Softball signs four for 2013

    SIU head coach Kerri Blaylock

    SIU head coach Kerri Blaylock
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    Nov. 16, 2012

    By Bill Ford

    CARBONDALE, Ill.— Southern Illinois softball coach Kerri Blaylock announced Friday four players have signed with the Salukis for 2013.

    The 2013 signing class includes:

    Shaye Harre, P/1B, Nashville High School, Nashville, Ill.
    Merri Anne Patterson, IF/OF, Richland High School, Lynnville, Tenn.
    Jessa Thomas, C, Johnston City High School, Johnston City, Ill
    Brook Womack, IF, Central High School, Chattanooga, Tenn.

    “We are extremely excited to welcome this caliber of recruiting class to Saluki softball,” Blaylock said. “We were fortunate to keep two of these young ladies close to home and also fortunate to open up our Tennessee connection again. They were all highly recruited and we are so happy that they are Salukis.”

    Harre earned All-Conference and All-South honors the last three seasons at Nashville and was named Metro-East Co-Player of the Year and First-Team All-State the last two years. The cousin of Saluki Hall of Famer Amy Harre, Shaye Harre helped the Hornettes win the Illinois Class 2A state championship last season with a final record of 35-4. She has driven in 182 RBI in her three high school seasons and holds a career batting average over .520.

    “We are so glad that Shaye decided to stay close to home and play ball. She is a very athletic power hitter that will play first base and also pitch,” Blaylock said. “I am so excited for her to concentrate just on softball. She was an outstanding three-sport athlete in high school and I think her softball skills will flourish when she is able to concentrate on one sport.”

    Patterson hit .455 as a junior last season with a .485 on-base percentage and a .886 slugging percentage. She drove in 30 runs, including nine home runs, and scored 49 times for the Raiders. Patterson was named All-District after helping Richland go 32-5 last season.



    “Merri Anne is another gifted athlete,” Blaylock said. “She can hit for average and power. She runs very well and has a great arm. Merri Anne will be able to play both on the infield and outfield.”

    Another local product, Thomas earned All-Conference the last three seasons at Johnston City with All-South honors in 2011 and 2012 and All-State honors in 2011. She holds a career batting average over .400 with 120 total RBI and 26 home runs over her high school career. Her efforts helped Johnston City to a runner up finish at the 2010 Illinois Class 2A state championship.

    “Jessa is another player from the area that we are so happy to keep close. She is a great leader as a catcher,” Blaylock said. “She knows the game and does a great job handling a pitching staff. She produced some very good power numbers and I think that will continue as she is able to work on a daily basis with associate head coach Jen Sewell.”

    Rounding out the class, Womack is a three-time All-District and All-City player that earned All-Region and All-State honors during her freshman and sophomore seasons. She holds a career batting average over .460 with 81 RBI, 113 runs scored and 41 stolen bases over the past two seasons.

    “Brook is a tremendous athlete,” Blaylock said. “She is a shortstop that can play other positions because of her athleticism. She has a great arm and runs very well. Brook will also help replace some of the speed we have lost.”

    Harre and Thomas are club teammates for the Illinois Force along with Saluki freshman Lacey Newbold while Patterson and Womack play together for the Chattanooga Fury.

    “All four of these athletes played at the highest level of club ball," Blaylock said. "They played on two of the best club programs in the country and that experience will definitely help them transition to the next level."