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December 06, 2005

Eagles announce early signings

EVANSVILLE, Ind.The University of Southern Indiana softball team has announced its early signings. Four players signed either a national letter of intent or a grant-in-aid to play for Head Coach Sue Kunkle's Screaming Eagles in 2007.

Kunkle's signings include a pair of junior pitchers, Amy Harrison (Graceville, Florida) and Stephanie Schneider (Birdseye, Indiana) a junior catcher/infielder, Courtney Bates (Boonville, Indiana) and a freshman utility player, Brooke Pennington (Evansville, Indiana).

Harrison is currently enrolled at Florida State University where she played in 2004 and 2005. She is sitting out the 2006 season and will have two years of eligibility when she joins the Eagles next fall.

Harrison was a first-team All-State selection and was the class 2A Player of the Year as a senior at Chipley High School. She was the class 5A Pitcher of the Year as a junior at Southside High School.

As a freshman at FSU, Harrison was part of the Seminoles' 2004 ACC and regional championship team that placed fifth at the NCAA I Women's College World Series. She competed in the USA Athletes International squad in Holland this past summer, helping the team go 8-0 by posting a .042 ERA and 52 strikeouts.

"Our coaching staff was able to see Amy's ability first hand when she was a member of our USA Athletes International team in Holland last summer," Kunkle said. "She is a dominating pitcher with tremendous ability.

"Amy will get the opportunities that she deserves here on our pitching staff," Kunkle continued. "She will most likely carry a huge portion of the pitching duties at USI for the next two years and we feel very fortunate to have her join our program."

Schneider helped lead Parkland College to a 53-8 record and second-place finish at the NJCAA II National Championship Tournament in 2005. She recorded a 14-2 record, a 1.39 ERA, and 113 strikeouts in 90 1/3 innings of work as a freshman in 2005. Schneider also held the opposition to a team-low .184 batting average.

Prior to attending Parkland, Schneider spent a semester at Oakland City University. She graduated from Forest Park High School where she was a first-team All-State selection and member of the Indiana South All-Star team as a senior in 2004. Schneider also earned All-District V honors as a junior in 2003.

"Stephanie also will carry a big percentage of the pitching duties," Kunkle said. "Being a junior college transfer, she will bring a lot of experience and knowledge to our program. She also adds depth to our offensive line up."

Bates helped Wabash Valley Junior College to a fourth-place finish at the NJCAA I National Championship Tournament as a freshman in 2005. She hit .352 with nine RBIs and a home run in 71 at-bats, en route to earning second-team All-Region XXIV honors.

WVJC finished the season with a 50-5 mark and set a school-record with 42 consecutive victories. The Lady Warriors won the Great Rivers Athletic Conference title as well as the NJCAA Region XXIV championship.

Bates graduated from Boonville High School where she was a member of four Big-8 Conference championship squads. She earned second-team All-State honors as a junior in 2003 and was named All-District V as a senior in 2004.

"Courtney is an outstanding catcher who will be a great addition to our team," Kunkle said. "She has a great arm and a presence behind the plate. In addition to the catching duties, Courtney also is going see time at first base and third base."

"We also anticipate Courtney bringing additional power to the offensive lineup," Kunkle continued. "She will only continue to grow and we are expecting good things from her."

Pennington is a senior at Harrison High School where she has earned varsity letters in softball and dance. She earned first-team All-State honors as a junior in 2005 after recording 15 wins, 157 strikeouts, a 0.51 ERA, and four saves.

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