The Eastern New Mexico Zia softball team signed nine junior college players to National Letters of Intent Tuesday, led by Seward County Community College sophomore infielder Jena Rue.
Rue made National Fastpitch Coach’s Association First Team All-American as a freshman. Rue hit .430, with 66 RBIs and six home runs. She also led the Lady Saints with 84 hits, 24 multiple-hit games, and a 15-game hitting streak.
“We lost some power and speed in the lineup following this past season,” First-year Zia coach Amber Daniel said. “But I feel this class is made up of some athletes who can fill those spots and really help this team succeed.”
The Zias also signed a quartet of juniors from Vernon College including pitcher Natalie Woodside, outfielder Shea Fowler, outfielder Laura Thompson and infielder Haley Hayes.
Woodside posted a 19-6 record with a 1.69 ERA and 87 strikeouts, while Fowler hit .388 with 31 RBIs. Thompson hit .371 and stole 41 bases in 47 attempts. Hays hit .327 and stole 37 bases.
The Zias also signed Central Arizona junior pitcher Tanya Groff, sophomore catcher Ashley Oliver from Navarro College and juniors Jessica Pacheco, outfielder, and Cara Brydle, infielder, from Mesa Community College.
Groff went 21-8 from the mound including a no-hitter against Scottsdale.
Oliver hit .342 with 10 RBIs and six stolen bases, while Brydle and Pacheco helped lead Mesa Community College to a 48-23 record and an appearance in the Division 2 Region 1 championship game.
“This is an extremely athletic group with great attitudes that will help our program make great strides in all areas to help us get where we want to be next season,” Daniel said. “One thing I know is that we will be fun to watch, and the coaching staff is looking forward to next year and can’t wait to get started.”