Ward signs seven players for GSW softball

Georgia Southwestern State University head softball coach Eddie Ward today announced the signing of seven players for the 2009-10 academic year. Added to the roster are junior college transfers Robyn Butler, Lyndi Duff, Heather Hodge and Katie Mueller, along with NAIA transfer Anna Oswald and freshmen Cayla Smith and Megan Wilkinson.

"Last year our recruiting class consisted of eight new freshmen," said Ward. "They all saw action in 2009 and gained valuable experience. The 2010 recruiting class also brings in youthful enthusiasm, as well as a wealth of top notch transfers.

"The 2010 Lady 'Canes will have depth at all positions."

Butler, an infielder/catcher from Evans, Ga., played the last two seasons at Gulf Coast Community College (Fla.). She batted .303 for the Lady Commodores in 2009, appeared in 37 games, was second on the team in walks and third in on-base percentage. Butler graduated from Green Briar High School.

"Robyn is a really strong power hitter with great defensive skills," said Ward.

Duff will be a sophomore in 2009-10 transferring to GSW after one year at Chattahoochee Valley Community College (Ala.).  Last season for the Lady Pirates, she played in 41 games, hit .438 with a .786 slugging percentage, led the team with 18 doubles and tied for the team lead with seven home runs. The Box Springs, Ga. native completed her prep career at Harris County High School.

"Lyndi is a power hitting shortstop who will be a threat in the middle of our lineup," said Ward.

Hodge, a second baseman from Covington, Ga. is transferring from Georgia Perimeter College. She was a 2008 Georgia Junior College All-Region selection. Last year Hodge hit .368 for the Lady Jaguars with 11 doubles. The Eastside High School standout was a 2004 GHSA 1st Team All-Region selection, a 2005 GHSA Honorable Mention and a 2006 All-Newton County honoree.

"Heather is a very strong defensive player with an above average bat," Ward said.

Mueller transfers to GSW from Central Florida Community College. The Tallahassee, Fla. native posted a 2.26 earned run average for the Lady Patriots last spring. She appeared in 32 games and recorded 47 strikeouts.

"Katie is a very smart pitcher with a lot of off-speed options that keep hitters off-stride," Ward said.

Oswald, another sophomore transfer, will play first base for the Lady Hurricanes. She played in 43 games during her freshman season at Reinhardt College and was second on the team in home runs. Oswald, a Canton, Ga. native, played her prep ball at Sequoyah High School.

"In addition to being a power hitter, Anna will provide defensive stability at first," said Ward.

Smith, an outfielder from Carrollton, Ga., comes to GSW straight out of Central Carrollton High School (Ga.).

"Cayla brings speed and a strong arm," said Ward.  

Wilkinson, an outfielder from Columbus, Ga., graduated from Columbus High School.

"Megan will be a true student-athlete," Ward said. "She is very intelligent and possesses a very high level of athletic skills."

With this recruiting class, the Lady Hurricanes look to build upon their 2009 late season success when they won the first NCAA Division II postseason game in school history - an opening round victory in the Peach Belt Conference tournament.