SIU head coach Kerri Blaylock
Nov. 13, 2013
CARBONDALE, Ill.—Southern Illinois University head softball coach Kerri Blaylock announced Wednesday four players have signed with the Salukis for 2014.
The 2014 signing class includes:
Savanna Dover, Pitcher, Canton, Georgia
Savannah Fisher, OF, Orlando, Florida
Jessica Heese, UT, Platte City, Missouri
Sydney Jones, C/3B, Royal Palm Beach, Florida
“We went outside the box with this class and really expanded our recruiting,” said Blaylock. “We went after some kids that were being pursued by some BCS schools and attracted them here to Southern. They have all played at the highest level of summer ball which will allow them to adjust very well to Division I. They all are very passionate about being Salukis.”
Dover earned first-team All-Region and All-State honors in 2012 at Cherokee High School and was named Region 5 AAAAAA Pitcher of the Year. The three-time All-County selection recorded 276 strikeouts and with a 0.83 ERA. Dover complied eight shutouts and four no-hitters during her 2012 campaign.
“Savanna will be able to come in and contribute on the mound right away,” Blaylock said. “She has a combination of speed and great movement. She has played at the highest level of travel ball to prepare her for a competitive Division I schedule. We are excited about her future as a Saluki.”
A native of Orlando, Fla., Fisher batted .476 her junior year, leading the Metro-Orlando area in home runs with 11. The All-Metro shortstop selection recorded a .507 on-base percentage and was named the Most Valuable Player for three seasons at Lake Nona High School.
“Savannah is a great athlete. She has great size and power but also speed to go along with that,” Blaylock said. “She is athletic enough to play shortstop but we will more than likely use her to cover a ton of ground in the OF. She was recruited by several schools in the south and we were lucky that she chose to come and play for us.”
Heese, a four-year varsity starter at North Platte High School, recorded a .648 batting average her senior season. The two-time All-State selection compiled 43 RBIs and eight home runs in 2013 with a .675 on-base percentage. The Platte City, Mo. native was also named a four-time All-Conference and four-time All-District selection while at NPHS.
“Jesse is a powerful kid for her size,” Blaylock said. “She hits the ball extremely hard. She has one of the stronger arms that we have had here at Southern. She plays with a quiet confidence that we were drawn to.”
Jones hit .348 as a junior last season at Palm Beach Gardens High School. She drove in 22 runs including three home runs, two triples and seven doubles. The first-team All-County and All-Conference selection led her team to a District championship with a 19-9 record.
“Syd is such a great receiver behind the plate. She is such a natural as a catcher,” Blaylock said. “She also does a great job at third which makes her very valuable. She plays for one of the best high school programs in the country and will be very ready to play at this level.”