For Immediate Release
Softball -- July 27, 2011
Eureka Softball Announces 2012 Additions
EUREKA, Ill. – Fourth-year Eureka College softball head coach Stacey Sparks announced a four-player recruiting class on Thursday, welcoming utility player Sarah Ackerman (St. Louis, Mo./Affton H.S.), outfielder Jessica Beck (Wilmington, Ill./Wilmington H.S.), pitcher/outfielder Karson Gragert (Georgetown, Ill./Georgetown-Ridge Farm H.S.) and outfielder Taylor Newby (Lindenhurst, Ill./Lakes H.S.). Each student-athlete will join the program for the 2012 season and have four years of eligibility.
"We are excited for these four student-athletes to join our 2012 Red Devil team," Sparks said. "All four players were starters on their respective high school teams who completed successful seasons. They will be a welcome addition to our talented group of returning players."
Ackerman wrapped her prep career at Affton in 2011 with an All-Suburban East Conference Second Team selection, helping the Cougars to a league title as a senior. Ackerman, who can play all over the field as a utility player, was a three-year varsity starter and hit .269 with 12 runs scored, 11 RBI and a pair of doubles during her senior season. She also helped the Cougars to an MSHSAA Class 3, District 4 title in 2010 and an appearance in the District 3 championship game in 2011. She has played traveling softball for the St. Louis Angels and is just the second out-of-state recruit for Sparks and her first recruit from the state of Missouri.
Beck will join the Red Devils as an outfielder after compiling a .343 batting average and .462 on-base percentage for Wilmington in 2011. She was a two-year varsity starter in the outfield and helped the Wildcats to 17 victories during her senior campaign last spring.
Gragert, who will also play volleyball at Eureka, gives Sparks another option in the outfield as well as the pitching circle. She was a four-year varsity starter at Georgetown-Ridge Farm, serving as the Buffaloes’ captain for her final three seasons. She hit .254 last spring with 12 runs scored and pair of doubles while also tossing 44.0 innings and winning three games as a pitcher. Gragert was chosen as G-RF’s Female Athlete of the Year in 2010 and 2011. She plays traveling softball for Mid USA Mojo. Off the field, Gragert was a member of the National Honor Society and an honor student.
Newby rounds out the recruiting class after starting the previous three seasons at Lakes and helping the Eagles to 20 victories last spring. As a senior, she put together a .273 batting average, .392 on-base percentage and .450 slugging percentage while scoring eight runs with five doubles and seven RBI. She received the Lakes Softball Sportsmanship Award in 2011 and also plays traveling softball for the Lake County Freedom.
As a member of NCAA Division III, Eureka College does not offer athletic scholarships and recruits do not sign athletic grants. All four of the new softball student-athletes are enrolled for fall semester classes at Eureka College.
The Red Devils finished the 2011 season with a 10-18 overall record and a 7-9 St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference mark. As many as 17 letterwinners and eight starters will return for the 2012 season, including All-SLIAC selections Sara Hamilton (Washington, Ill./Washington H.S./Illinois Central), Caty Eeten (Eureka, Ill./Eureka H.S./Illinois Central) and Tomi Tapper (East Peoria, Ill./East Peoria H.S.).
For More Information Contact: