Dakota State University Head Softball Coach Ken Prorok announced Monday afternoon the signing of 12 players to the 2011 recruiting class. This class will consist of eight freshmen, three junior college transfers, and one returning senior.
The freshman class includes Chelsea Moody (SD), Dakota VanDeGarde (IA), Kendra Knudson (SD), Natasha Fritz (SD), Chelsea Kruse (SD), Brittany Tebbe (SD), Kristin Miller (SD), and Lindsey Rook (SD).
Makanani Scarlett (IA), Alisa Balesteri (CA), and Ashly Erickson (MN) are the three junior college transfers.
Sarah Jones a member of the 2009 team will return for her senior year.
Moody, a native of Mitchell, SD will be majoring in Elementary Education. As a senior, Moody hit .378 and was recognized as an all-state selection as a first baseman. â€œChelsea has a great understanding of how to play the game and has been working with an acceleration program since signing with us. I expect great things from Chelsea during her careerâ€ added coach Prorok.
VandeGarde, a native of Sibley, IA will be majoring in Exercise Science, while attending DSU. VandeGarde is a right-handed outfielder who stole 15 bases in 16 attempts as a junior. â€œDakota possesses great athleticism. I am excited about working with her during the next four years as she continues to build on her understanding of the game.â€
Knudson, hails from Platte, SD and will major in Education. Kendra is another of the very gifted athletes that comprises the 2011 recruiting class. She was named to numerous all-conference teams. â€œKendra has great potential, I love her natural ability. She will come in as a true utility player for us working as both an outfielder and an infielder.â€
Fritz, a switch hitting middle-infielder is a native of Hazel, SD and will focus her studies towards a Pre-med degree while attending DSU. Natasha was a member of the State Champion Watertown Arrows. â€œNatasha is a relatively â€œyoungâ€ player in terms of her experience but she has shown great improvement at the plate over the past two seasons and possesses great speed.â€
Kruse, another South Dakota product hails from White, SD. Chelsea will be majoring in English-Education while attending Dakota State University. â€œChelsea is a well-rounded student-athlete who we expect to utilize behind the plate. I also look forward to watching Chelsea develop as a player during her career.â€
Tebbe, hails from nearby Colton, SD and will be majoring in Exercise Science will attending classes at DSU. Brittany hit .423 and stole 18 bases her senior year in addition to leading her team in Innings pitched, wins, strikeouts and ERA. â€œI have had the opportunity to watch Brittany over the past couple of years and have been truly impressed with the way she goes about her business; she is another solid addition to this recruiting classâ€.
Miller, is a native of Mitchell, SD and will also be majoring in Exercise Science. Kristin is a 5'10â€ pitcher who hit .469; while striking out 157 batters en route to a 19-9 record her senior year. â€œKristin has good control in the circle and is a â€œlong-leveredâ€ pitcher who can also play a variety of positions. I am excited to see how Kristin makes the move to the college game.â€
Rook, a native of Madison, SD joins the Trojans in 2011 after a highly decorated track career. Lindsay will be majoring in Health Information Management while at DSU. â€œLindsay is a state champion sprinter, who will join us this upcoming season as a pinch-runner. Having speed like hers is something most coaches wish for!â€
Scarlett, a junior college transfer from Ellsworth CC (IA) is a native of Des Moines, IA. Makanani will be an education major while at DSU. Makanani was a career .349 hitter for the Panthers while anchoring down the job at shortstop. â€œMak has a great arm and a solid stick. She turned down a D-I opportunity to come play for us. I expect great things for Mak as a middle-infielder or as a DP for us during the next two seasons.â€
Balesteri is a junior college transfer from Monterrey Peninsula CC (CA) and is a native of Seaside, CA. While at DSU, Alisa will be majoring in Education. Alisa went 5-4 for the Lobos while posting an ERA of 1.82 in 61 innings of work while allowing just 6 walks. She also hit .262 while driving in 10 runs and stealing 8 bases. â€œAlisa has great control of her pitches and mixes speeds well. I am excited to see her compete for the DSU Trojans this season.â€
Erickson is a junior college transfer from Central Lakes CC (MN) and is a native of Little Falls, MN. Ashly will focus on earning a degree from the College of Education while at DSU. Ashly went 25-14 this past season pitching 239 innings. In addition to her work in the circle, Ashly is a career .396 hitter recording 36 doubles while driving in 83 runs. â€œAshly is a true workhorse who can hit for herself as well. She will be an asset to our pitching staff this next season.â€
Jones returns to the Trojans after taking a year off to focus on her studies. Sarah saw limited action in 2009. During this time however, she gained a true understanding of the program. â€œI am very pleased that Sarah is returning to the program for her senior year. Sarah is very coachable and possess great speed. I expect her to be a contributor to our program either as a pinch-runner or as a spot starter in the outfield.â€
When asked about this year's recruiting class, Prorok had this to offer: â€œI am truly excited about this class! We have brought in a group of student-athletes that, combined with the players that our currently in our program, will allow us to take a giant leap forward in the direction of the program. When I look at our roster for the 2011 season, I see depth and athleticism at every position. During my five years with the softball program, we have had some tremendous athletes but we have never had the quality depth that we will have this season.â€
Prorok did note that the Trojans are awaiting two more junior college commitments and are scheduled to have another prospect on campus mid-July.
The Trojans will begin fall practices on September 1st.