Dec. 3, 2003
ATLANTA – The Georgia Tech softball team signed six student-athletes to National Letters of Intent over the course of the early signing period, announced head coach Ehren Earleywine. The six signees reach across five different states from Georgia to California.
Joining the Yellow Jacket softball team in the fall of 2004 will be Savannah Brown (El Cajon, Calif.), Stephanie Butler (Burbank, Calif.), Riki Creger-Zier (Steilacoom, Wash.), Kacey Ivey (Douglasville, Ga.), Becky McCraw (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Daisy Paez (Wellington, Fla.).
“Our coaching staff is extremely pleased with the six players that we signed in the early signing period,” said Earleywine. “We felt like our current roster size of only 14 players was too low and with five seniors graduating in May, we knew we had to bring in a big and talented group of freshmen. We feel we accomplished a big part of that and got off to a great start with these players.
“However, our recruiting class will not be complete until we sign two or three more players in the second signing period. One of the key elements we will look to add is a dominant pitcher. With this first group of signees we addressed a much-needed deficiency of speed and power. Most importantly to me is the fact that all of these players hate to lose. Greatness comes with a price and each one of these girls are willing to pay it. I’m looking forward to the impact they will have on this program as a whole.”
Savannah Brown, Catcher/Third Base, Valhalla High School, El Cajon, Calif.
Savannah Brown was a four-year starter for Valhalla High School. Brown is a three-time all-league selection and received the Most Valuable Defensive Player award. In 2002, Brown was named Most Valuable Player and earned the Most Valuable Offensive Player distinction in 2003.
“Savannah will see a lot of action as a catcher and third base right away for the Yellow Jackets,” said Earleywine. “She possesses a very strong arm and will be expected to shut down the oppositions running attack. Offensively, she hits for power and average and should be a good RBI person for us in the middle of our lineup. She is a talented player with a very competitive nature.”
Stephanie Butler, Outfield, Notre Dame High School, Burbank, Calif.
Stephanie Butler was a four-year starter at Notre Dame High School. The Burbank, Calif., native is a three-time all-league selection and was named Most Valuable Defensive player this past season. Butler is not only a standout on the diamond, but in the classroom as well. She received the All-Academic Award in the Mission League for three years running.
“Stephanie is another much-needed outfielder with speed that can hit from either side of the plate,” said Earleywine. “We see her primarily working from the left side especially once she proves she can hit away with consistency. She will provide depth and competition amongst our outfield core next year.”
Riki Creger-Zier, Short Stop, Steilacoom High School, Steilacoom, Wash.
Riki Creger-Zier led Steilacoom High School’s team with a .422 batting average and led them in stolen bases as well. The Steilacoom, Wash., native has started for four straight seasons and is a three-time all-league selection at short stop.
“Riki is just a great athlete and a real gym-rat,” said Earleywine. “Not only was she a four-year starter in softball, but in basketball and volleyball as well. She has great speed, a strong arm, hits for average, and has gap power. This is another hard-nosed player that doesn’t like to lose. This was an important signee for this program and we feel fortunate to have her aboard.”
Kacey Ivey, Outfield, Chapel Hill High School, Douglasville, Ga.
Kacey Ivey is currently a senior at Chapel Hill High School in Douglasville, Ga. She is the recipient of the Wendy’s Heismann Award in the state of Georgia after a brilliant season. Ivey is a switch-hitting outfielder and stole 58 bases in 58 tries a year ago. She was tabbed Douglas County Softball Player of the Year after hitting .529.
“We are very excited about Kacey to say the least,” said Earleywine. “She is a great athlete with tremendous foot speed and should be an impact player right away.
“Another impressive aspect of Kacey’s game is her grit and determination. This girl knows how to win and has the God-given abilities to get it done. This is the type of student-athlete that we want to fill our roster with every year. Look for big things from her in the future.”
Becky McCraw, Short Stop, Farragut High School, Knoxville, Tenn.
Becky McCraw has started on the varsity team at Farragut High School for the past three years. A native of Knoxville, Tenn., McCraw was voted Best Defensive player last year.
“Becky was an interesting prospect for us,” said Earleywine. “Although not highly recruited and not yet polished, her on the field mannerisms reminds us of All-American short stop Tara Knudsen. She is a 6’1″ short stop with a strong throwing arm and the potential to hit for power. With her big body and athleticism, she has major potential and may surprise a lot of people back in Tennessee in the years to come.”
Daisy Paez, First Base/Catcher, Young Harris Community College, Wellington, Fla.
Daisy Paez is a freshman at Young-Harris Community College. The Wellington, Fla., native attended Wellington High School where she was named all-conference and all-area after her junior and senior seasons. Paez also received the Coaches’ Award and Most Valuable Player Award in her final season.
“Paez can really hit it,” said Earleywine. “After watching her play last summer and this fall, I can count on one hand the times she didn’t hit a double or home run. I see her as a three or four-hole hitter in our lineup and should replace the pop that Knudsen will leave behind. Her short, compact swing will enable her to hit top-notch pitching at the Division-I level and we are really excited about watching her swing the bat for the next three years.”