Zias sign four players for softball

CNJ staff

PORTALES — The Eastern New Mexico University softball program has signed four junior college transfers to national letters of intent for the 2011 season.

The players, all of whom will be juniors, are right-handed pitcher Erin Rufosse of Gibsons, British Columbia; outfielder Devin Higgins of Reno, Nev.; third baseman Emily Livingston of Corinth, Texas, and outfielder Melanie Alderette of Albuquerque.

Rufosse will have a chance to make an immediate impact in the circle after the Zias graduated top hurlers Kimberly Crouse and Kristen Cruickshank. Rufosse earned All-Jayhawk Conference West and All-Region VI honors and was named the Jayhawk West’s MVP with a 25-7 record and a 1.00 earned run average last season at Seward County (Kan.) Community College, helping the Lady Saints win the division and regional championships for the second year in a row.

“She carried the load for Seward last year,” ENMU coach Lauren Sigwing said. “She definitely got experience in big games.”

Higgins, who played at Southwestern Oregon CC, and Alderette, a Valley High School graduate who comes from Luna CC in Las Vegas, N.M., will look for playing time in an outfield which lost the program’s all-time hits leader, Alex Mayo Otis, to graduation.

Higgins batted .328 last season with a .391 on-base percentage at Southwestern Oregon. Alderette was injured much of the season at Luna.

Livington comes from Texarkana (Texas) College, and will get a long look at third base.

“I think she’ll help us out a lot at third,” said Sigwing, entering her second season at ENMU. “She’s got quick hands and quick feet.”