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Nov. 19, 2011
BEAUMONT, Texas - EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the third of three stories looking at the first recruiting class of Lamar softball coach Holly Bruder as the university revives its softball program in the spring of 2013. This installment is on the pitchers and catchers.
So much of softball comes down to pitching, and the Lamar coaching staff of Holly Bruder and assistant Allison Honkofsky believe the pitchers and catchers they have recruited for the 2013 season will make the Lady Cardinals a tough team from Day 1.
The Lady Cardinals inked four pitchers and three catchers in their first recruiting class. Here's a look at them, starting with the pitchers.
Shannon Milliman (Pasadena, Texas) earned first-team all-district honors for three years while at Pasadena Memorial High School. Last season, she went 20-8 with a 1.68 ERA with 180 strikeouts in 200 innings pitched at San Jacinto College, earning first-team all-conference and all-region honors. She was a third-team selection for junior college All-America.
Milliman also helped herself at the plate, hitting .409. She is in her sophomore year at San Jacinto.
"Shannon comes to Lamar with some collegiate experience and success," Bruder said. "She has natural spin on the ball and has great game sense to help her throw numerous innings for us."
Tierney Nelson (Tecumseh, Mich.) was 27-1 with a 1.14 ERA for Clinton High School as a junior last season, helping lead her team to a state championship. She earned all-state, all-region and all-district honors last year and was named the Lenawee County Pitcher of the Year and her team's MVP.
Nelson, who has thrown 10 no-hitters, has been the county's Pitcher of the Year for three straight seasons.
"Tierney is a player I have watched develop into a state championship pitcher," Bruder said. "She has several pitches she uses to keep hitters off balance."
Ashley Rey (Sunrise, Fla.) struck out 322 batters in 168 innings for University School of Nova Southeastern University as a junior last season, leading her team to a district title. Rey was her team's MVP, and was chosen first-team all-county for the third consecutive season and second-team all-state.
"Ashley is a pitcher who has the potential to be very successful at this level," Bruder said. "She goes into a game dominating batters, and doesn't slow down."
Tina Schulz (Spring, Texas) was a first-team Division II National Junior College Athletic Association All-American at LSU-Eunice, leading her team to a national championship.
Schulz went 22-4 with a 2.00 ERA last season, striking out a school-record 148 in 141 innings pitched. She also contributed at the plate, hitting .351 with 57 RBIs, the third-most in school history.
At Oak Ridge High School, she earned all-district and all-county accolades for three straight years.
"Tina is a player I love to watch. She controls her team whether she is pitching, at first base or at the plate," Bruder said. "She has the confidence and composure you cannot teach an athlete. I have the confidence in her to help us compete right away."
Handling the pitching staff will be a trio of catchers who signed with Lamar.
Morgan Buie (Gardner, Kan.) hit .339 last season for Gardner-Edgerton High School, which was a regional finalist for the second time in three seasons. The team's MVP, she set a school record with a .584 slugging percentage and was a first-team all-league selection.
"Morgan is a true threat not only at the plate, but behind the plate as well," Bruder said. "She is a great receiver with an arm to match. She controls the game and keeps her competitors on their toes and makes them afraid to steal."
Baylie Comeaux (Orange, Texas) will play for Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School this season after starting the last two years at Spring High School.
"Baylie is a powerful freshman and has the natural strength to succeed at the plate and in the field," Bruder said. "She wil add depth to our infield and catching staff, and I look for Baylie to be one of our most improved players within the first year."
Beverly Corry (Broward, Fla.) will play for Weatherford College this season before transferring to Lamar. Corry hit .452 with a .644 slugging percentage for West Broward High School last season, earning first-team all-county kudos.
"Beverly is a catcher who can help a pitcher have success during a game," Bruder said. She is a team player who will do whatever it takes to make sure the pitcher-catcher battery is solid on any given day."