FLORENCE, S.C. – Francis Marion University softball coach Stacey Vallee has announced the addition of one junior college transfer and the signing of five high school seniors during the recent early signing period: infielder Tristan Faile of Lancaster, S.C., catcher-outfielder Olivia Ferguson of Roanoke, Va., catcher-first baseman Annie Hegar of Jefferson, N.C., left-handed pitcher Murphy McConnell of Milton, Ga., utility player Jamie Ross of Cape Coral, Fla., and right-handed pitcher Brittany Scoggins of Boiling Springs, S.C.
Faile, 5-7, is a senior at Andrew Jackson High School where she plays for coach Steve Middleton. She is a two-time All-State selection, a three-time All-Region pick, and was named her team’s most valuable player last spring. In 2008, she batted .468 with 16 runs batted in as the Lady Vols posted a 20-11 mark. She also recorded two shutouts on the pitching mound.
A four-year starter, she has helped AJ to a 113-12 combined record that includes four region titles and two Class AA state championships. She batted .458 with 19 RBIs and 40 runs scored as a sophomore and .425 with 14 RBIs and 50 runs as a freshman. Faile is a member of the National Honor Society, and her older sister plays on the LSU softball team.
Ferguson, 5-6, is a senior at Cave Spring High School where she plays under the direction of coach Lindsey Moore. Last spring, she earned first-team All-State, All-Region, All-River Ridge District, and All-Timesland recognition after hitting a district and region-high .512 with 12 stolen bases and a district-leading 31 RBIs. She also recorded a.818 slugging percentage.
Hegar, 5-10,is a senior at Ashe County High School where she plays for coach Bill Key. As a junior, she was an All-Mountain Valley Athletic Conference pick while helping the Huskies to a 13-10 record and a program-best third-round appearance in the state playoffs. She also received 2008 Scholar-Athlete recognition.
Prior to moving to the Tar Heel State, she attended Juneau (Alaska) Douglas High School for two years, earning team MVP honors as a sophomore.
McConnell, 5-9, is a senior at Milton High School where she plays for coach Melanie Mosteller.
Ross, 5-3, is a senior at Ida S. Baker High School where she plays under the direction of coach Morgan Klare. She batted .359 as a junior and helped the Bulldogs to a 23-7 record and a spot in the Class 5A regional quarterfinals. She has earned All-Area and All-Conference accolades. An honor roll student, she is a member of the National Society of High School Scholars. She also ran cross country at Baker.
Scoggins, 5-4, is a sophomore at Spartanburg Methodist College where she plays for coach Rick Pauly. She will have two years of eligibility when she enrolls at FMU. As a freshman, she posted a 17-4 pitching mark with two saves, a 1.32 earned run average, and 169 strikeouts in only 149 innings. She completed 16 of her 23 starts and tossed six shutouts. At the plate, she hit .296 with 11 RBIs as the Pioneers went 31-12 and finished fifth at the NJCAA Nationals. She ranked nationally in strikeouts per game and ERA and earned first-team All-Region X honors.
She is a former two-time All-Region performer at Boiling Springs High School where she played for coach Sandy Martin. She was also selected for the 2007 North-South All-Star Game.
As a group, Vallee is excited to have these players coming to FMU next fall. “These players want to be at Francis Marion and they have expressed a desire to be part of the tradition we have built here, both on the field and in the classroom.”
“Faile, an in-state product, will play either first or third base. She has a big bat, is a good defensive player, and possesses a strong arm. A very smart young lady, she also excels in the classroom.
“Ferguson is a very aggressive player both behind the plate and in the outfield. Also a good student, she will contribute very valuable leadership skills.
“Hegar, at 5-10, has good size to play either first or catch. She brings consistency and power to the plate and has good leadership skills behind the plate. A native of Alaska, she is another good student.
“McConnell will play some first base in addition to pitching, and can hit for herself. She throws a variety of pitches and has power and movement on the mound.
“Ross is a very versatile player who can catch, play in the middle infield, and occupy an outfield spot. She has a strong arm, and although only 5-3, she has good pop in her bat. She is eager to learn and get better.
“Scoggins will pitch and play third base, and can also hit for herself. Another Palmetto State product, she throws a variety of pitches and brings to the plate a big bat with power. She led SMC to the nationals as a freshman, so she has a very bright future.”
Francis Marion ended the 2008 season ranked fifth nationally with a 39-16 record after advancing to the NCAA Division II national tournament’s Elite Eight in Houston. The 2009 Patriots open their season Feb. 7-8 at the Early Bird Tournament in Aiken, S.C.