Coach Ward Signs Nine to Play in '09

The Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) softball team has signed nine players to their 2009 recruiting class, head coach Eddie Ward announced today.

"All of these ladies have a very good chance of coming in and being impact players as freshmen," Ward said, whose program heads into its third season of NCAA Division II play.  "This recruiting class definitely helps us close the talent gap that we have experienced since entering the Peach Belt." 

Ward found plenty of talent in the Peach State.  This year's entire class comes from Georgia. 

"This recruiting class is definitely the most talented group that GSW has had in a long time," Ward said. 

The signees are: Gabby Buck (Fairburn), Heather Denny (Gainesville), Anna Dankewich (Cumming), Jessica Martin (Canton), Katie Wooten (Monroe), Jessica Harris (Buena Vista), Brooke McLemore (Fortson), Rachel Thomas (Carrollton) and K.T. Tolbert (Jefferson). 

Gabby Buck, a catcher/utility player, attended LaGrange Academy and led the Warriors to three consecutive trips to the GISA state championships, winning the title in 2006 & 2007.

"Gabby is an excellent hitter with very quick hands and a short compact swing and generates a lot of power," Ward said.

North Forsyth High School produced a pair of Lady Hurricane signees in catcher/outfielder Heather Denny (Gainesville) and catcher/outfielder Anna Dankewich (Cumming). 

"Heather is an excellent outfielder with and above average arm.  She is your definitive power hitter," Ward said.  "Anna is a very strong defensive outfielder with above average speed and a very strong hitter."

Pitcher Jessica Martin comes to GSW from Woodstock High School.

"Jessica is a very strong left-handed pitcher," Ward said.  "She has command of her pitches and she has an extremely wicked screw ball."

Infielder Katie Wooten is a graduate of Monroe Area High School.

"Plans are for her to play either third base or shortstop," Ward said.  "Katie will be an impact player her freshman year."

Jessica Harris joins her older sister Ashley on the Lady ‘Canes roster.  Jessica was a pitcher at Tri-County High School and played travel ball in Columbus for the Challengers. 

Brooke McLemore will play first base for GSW after completing her career at Harris County High School.

"Brooke will challenge for a starting position," Ward said.  "She possesses a very strong bat and she also excels defensively."

Second baseman/pitcher Rachel Thomas is an alumna of Central Carrollton High School.

"Rachel is a fireball with a lot of speed and very aggressive play," Ward said.  "She will keep everyone up with her attitude.  She also has a very nasty change-up where she has pitched with her travel teams."

K.T. Tolbert was a standout pitcher at Jefferson High School.

"K.T. has very good control and hits her spots with regularity," Ward said.  "K.T. has competed at a very high level in travel ball and should improve the pitching at GSW."

The Lady Hurricanes finished the 2008 season 19-29, an eight win improvement from 2007, and doubled their Peach Belt Conference victory total from two to four while moving up one position in the final standings.

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