MITCHELL, S.D. – Following a strong start in the Tucson Invitational, DWU softball Head Coach Ed Kieff is excited to announce the 2017 recruiting class.
The class includes five players from South Dakota, three from Nebraska and one California and one from Wyoming.
Abby Jones, 5-7, OF, North Platte High School
Jones helped the Bulldogs to a District Championship in 2015 and 2016. She had a batting average of .340. She played club softball for the Team Sensations and Bandits.
"Abby will add much needed depth to the team with speed and a great background coming from a high school and summer program that is one of the top in Nebraska," Kieff said. "We are excited to have Abby as a Tiger Softball player this coming fall!"
Kessler finished with a .364 batting average and a .970 percent fielding percentage. She earned First Team All-State honors in 2016 and won the Golden Glove Outfield team award. Kessler played for the Madison Bulldogs for three seasons and the Blasters club team in 2016. Kessler is another player who will add depth to the program.
"A multi-award winning player out of Madison S.D., who we are looking forward to having on the squad this fall."
Farris comes to the Tigers with experience pitching for the Cheyenne Central High School team as well as the Cheyenne Extreme, Colorado Outlaws and the USSSA Pride. She was a four-year academic letter recipient and was named to the honor roll all four years.
"Devany is a solid right-handed pitcher who is excited about the challenge of coming to DWU and playing softball. She is a great student in the classroom and we are looking forward to having Devany on the squad this fall."
Gabel stays a Tiger as she comes to DWU from Harrisburg, S.D., where she led the Tigers to a state runner-up in 2016. She finished with five home runs, 34 RBIs and a batting average of .364 in her senior season. In 2014, she was named varsity defensive MVP. Gabel was named varsity MVP, First Team All-State and received the Teammate Award in 2015. In 2016 she was named to the ESD All-Tournament Team and First Team All-State. She played club ball for the Diamonds X-treme and Dakota Fury. Gabel was a five-year letterwinner for the Harrisburg Tigers.
"I've watched Steph play fastpitch for a long time and could not be more excited to have her coming to DWU! Steph is an all-around player with a strong bat and a general on the field. She knows the game and plays at another level with her teammates. She has been awarded multiple MVP's over the years and I can't wait to see her on the field for us next fall!"
Alyson VanderPol, 5-6, Pitcher, Mitchell Christian High School
VanderPol stays in Mitchell as she comes from Mitchell Christian High as a two-year starter for the Mitchell Kernel Softball Team. She played for the South Dakota Select and South Dakota Stomp in club softball.
"Alyson is one of two left-handed pitchers in this recruiting class. We are excited to have Alyson obviously as a Mitchell athlete and one who comes to DWU ready to step in and play a role in the success of the team right away."
Donis was a four-year leader for the Clovis Rockets in batting average (.351), on base percentage (.414) and fielding percentage (.958). She led the league in fielding percentage and was second in the league in batting average. Donis helped the Rockets win three tournaments, finish in the top three in nine of 12 tournaments and compete in 22 showcase events in the last three and a half years. She was named Team MVP and received an All-League Selection. Donis was also named her high school's Top School Female Athlete. She earned multiple club tournament MVP awards.
"We are lucky to have signed Julie. In the two years we recruited her she was sought after by a lot of teams. We are fortunate to have her with us. She plays infield mostly at second with a vast knowledge of the game and ready to step on the field and help out immediately."
Sherwood led the Silverhawks to a JV City Championship in 2015. She played club softball for the Lady Dominators in 2013 and the Nebraska Swingers from 2014-16 where she struck out once in 176 plate appearances. At shortstop she had a .882 fielding percentage. For the Swingers, Sherwood also had 43 runs scored off 56 hits, 34 RBIs, 11 stolen bases and a .354 batting average. She was the recipient of an Athletic Scholar Award her first three years of high school.
"Another player with multiple accolades, Rachel will add depth on the infield. Her summer ball background is extensive and she has played a huge role in the success of many of her teams. She is also a great student in the classroom."
Kelley joins the Tiger softball program from Omaha, Neb., where she was a four-year letterwinner and starter. Kelley tallied a .485 batting average with 27 RBIs in 26 games. She was named to the Nebraska All-State Honorable Mention and Metro Conference Team. She was also a member of the Principal's Honor Roll at Burke for seven semesters. Kelley played club softball for the Omaha Mystix.
"Our very first softball recruit out of Omaha and we excited to have her. Julia will add depth to our catcher position and another bat in the line-up that will consistently produce. She has a large amount of knowledge of the game and will fit in well with the team this fall!"
Harder joins the Tiger softball program from Dakota Valley High School where she lettered in softball four times. She played first base and pitched in high school and ended her career with a 3.2 ERA and .370 batting average. Harder played club softball for SD Gold, SD Smash and the Iowa Sundevils. She was also a member of the volleyball team at Dakota Valley and a member of HOSA, band, National Honor Society and was the editor of the yearbook.
"Brooke is another left-handed pitcher we are looking forward to having this fall. She has been on our radar for a couple of years and we are excited to have her at DWU."
Ashton is from Tea, S.D., and attended Tea Area High School. More information will be available on Oakland at a later date.