Jan. 9, 2012
For photo gallery of signees, click here
Auburn, Ala. - The Auburn softball team signed seven players for the 2012 class, receiving letter of intent from Marcy Harper, Austyn West, Lexi Davis, Tiffany Howard, Jade Rhodes, Kelsey Bogaards and Emily Carosone to begin competition in spring of 2013.
"I am very happy with the student-athletes we have coming in for fall 2012," Auburn head coach Tina Deesesaid. "They are a very athletic group. The position players can move around and play solid defense at multiple positions. The pitchers are tough competitors in the circle. This group is solid in the classroom too and we are thrilled they have chosen to become part of the Auburn family."
The Tigers signed one player from Alabama, one from North Carolina, one from Georgia and four from Florida.
Marcy Harper played for Hoover High School where she was the 2010 and 2011 Class 6A Central Region MVP and the Alabama Player and Pitcher of the year in 2011.
"Marcy is a gifted athlete that has been successful at every level of play," Deese said. "She has had an incredible high school and travel ball career to this point. I'm excited to see how she will finish her high school career here in Alabama."
Harper helped lead Hoover to the second-place finish in the 2011 state playoffs as she hit 15 home runs, drove in 69 runs and hit .378. In the circle, Harper posted a 36-12 record with 16 shutouts, 439 strikeouts and a 0.78 ERA in 298.0 innings of work.
Harper played for the Birmingham Vipers travel team for the past seven years.
Austyn West played for Lawton Chiles High School in Tallahassee, Fla. West set school career records for RBI and doubles and tied the school record for home runs. West helped take Lawton Chiles to the Elite Eight round of the state high school playoffs in 2011. West played for the East Cobb Bullets travel ball team that won the 2010 ASA 18-G national championship.
"Austyn possesses great strength and can crush a softball," Deese said. "Austyn will provide a ton of power to our offensive line up."
Lexi Davis played for Porter Ridge High School in Indian Trail, North Carolina. Davis helped Porter Ridge to a second-place finish in the 2011 state playoffs as she posted a 0.45 ERA with a 23-2 record and 218 strikeouts. Davis also hit .446 with 24 RBI and a pair of home runs.
"We are going to see Lexi in many different roles as a Tiger, but her primary spot is on the rubber," Deese said. "Lexi is very talented and has the size and the work ethic to be a great player. I am also extremely excited about Lexi as a student."
Davis also earned conference pitcher of the year honors as a freshman in 2009 and as a junior in 2011. Davis played for the Lady Lightning Gold 18-U travel ball team.
Tiffany Howard played for Bryan County High School in Pembroke, Ga. Howard was a three-time Region 3A Player of the Year (2009-11) and the Region A State Player of the Year in 2010 and 2011. Howard holds the state record for hits in a season (80), stolen bases in a season (43) and career hits (243).
"Tiffany Howard is a straight `A' student and a very exciting player," Deese said. "I love her energy out on the field and her focus in the classroom. Tiffany has great speed and is a natural left handed hitter that can hit for power and play the short game. I look for Tiffany to be our spark plug offensively and she can play anywhere on the field."
Howard helped lead Bryan County to a fourth-place finish in the 2010 state playoffs and a fifth-place finish in 2011. Offensively, Howard hit .656 in 2011 with 69 stolen bases and 73 runs scored. As a pitcher in 2011, Howard posted a 28-8 record with a 1.63 ERA and 266 strikeouts in 193.0 innings of work.
Emily Carosone played for Pine Castle Christian Academy in Orlando, Fla. Carosone has helped lead Pine Castle to three state championships. Carosone was named the Florida High School 2A Player of the Year in 2011.
"Emily will bring some left handed power to the plate for us in 2013," Deese said. "Emily has been a standout on a Gold National Championship team for the last two years and she brings a winning work ethic to Auburn."
Jade Rhodes played for Sarasota High School in Sarasota, Fla. Jade is the daughter of Major League Baseball pitcher Arthur Rhodes and helped lead Sarasota High School to a runner-up finish in the state championships in 2010.
"Jade is going to be an exciting player to watch in the next four years," Deese said. "She is blessed with a great pair of hands at the plate and we can see her playing in many different positions defensively."
Kelsey Bogaards played for Palmetto High School in Miami, Fla., the same high school as current Tiger Lauren Guzman.
"Kelsey is definitely a coach's kind of player," Deese said. "She has a strong arm, great glove, speed and power, but what excites us the most is her work ethic and her ability to play under pressure."
Bogaards was named to the All-Dade First Team in 2010 and 2011. Bogaards hit .313 in 2011 and has helped Palmetto to three consecutive district titles.
The Auburn softball team opens the 2012 season Feb. 9 at home against Alabama State. The Tigers play their first nine games of the season at home including hosting the SEC/ACC/Big 12 Challenge Feb. 17-19. The tournament features Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech.
The Tigers finished the 2011 season with a 40-19 overall record and a 15-13 record in the Southeastern Conference. Auburn was ranked for 11 consecutive weeks in the NFCA poll and advanced to the semifinals of the SEC Tournament after defeating third-ranked Florida in the first round.