Lincoln - Seven talented high school players signed National Letters of Intent to play softball at Nebraska next season, Head Coach Rhonda Revelle announced on Friday.
The incoming class of recruits fills a variety of needs for the Huskers, as the signees include one catcher, one outfielder, two pitchers and three infielders. Included in the talented class are two state players of the year (Nebraska and Oregon), one two-time high school All-American and one U.S. Junior National Team tryout invitee.
The class includes one in-state player, one Arizona native, one Kansas native, one Oregon native and three California natives. One recruit has already completed her high school softball career, while the other six will end their careers this spring.
The incoming players will have big shoes to fill, as Nebraska loses six seniors to graduation, including two of its three pitchers, three returning starters, three all-conference performers, two all-region selections and two CoSIDA Academic All-Americans.
The class will be expected to contribute immediately and that's something the group is more than capable of doing, according to Revelle.
"The 2012 class is an offensively explosive group with power, speed and the ability hit for average. They all have storied histories of their offensive prowess. In addition to the offensive punch they have, they also handle the leather well behind the plate, on the dirt and in the grass.
"Pitching also highlights this class, as the Huskers are bringing in two pitchers in the same class for the first time in the last several years. Both pitchers are battle-tested and have had success against many of the nation's elite club programs.
"This is an outstanding group of student-athletes whom we are confident will wear the scarlet and cream with dignity, pride and class."
2011 Nebraska Softball Signing Class
Alicia Armstrong, INF/OF, Beatrice, Neb., Beatrice HS/Nebraska Gold
Danica Bishop, RHP, Irvine, Calif., Woodbridge HS/Firecrackers-Snyder
Hailey Decker, INF, Keizer, Ore., McNary HS/Northwest Bullets
Emily Lockman, RHP, Corona, Calif., Norco HS/Corona Angels
Sammi Noland, C/INF, Tucson, Ariz., Canyon del Oro HS/AZ Desert Thunder
Kiki Stokes, OF, Olathe, Kan., Olathe East HS/DeMarini Zephyrs
Dawna Tyson, INF, Corona, Calif., Corona HS/Corona Angels
Alicia Armstrong, INF/OF, Beatrice, Neb. (Beatrice HS/Nebraska Gold)
A three-sport star, Alicia Armstrong completed her senior softball season at Beatrice High School last month by leading the Lady Orange to a Class B state runner-up finish. She was named the honorary captain of the Lincoln Journal Star's Super-State team for her efforts, capping her career with four all-state awards and three appointments to the Super-State team.
Armstrong also left her mark on the Nebraska high school record book. She posted a .514 career batting average, the highest mark in Nebraska high school history regardless of class and the highest mark in Class B history, eclipsing the previous record of .500 set by current Husker senior Nikki Haget. Armstrong batted .690 in her senior season, becoming the first player in Nebraska high school history to bat .600. She smashed the previous single-season record of .595.
She also set the Class B state record for career runs scored (153) and tied the record for career home runs (20). In addition to her six state records, Armstrong set 16 school records. She finished her distinguished career with a .514 batting average, 20 home runs, 31 doubles and seven triples.
In her senior season in 2011, Armstrong earned recognition as honorary captain of the Super-State team. She batted .690 with 69 hits, eight doubles, four triples, 27 RBIs, 46 runs scored and 32 stolen bases. Her 69 hits and 46 runs scored were both school records, breaking the marks from her junior season.
As a junior in 2010, Armstrong batted .556 with 33 RBIs, a school-record nine home runs, 60 hits and 41 runs scored. Armstrong tied the Class B state record with two home runs in one game, while she also posted a 17-game hitting streak.
Armstrong excelled as a freshman and sophomore for the Lady Orange. She was the only freshman on the 2008 Class B all-state team after batting .451, including going 9-for-10 with two doubles, one triple and one home run in her first three career games. Armstrong was an honorable-mention all-state selection as a sophomore, when she battled through an injury.
A talented athlete, Armstrong has excelled on the basketball court and the soccer field for Beatrice. She earned second-team all-state honors in basketball as a junior after averaging 13 points and six rebounds per game. Armstrong was also an honorable-mention all-state selection at goalkeeper for the Lady Orange soccer team last spring. This spring, Armstrong plans to join the Beatrice track team as a sprinter to prepare for her softball career at Nebraska.
Off the field, Armstrong has been class president each of her four years at Beatrice, as well as being a member of the National Honor Society. She carries a 3.95 grade-point average and ranks fifth in her class of 140 students.
Coach Revelle on Alicia: "A great athlete, with speed, quickness and power. We are extremely excited to get Alicia on campus and working with our team every day. Alicia is blessed with a tremendous amount of athletic ability, and we believe she will have a great impact on our success."
Danica Bishop, RHP, Irvine, Calif. (Woodbridge HS/Firecrackers-Snyder)
The final addition to NU's 2011 recruiting class, Bishop decided to become a Husker following her official visit to Nebraska in September. She was a late find for Nebraska, as injuries had limited Bishop's recruitment, but the Husker coaching staff is confident Bishop will arrive at Nebraska healthy and ready to reach her potential.
Bishop is one of two pitchers in Nebraska's incoming freshman class, as the Huskers will lose two of their three pitchers to graduation after this season. Bishop will complete her prep career at Woodbridge High School in Irvine, Calif., this spring.
Bishop has experienced a wealth of success on the club level. She was a part of Mark Campbell's Victory USA 14-and-under team that won the 2009 ASA national championship, after finishing as the runner-up the previous season. In 2010, Bishop made the jump to the 18-and-under gold level with the So Cal Athletics, who won the inaugural Premier Girls Fastpitch National Championship in a nationally-televised final on ESPN. This past summer, Bishop played for the Firecrackers-Snyder team out of Lakewood, Calif. Bishop helped lead the Firecrackers to a third-place finish in a field of more than 300 teams at the Gold Triple Crown Colorado Sprinkler tournament in Denver.
For her efforts on the club level, Bishop earned an invite to the Allister OnDeck 2010 Arizona Jamboree, an invitation-only event for elite high school softball prospects.
Coach Revelle on Danica: "Danica flew under the recruiting radar due to a knee injury a couple of years ago. However, as a 6-foot pitcher who spins the ball and changes speeds well, we feel that Danica will blossom and emerge as a dominant force at the collegiate level under Coach Sippel's pitching guidance."
Hailey Decker, INF, Keizer, Ore. (McNary HS/Northwest Bullets)
Hailey Decker will complete a decorated prep career this spring for McNary High School in Keizer, Ore. With her senior season still to come, Decker has already been named Oregon's offensive player of the year in the state's largest class in addition to being an all-state selection in each of her first three seasons.
On the national level, Decker was one of 42 athletes invited to try out for the U.S. Junior National Team in the spring of 2010. Decker was one of the youngest players invited to try out, as most of the invitees had completed their high school careers, including current Husker sophomore Taylor Edwards.
As a junior last spring, Decker was widely regarded as Oregon's top hitter. Despite being pitched around and drawing 28 walks, Decker batted .642 with seven doubles, five triples, eight home runs, 43 RBIs, 40 runs scored, a .735 on-base percentage and a 1.254 slugging percentage. Her speed was also on display, as she stole 18 bases. Her coach, Jeff Auvinen, estimated that Decker was intentionally walked 20 times. Decker put up her impressive numbers despite battling an arm injury that limited her to hitting-only duties for part of the year. For her efforts, she earned recognition as the Oregon co-player of the year in Class 6A, the state's largest classification. Decker also earned Central Valley Conference player-of-the-year honors for the second straight season.
As a sophomore in 2010, Decker hit .538 with six doubles, two triples, 13 home runs, 45 RBIs, 42 runs scored and a 1.077 slugging percentage. She was the conference player of the year, in addition to being a first-team all-state selection.
Decker burst onto the scene as a freshman, batting .538 with 12 doubles, three triples, three home runs, 25 runs scored and 31 RBIs. She also posted a .954 slugging percentage and .557 on-base percentage, while helping McNary to the second round of the state playoffs. McNary has been to the state playoffs in each of Decker's first three seasons, including a semifinal appearance in her sophomore campaign.
In addition to her excellence on the softball diamond, Decker played volleyball as a freshman and sophomore and soccer as a junior and senior. In the classroom, Decker has been an honor roll selection each of her first three years.
Decker played her club ball for the Northwest Bullets, the same team as current Husker sophomore Kylee Muir. The Bullets are coached by Kylee's father, Dennis. In addition to her high school accolades and her invitation to try out for the U.S. Junior National Team, Decker earned invites to the adidas Futures National Camp and the OnDeck Softball National Elite Futures Camp in 2009.
Decker comes from an athletic family. Her father, Steve, was a former major league catcher who played for the San Francisco Giants, Florida Marlins, Colorado Rockies and Anaheim Angels. He is currently manager of the Fresno Grizzlies, the Triple-A affiliate of the Giants. Both of Hailey's parents were All-Americans at Lewis-Clark State, an NAIA school in Lewiston, Idaho. Hailey's mother, Maite, was also an academic All-American volleyball player at Lewis-Clark State.
Coach Revelle on Hailey: "Hailey is a simply driven to become the best she can be as a hitter and player. She is a highly skilled player who will make a noise loud and early in this program. She is a strong and fast player who plays the game one way...all out. We are grateful Hailey chose the scarlet and cream."
Emily Lockman, RHP, Corona, Calif. (Norco HS/Corona Angels)
Emily Lockman is one of two pitching recruits in Nebraska's signing class. She also continues the Huskers' success in signing players from the Corona Angels club program, signing with Angels teammate Dawna Tyson. Lockman is one of several Angels products to pick Nebraska in the past five seasons, but the first pitcher. She will conclude her prep career at Norco High School in Norco, Calif., this spring.
Lockman has been recognized as one of southern California's top pitching prospects. She was one of only 10 pitchers named to the MaxPreps California all-state first team in 2011, which honors players regardless of class. Lockman was also one of only eight pitchers named to the ESPN Rise/CalHiSports all-underclass first team, a squad reserved for the best freshmen, sophomores and juniors in the state of California. She was also named a second-team overall all-state selection by ESPN Rise/CalHiSports.
Entering her senior season, Lockman owns a 43-17 career record with a 1.20 ERA in 377.1 innings. She has struck out 341 batters and walked only 86. Offensively, Lockman owns a .372 career batting average with 18 doubles, one triple, seven home runs, 98 RBIs and 61 runs scored.
As a junior last spring, Lockman earned all-area, all-league and all-CIF southern section Division I honors. She posted a 21-7 record with a 1.08 ERA and 154 strikeouts as a junior. Lockman also excelled at the plate, batting .406 with nine doubles, three home runs and 31 RBIs.
Lockman saw her first extensive action in the circle as a sophomore, when she became Norco's ace following the graduation of Teagan Gerhart, now a junior, two-time all-conference performer at Stanford. Lockman was impressive in her role as Norco's ace, posting a 20-10 record with a 1.30 ERA and 187 strikeouts in 202.0 innings. Offensively, Lockman batted .464 with seven doubles, one triple, three home runs, 49 RBIs and 21 runs scored. For her efforts, Lockman earned first-team all-state underclass honors, in addition to first-team all-league and all-area accolades. She also earned a spot on the all-CIF southern section Division I second team.
As a freshman, Lockman contributed to Norco's southern section Division I championship. She was an honorable-mention all-area selection, posting a 2-0 record with a 1.56 ERA. Lockman added 21 strikeouts and only three walks in 18.0 innings, while allowing just 12 hits, including only one extra-base hit. Offensively, Lockman batted .278 with two doubles, 13 runs scored and 18 RBIs.
In the summer, Lockman has helped the Angels continue their run as one of the nation's premier club programs. In addition to signing with her Angels teammate Dawna Tyson, Lockman will join a Nebraska roster that features former Angels Tatum and Taylor Edwards. The Angels are coached by Dawna's father, Marty, who is also the father of former Husker pitcher and outfielder Tori Tyson.
Lockman helped the Angels win the ASA 18-and-under Champions Cup in both 2010 and 2011. She was also part of the Angels squad that finished third at the 2010 Premier Girls Fastpitch National Championship. Lockman posted two top-three finishes at nationals with the Angels' 14-and-under team and won ASA Nationals in 2005. Individually, Lockman attended the OnDeck Softball All-Stars National Elite-64 Futures Camp in both 2008 and 2009. The camp is an invitation-only event intended for the nation's top softball prospects.
Coach Revelle on Emily: "Emily is a competitor who loves the battle in the circle. She is a player who knows how to win and has won a lot in her career. Emily will walk right into our program and have the opportunity to have her presence felt in the circle immediately."
Sammi Noland, C/INF, Tucson, Ariz. (Canyon del Oro HS/AZ Desert Thunder)
Sammi Noland is the lone catcher in Nebraska's signing class. She plays her high school softball for Canyon del Oro High School in Tucson, Ariz., where she will complete her prep career this spring. Noland gives Nebraska a recruit from Canyon del Oro for the second straight year, as current Husker freshman Mattie Fowler was a three-year teammate of Noland's from 2009 to 2011. Noland also played her club ball with Fowler for the AZ Desert Thunder. The Desert Thunder are coached by Mattie Fowler's parents, Lance and Kelly, while Canyon del Oro was coached by Kelly Fowler in each of Noland's first three seasons.
Noland has played a key role in helping Canyon del Oro to a pair of state championships in her first three high school seasons. As a junior in 2011, Noland batted .422 (43-for-102) with 14 doubles, two home runs, six stolen bases, 28 runs scored and 28 RBIs. She added a .487 on-base percentage and a .618 slugging percentage, as the Dorados finished with a 35-1 record. One of her two home runs was a two-run shot in the state championship game.
For her efforts, Noland was an honorable-mention all-state selection in Class 4A and a second-team southern Arizona all-state selection. She also earned her team's defensive player-of-the-year award.
In her sophomore season, Noland helped lead Canyon del Oro to an 18-6 record and an appearance in the state semifinals. During her freshman season in 2009, the Dorados finished 30-2 and won the state championship.
On the club level, Noland helped the Desert Thunder place in the top 25 at the ASA Gold National Championship every year from 2006 to 2010, including two top-10 finishes. Noland is one of three Desert Thunder players to join a Division I program this fall.
Coach Revelle on Sammi: "Sammi is a versatile and talented player who will provide depth to the catching position as well as having the ability to play a corner infield position. Sammi brings athletic ability, enthusiasm and a winner's mentality to our program. Sammi and Nebraska Softball are a great fit...we are excited to see her in red!"
Kiki Stokes, OF, Olathe, Kan. (Olathe East HS/DeMarini Zephyrs)
Kiki Stokes is the latest high school All-American to sign with Nebraska out of Olathe East High School in Olathe, Kan. Previous Hawks who earned high school All-America honors for Coach Jeff Hulse before playing for Nebraska include current Husker senior Ashley Guile and former players Alex Hupp (2007-10) and Trisha Tannahill (2003-06). Stokes has been East's starting center fielder and leadoff hitter in each of the past three seasons, setting four school records for a program that has produced more than 40 scholarship athletes at the collegiate level. Stokes has also earned recognition on the national level, as she has twice been named an All-America outfielder by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA).
Through three seasons, the speedy Stokes boasts an impressive .611 career batting average. She is 135-for-221 in her career with 115 runs scored, 59 stolen bases, 46 RBIs, nine triples, seven doubles and one home run.
As a junior last spring, Stokes batted .631, collecting 53 hits in only 84 at bats. She added seven triples, three doubles and one home run, while totaling 48 runs scored, 29 RBIs, 23 stolen bases and a .686 on-base percentage. Stokes was also clutch at driving in runs out of her leadoff spot, batting .871 (27-for-31) with runners in scoring position.
Her 48 runs scored were a school record, topping her mark from the previous season, while her average and on-base percentage both ranked second in school history, trailing only the marks from her sophomore season. Her 53 hits also ranked second in Olathe East history and were just two shy of the school record set by former Kansas Jayhawk Val Chapple, the 2005 NFCA National High School Player of the Year. Stokes also drew 17 walks as a junior, the second-highest total in school history behind only Teddi Ewing, a four-year starter for Michigan from 2006 to 2009.
For her efforts as a junior, Stokes was named an NFCA first-team All-American. She was joined on the first team by current Husker freshman Jordan Bettiol. She was also the Sunflower League player of the year and an all-region, all-state and all-metro selection.
Stokes was a second-team All-American as a sophomore in 2010, when she was again an all-region, all-state and all-metro honoree. As a sophomore, Stokes batted .653 (49-for-75) with three doubles, two triples, 41 runs scored, 10 RBIs, a .710 on-base percentage and 28 stolen bases in only 29 attempts. She set school records for batting average, on-base percentage and stolen bases.
As a freshman, Stokes immediately earned the starting job in center field, as well as the role as the Hawks' leadoff hitter. She batted .532 (33-for-62) as a freshman with 26 runs scored, 11 sacrifices, seven stolen bases and a .568 on-base percentage.
Thus far in her high school career, Stokes has helped lead Olathe East to a pair of regional championships and two top-five finishes at the Kansas 6A state tournament. Olathe East owns a 64-9 record over the past three seasons. Stokes played her travel ball for the DeMarini Zephyrs.
Coach Revelle on Kiki: "There is speed and then there is 'special' speed. Kiki has the kind of speed that changes the complexion of an offensive attack. Kiki is just flat-out fun to watch on the base paths. Look for this young lady to make an immediate impact on the run production of the Huskers."
Dawna Tyson, INF, Corona, Calif. (Corona HS/Corona Angels)
Dawna Tyson is one of two Nebraska signees who played her club ball for the Corona Angels program, coached by her father, Marty. In addition to being one of several recent Husker recruits from the Angels' program, Dawna Tyson also has family connections to Nebraska, as her sister Tori was a pitcher and outfielder for the Huskers from 2008 to 2011. Dawna plays her high school ball for Corona High School in Corona, Calif., and will conclude her prep career this spring.
Tyson has been an all-league selection in each of her first three seasons, garnering first-team accolades as both a sophomore and junior. Also as a junior in 2011, Tyson was named to the all-CIF southern section Division I first team. Tyson earned a spot on the southern section Division I second team as a sophomore in 2010, while also being honored as an all-area honorable-mention selection.
Tyson helped lead Corona High School to a runner-up finish in the 2010 CIF southern section Division I tournament. In her second straight season as a team captain in 2010, Tyson hit .341 with a .491 on-base percentage, 16 walks and 23 RBIs. She was the team leader in RBIs and her .341 average tied for team-high honors.
In addition to her individual high school accolades, Tyson has been invited to attend a pair of elite camps. In 2008, she attended the West Coast All-Stars National Elite-64 Futures Camp, and she also attended the adidas Futures Top-100 camp in 2009. Both camps are invitation-only events designed for the top softball prospects in the country.
She has also helped the Corona Angels become one of the nation's premier club programs. With the Angels, Tyson won a 10-and-under national championship, finished third at the 12-and-under national championship, finished second and third at the 14-and-under national championship and third at the 2010 Premier Girls Fastpitch National Championship. She also helped the Angels win the ASA 18-and-under Champions Cup in both 2010 and 2011.
In addition to her individual accomplishments on the field, Tyson comes from a highly regarded softball family. Her father Marty is known as one of the best club program coaches in the nation, while Dawna is the third Tyson to earn a Division I softball scholarship. In addition to Tori's time at Nebraska, Dawna's oldest sister Dena was a four-year letterwinner at Washington, earning first-team All-America honors as a senior in 2007.
Coach Revelle on Dawna: "A powerful and clutch hitter; Dawna is someone who can change the game with one swing. She has talent, skill and a high IQ for the game of softball. Dawna has been a part of championship-level teams since she was 10 years old...winning is in her blood."