Vista); Brianna Onstad (P, Sacramento) and Lindy Snook (UTL, Temecula). Brooklyn Bair (UTL, Martin, S.D.); Jill Dickson (P, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada); Laura Erickson (INF/OF, Sioux Falls, S.D.); Cassie Fink (SS/UTL, Norfolk, Neb.); Kelsey Newman (C/UTL, Columbus, Neb.) and Hailey Unger (C, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) have also signed to play with the Tigers next season.

Dakota Wesleyan went 17-30 overall and 10-10 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference in 2012 and made the league’s postseason tournament for the first time since 2007 and just the second time in the program’s history. The Tigers lost five seniors to graduation in May.