Softball Inks Four During Early Signing Period

Nov. 11, 2009

ATLANTA – Georgia Tech Softball Head Coach Sharon Perkins has announced that Lindsey Anderson (Johns Creek,Ga./Johns Creek H.S.), Hayley Downs (Grayson, Ga./Grayson H.S.), Alysha Rudnik (Lawrenceville, Ga./Buford H.S.) and Ashley Thomas (McKinney, Texas/McKinney H.S.) have each signed national letters of intent during the early signing period and will enroll in the fall.

“This group of athletes brings versatility to the squad while also addressing our needs,” said Perkins. “Each member of this class has played in highly-competitive travel ball programs and competed against some of the best players in the country. These ladies all come to Georgia Tech with strong academic backgrounds and will pursue a variety of degrees while here.”

Anderson is a pitcher who earned three letters at Northview High School and one at Johns Creek High School. As a senior, she was the Region 5-AAA Player of the Year, member of the senior all-state team and team MVP. She went 16-9 in the circle with a 0.76 ERA and 300 strikeouts in 147 innings pitched, an average of 2.4 an inning. Anderson threw five no-hitters and three perfect games while also batting .351 with 12 extra-base hits and 29 RBI.

While at Northview, Anderson was a two-time all-region pick, two-time team MVP and as a junior in 2008 she was named an adidas Top 100 Athlete. At the 2009 Gold Nationals in Oklahoma City, she helped lead the Georgia Elite Gold to a top 15 finish. Anderson chose Georgia Tech over Georgia, South Carolina, Kansas and Wisconsin.

“Lindsey is a right-handed pitcher who has blossomed late in her career and was pursued by several big schools before choosing Tech,” said Perkins. “She is a hard worker who will only continue to get better. Her style and variety of pitches should complement our current pitching staff very well.”

Downs is an outfielder/infielder/utility player from Grayson High School, the same school as current Georgia Tech sophomore Shannon Bear. As a senior she was named all-county by the Gwinnett Diamond Club, Grayson High School Outstanding Senior, high school Heisman winner, an adidas Top 100 Athlete, Preseason Gwinnett County “Super Six” and selected to the 2009 Gwinnett County Senior All-Star Game.

Downs missed all of her junior year with an injury but returned to hit .425 as a senior and lead Grayson to the state play-offs for the first time since 2007. As a sophomore in 2007, Downs set seven Grayson records including batting average (.444), on-base percentage (.549), hits (56) and runs (38). She led the Grayson to a regional championship and fourth place finish in the state Elite Eight. She was first-team all-state, all-county and all-region as well as being named a scholar athlete and the Gwinnett County Defensive Player of the Year. As a freshman, Downs led Grayson to a region championship and trip to the North Georgia State sectionals. She earned first-team all-county and all-region honors for Grayson who finished ranked ninth in the state.

Downs played for the East Cobb Bullets Gold team that finished 17th at Gold Nationals this past summer in Oklahoma City, Okla. Her great grandfather, Stanley Nelson, is in the Softball Hall of Fame, while her uncle Colonel Eric Kivi is a Tech graduate. She also considered Florida State and Auburn among others.

“Hayley is a very versatile outfielder who can play all three positions,” said Perkins. “She played both shortstop and third base in high school so she has the athletic ability to help in several ways. She is a very aggressive and smart base runner who can both hit and slap from the left side of the plate.”

Rudnik is a catcher who just helped lead Buford to its third straight state title. Coupled with the state basketball title she helped win this past spring, Rudnik has been a member of all four state titles won by female teams in school history. Heading into the state tournament, Rudnik was enjoying a senior year where she had a .470 average, six home runs, seven doubles, 32 RBI and 28 runs scored.

Most of the awards for this season have not been announced yet, but she was the Georgia Coaches Association Player of the Year in 2008 as well as a two-time all-state and all-county pick, two-time Gwinnett Post “Super Six” selection and two-time, first-team Gwinnett Diamond Club selection. Other junior year accolades included Elite 80 selection by the Georgia Diamond Club and adidas Top 100. Just this week, she was named the Offensive Player of the Year, all-county and a scholar-athlete by the Gwinnett Diamond Club. She also considered Florida State and NC State among others.

“Alysha is a well-accomplished right-handed hitter who is a catcher by trade but can also play multiple positions,” added Perkins. “She is a two sport athlete (also plays basketball) and comes from a high school where she is used to winning and has been a part of four state championships.”

Thomas is a shortstop who is getting ready for her senior season next spring at McKinney High School, the same hometown as current Tech junior Kristen Adkins. She is a three-time Lionette of the Year (Team MVP) and in three years is batting .404 with 122 hits, 80 runs scored, 13 doubles, nine triples, 23 stolen bases and 28 RBI. She is a three-time member of the all-district first team and all-academic team as well as a two-time All-McKinney team pick. As a freshman, she was named to McKinney’s “Magnificent 9,” a squad that also included Adkins. As a sophomore, Thomas received the team’s Big Stick Award after setting a school record by batting .460. Then as a junior, she broke her own single-season records with 35 runs scored and 49 hits.

Thomas batted leadoff for the Texas Glory Gold-Shelton team this past year which finished 13th at Gold nationals in Oklahoma City and will play for the Texas Glory Gold-Adkins team next summer. She chose Tech over schools including Texas A&M, Arkansas and Texas Tech.

“Ashley is a middle infielder who also has the skills to play in the outfield,” said Perkins. “She has a strong arm and runs well while hitting from the left side of the plate. I anticipate she will compete for playing time at second base, although she could help in several different ways.”

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