Mangrum announces loaded class for 2008-09
Staci D'Apice signs her NLI to play for ETSU.
Staci D'Apice signs her NLI to play for ETSU.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 28, 2007) - Head ETSU softball coach Andrea Mangrum and her staff announced Wednesday morning that the Lady Bucs have signed six student-athletes for the 2008-09 recruiting class.

 

"This is the largest early period signing class in the history of the program and I directly attribute that to what the last two seasons have brought," said Mangrum, who looks to guide ETSU to its first conference title in school history in 2008. "The players in our program are committed to doing things right both on and off the field, which has attracted these six new additions to our program."

 

The 2008 recruiting class will help strengthen what Mangrum has all ready put into place during her first two seasons at ETSU. This class features a wide range of talent and well-rounded athletes, who can play multiple positions on the field and be asked to help the team in many ways. In addition, this class will also offer depth to the Lady Buccaneer bench, which will spark some competition in a few playing areas.

 

"We have six athletic young ladies joining us next year and that was our goal to add depth and strength to our line up," mentioned Mangrum. "The staff sought after young ladies who are versatile and bring a variety of strengths to the table because this in return makes our team stronger as a whole."

 

Below is a breakdown of the entire recruiting class in alphabetical order.

 

Amy Campbell (Hixson, Tenn.), a five-foot-two utility player, is a four-year letterwinner at Girls Preparatory School, which is one of the most prestigious schools in the state and has produced many Division I athletes. Campbell helped guide the Bruisers to a 30-6 mark and a 2007 State Championship where she primarily played catcher and infielder. The Hixson, Tenn. native was named Second Team Best of Preps from 2005-07, as well as All-State in 2005. Softball is not the only sport Campbell excels in, as she won the USA Girls Wrestling State Championship last year, and also lettered in volleyball and bowling throughout her high school career.

 

"When I first saw Amy she was a standout on the field, because she out-hustled everyone and was a great communicator/leader on the field," added Mangrum. "She defines athletic and brings speed, power, and a strong competitive attitude to our program. She was a highly recruited player in the state and another great grab for our future success."

 

Joining Campbell as a teammate in 2008-09 will be outfielder Staci D'Apice (Knoxville, Tenn.). D'Apice is a multi-talented athlete, lettering in both softball and volleyball at Halls High School. She has posted a .408 batting average, .932 fielding percentage, and a .425 on-base percentage while playing for the Red Devils. Baseball and softball run through the family bloodlines, as her father (Brian) played minor league ball for the Chicago Cubs and her sister (Nicole) plays at Chattanooga. The Knoxville native has also been teammates with current players Trisha Massenzo and Kaela Jackson.

 

"Staci is a quick, left-handed slapper that will bring a ton of speed to our line up and outfield," said Mangrum. "She has been playing select ball for one of the top teams in the state, and has been playing at the 18 and under level since she was just 15 years old."

 

Mangrum continued to stay in state with the signing of five-foot-four utility star Annie Martin (Centerville, Tenn.). Martin has posted a .428 batting average (89-208) with three homeruns and 49 RBI in her three years at Hickman County High School. While being a three-year letterwinner for the Bulldogs, Martin has also won numerous awards during her playing days. Martin was named District 11AAA Defensive MVP in 2006 and 2007, along with First Team All-District in 2005 as a shortstop.

 

"Annie is the type of athlete that just wants to be a team player and will do whatever it takes for the success of the team," added Mangrum. "She has great speed and is a solid hitter with good bat control. Every time she takes the field she will leave covered in dirt and sweat from head to toe, which is what impressed me the most."

 

The lone pitcher in this early signing class includes right-hander Shelby Morris (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) from Mt. Juliet High School. Like D'Apice, Morris is also a four-year letterwinner in softball and volleyball. In her first three seasons with the Bears, Morris has posted an impressive record of 51-13 in the circle, and helped lead her team to back-to-back appearances in the state championship. The Mt. Juliet native was named 2006 District 9AAA MVP and Team Co-MVP, as well as Second Team All-MTSCA. Not only does Morris excel on the field but she does the same in the classroom, by being named to the MTSCA All-Academic list this past year.

 

"Shelby pitches for one of the top high school programs in the state and also plays a very high level of select ball in the summer," said Mangrum. "She was a highly recruited player in the state and we feel blessed that she chose us as her future family. The sky is the limit for her success here if she continues to work hard and make adjustments while under the supervision of pitching coach Ariel Beus."

 

Chelsea O'Connor (Knoxville, Tenn.) marks the second recruit from the Rocky Top region to join the 2008 Lady Buccaneer recruiting class. O'Connor is a right-handed middle infielder from Christian Academy of Knoxville, where she lettered in softball, tennis and swimming. The Knoxville native has posted a .400 batting average during her time with the Warriors, including a season-best .557 clip in 2007. She has been named all-district from 2004-07, and 2007 First Team All-Conference, all-state, and all-prep. O'Connor is also a team leader as she has been the captain of her squad for the past two years.

 

"Chelsea has been a shortstop since she began playing softball at a young age," added Mangrum. "She has a great bat, good speed, and a strong arm in the infield. She has been around great instruction since she was young and her former high school coach has prepared her for the next level."

 

Rounding out the early signing class is yet another versatile player in five-foot-three utility star Lexie Whittenburg (Chattanooga, Tenn.). Whittenburg is a four-year letterwinner in softball at Ooltewah High School, which is the same school that produced current ETSU track phenom Mike Wright.  The Chattanooga native is the leading third baseman for the Owls, as she led 2007 area players in doubles and triples. Whittenburg and future ETSU teammate (Amy) Campbell play for the same select team.

 

"She can do a number of things on the field, but what I was attracted to the most was her attitude and outlook on life," mentioned Mangrum. "Lexie will be the type of player that will keep a smile on her face and positive words flowing out of her mouth. It means so much to a coach when players like this join your program because you know that what they have to offer goes far beyond what they can do on the field."

 

"This signing class brings far more to the table than you can see in stats," said Mangrum. "Their academic performance and future aspirations in life will be exciting for me to watch unfold over the next four years. I am honored to announce these six young ladies will be with us next year and look forward to building on the successes of each season we compete."

 

The current Lady Buccaneer softball program is gearing up for their 2008 season, which begins Saturday, Feb. 9 with a doubleheader at Furman. ETSU returns 10 letterwinners from last season, including three all-conference selections. Please visit www.ETSUBucs.com for more information on the Buccaneer softball program and all other ETSU athletic news. 

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