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Patriots sign three softball players

FLORENCE, S.C. – Francis Marion University softball coach Stacey Vallee has announced the signing of pitcher Katie Carnes of Pageland, infielder Alison Coates of Leesburg, Va., and outfielder Megan Smith of Dundalk, Md.

Both Carnes and Coates will enroll as freshman, while Smith is transferring from CCBC-Catonsville and will have two years of eligibility at FMU.

Carnes, 5-8, is a product of Central High School, where she played under the direction of head coach Kevin Thurman.

A six-year letterwinner, she holds the Lady Eagles’ career records for pitching wins (96-36 record) and strikeouts (1,259), while also owning the career home run mark (19) at the plate. She finished her prep career with a .415 batting average and 155 runs batted in, while on the mound she compiled a 1.32 career earned run average.

She was a Class AA All-State selection as both a junior and a senior, and was named the 2011 Class AA Player of the Year by both the South Carolina Coaches Association and the South Carolina High School Sports Report after leading Central to a 32-3 record and the state title. Also an All-Region selection after posting a 28-2 record on the mound in 2011, she was selected to play in this summer’s North-South All-Star Games.

Carnes also played for the Carolina Curve club squad that captured the 2010 18U ASA Southern National A Division championship.

Coates, 5-7, graduated from Loudoun County High School, where she played for coach Amber Jackson.

This past season, she hit .293 with 12 runs scored, seven doubles, and 18 RBIs. She also compiled a .453 slugging percentage while helping the Raiders to a 13-9 record.

She was a member of her school’s National Honor Society.

Smith, 5-8, was a third-team NJCAA All-American this past spring after hitting .443 with 27 runs scored, two homers, 22 RBIs, and 11 stolen bases in 13 attempts. She also garnered first-team NJCAA Division II All-Region XX recognition and was named to the All-Maryland JUCO first team.

As a freshman, she batted .450 with 42 runs scored and 21 RBIs, while earning All-Region XX second-team honors and All-Maryland JUCO second-team recognition.

She is a product of Eastern Tech High School.

“Katie is going to come in and hopefully make an immediate impact,” Vallee said. “She recently led her high school team to the state championship both offensively and on the mound. She was a highly recruited athlete in the region and we are happy that we were able to show her that Francis Marion was the place for her. The classroom is equally important to her and we love that as coaches. She also brings with her a compassion for others as she headed up several fundraisers over the years for those in need. She is the type of kid that everyone wants in their program and we are happy that she will be part of ours.

“Alison is a young lady with a commitment to play. She comes to us with a willingness to learn and put her mark on FMU softball. She will play in the infield, mostly at shortstop or first base. We are excited to see her in action this fall. She also brings with her a heavy bat that will help get her into the line-up one way or the other. She has a great attitude and will bring that to both her studies and the field.

“Megan will come in and make an impact right away, something we look for in junior college transfers. She brings with her immediate collegiate experience, both in the field (OF and SS) and at the plate. She possesses leadership qualities as well, and is someone who can help lift up the team when we are down, by virtue of her bat, her defense, or her voice. We are very excited to have her become a part of the FMU softball family.”

FMU, which has earned NCAA Division II National Tournament invitations two of the past four years, ended its 2011 season with a 24-21-1 record. Vallee previously announced the signing of catcher Krissy Longstreet (Pinellas Park, Fla.) and first baseman Carly Madigan (King, N.C.) during last winter’s early signing period.

#164/6-28-11

Last Published: June 30, 2011 9:38 AM
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