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June 04, 2009

Eagles announce three signings

EVANSVILLE, Ind.The University of Southern Indiana softball team announced that junior third baseman LeAnn Collins (Rolling Prairie, Indiana) as well as freshmen utility players Samantha Barbee (Jasonville, Indiana) and Jessica McCullough (Evansville, Indiana) have signed national letters of intent to play for Head Coach Sue Kunkle's Screaming Eagles in 2010.

Collins comes to USI from Wabash Valley Junior College where she hit .488 with 16 home runs and 79 RBIs after hitting .438 with six home runs and a school-record 83 RBIs as a freshman in 2008.

An All-Great Rivers Athletic Conference and All-Region XXIV performer, Collins helped Wabash Valley to the 2009 NJCAA I Region XXIV title and a berth in the NJCAA I National Championship Tournament in St. George, Utah.

In two seasons, Collins has helped Wabash to a 91-10 overall record as well as two GRAC championships. The Warriors won the 2008 Region XXIV title and were seventh at the NJCAA I National Championship.

Collins graduated from New Prairie High School (New Carlisle, Indiana) where she earned All-State honors as a senior in 2007. She also helped NPHS to a second-place finish at the IHSAA Class 3A Tournament as a junior in 2006.

"LeAnn is a tremendous player with a great glove and an outstanding bat," Kunkle said. "She has a lot of power at the plate and will be an impact hitter immediately. LeAnn had an amazing career at Wabash Valley and we are looking for her to do the same at USI."

Barbee is currently a senior at North Central High School (Farmersburg, Indiana) where she has earned varsity letters in cross country, basketball, and softball. She was the Ladybird Pride Award winner in 2006 and 2007 and earned the TRC Awards for cross country and softball.

In 2009, Barbee hit .449 with seven doubles, three home runs, and 13 RBIs. She also brings a good glove as she finished her senior year with a .987 fielding percentage in 158 chances.

"Sam is a talented and versatile player with strong fundamentals who brings depth to several areas of our team," Kunkle said. "In addition to being a strong defensive player, Sam can hit with power from both sides of the plate to help us offensively."

McCullough is finishing up her senior year at Reitz High School where she has earned four varsity letters in softball. In the last two seasons, McCullough has hit .277 with two home runs and 14 RBIs.

Last summer, McCullough hit .260 with a home run and 12 RBIs for her travel ball squad, the Lakeview Lady Aces.

"Jessica is another versatile player that can help us in a lot of different areas," Kunkle said. "She has displayed the ability play at shortstop and third base as well as the outfield and inside the circle during her prep career. She also played first base and some outfield on her travel ball team."

Barbee, Collins, and McCullough join freshman infielder Stephanie Bittner (Evansville, Indiana) and freshman outfielder Katherine Belsito (Greenwood, Indiana) on USI's list of newcomers for the 2010 season. Bittner and Belsito signed national letters of intent during the early signing period last fall.

Dan McDonnell,
USI Sports Information

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