TERRE HAUTE — A big part of softball is having quickness and slap hitters who can place the ball where they want, so it’s not hard to figure why St. Mary-of-the-Woods Coach Gary Rodgers wanted recent Terre Haute North grad Kelsey Rosselli to join his program.
“She has good speed and quickness, which we look forward to using on offense and defense,” Rodgers said. “As an outfielder, she reads the ball off the bat very good and has the quickness to track the ball in the gaps. As a hitter, her quickness and speed will let us use her in the top of the batting order or in the nine spot as another leadoff hitter.”
Rosselli joins a long line of local athletes who continue their careers at the nearby school.
“Our graduating class left openings in our outfield and I look for Kelsey to step in and compete as a freshman for that position,” Rodgers said. “We are very happy that Kelsey chose Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College to continue her academic and softball careers.”
North Coach Jack Kirchner has a similar assessment of Rosselli’s skills.
“Kelsey is very quick in the outfield and gets a good jump on the ball,” he said. “I think she will make SMWC a good centerfielder.
“She knows the game of softball, reads hitters very well, speed, power, pull, being late and that kind of thing,” Kirchner added. “She’s a hard worker and we will miss her.”
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• Woodason lands at OCU — After an excellent two-year baseball career at Lake Land College, North grad Andrew Woodason was set to continue playing at Division II Milligan College in Tennessee.
Some problems with his academic major were going to interfere with his studies, so he has changed plans and will now attend Oakland City University in southern Indiana.
“Milligan didn’t have my major and I would have had to drive to East Tennessee State to take most of my classes,” Woodason said. “OCU was a great fit for me academically and athletically. They have my major and have close to 100 percent job placement after graduation.”
Woodason noted that two other former Lake Land players are also now going to Oakland City, making the decision easier.
“Those two were my two best buddies on my team at LLC so with them being there with me, it will make it a smoother transition while going to a new school,” he said. “At OCU, the plan is for me to either play 1st or 3rd and to hit in the middle of the order at either the 4th or 5th spot in the batting line-up. I am looking forward to getting down there and meeting my new team and getting started with practice and fall ball.”
Woodason hit .366 his freshman year at LLC and this spring he hit .336 with six home runs and 26 RBI.
“Coach [T-Ray] Fletcher has been working hard at recruiting the best players he can to turn the program around, and with what we will have coming back and with the new recruits, I feel that we will have a really good team this year,” Woodason said. “Going to a junior college was probably the best decision I have made in my baseball career because I not only got to be on a team, but I was able to be a starter for the last two years which has enabled me to get a scholarship for the next two years at a 4-year so I can finish up my degree.”
• Franklin lands Greene County pair — Keith Cunningham, who quarterbacked Linton-Stockton’s football team to a 13-1 record last fall and a semistate appearance, was also a standout baseball player for the Miners and will play both sports for Franklin College.
“I am very glad to have this opportunity,” Cunningham told the Greene County Daily World. “Playing football and baseball have both been really important to me. Since about the second grade, they have both been a big part of my life.”
Cunningham, a shortstop on the baseball field, said he was pleased that he did not have to choose between his two favorite sports.
“It would have been hard to pick just one,” Cunningham said. “I love playing both of them and it would have been very difficult to choose just one.”
Bloomfield pitcher Cody Pearson also has committed to play for the Grizzlies. Pearson hit eight home runs this season and finished with 21 home runs, a school career record. He had a 5-1 pitching record and had a school-record 20 strikeouts against White River Valley.
Franklin College baseball coach Lance Marshall said he was pleased to have Cunningham and Pearson to join his program.
“Keith and Cody are both good student-athletes,” said Marshall, who has been head baseball coach at the NCAA Division III school since 1997 and also is the college’s coordinator of athletic recruitment. “I am very pleased to have both of them coming to Franklin College.
“Cody and Keith both are talented baseball players. They should be able to contribute to our program and fit in here very well.”
• Meggs hires assistant — New University of Washington baseball coach Lindsay Meggs has named Stanford assistant coach Dave Nakama as his top assistant coach.
Nakama will coordinate all the hitting, assist with team defense and oversee outfielders. He and Coach Meggs crossed paths in the Northern California Division II ranks when they coached at San Francisco State and Chico State, respectively.
“Having Dave on the staff is like having another head coach in the dugout,” Meggs said. “He has all those intangibles. He knows how to run the game both offensively and defensively, and even more valuable to me right now is that he knows the Pac-10 inside and out.”
“I’ve always loved the Northwest because of my collegiate experience,” said Nakama, who attended Willamette College in Salem, Ore. “This is a great opportunity to be in a place that I like a lot. It’s a great school. When I was at Stanford, it was my favorite trip, coming up to play the Huskies. And, I get to work with Coach Meggs, who I have the utmost respect for. I think he’s a great coach.”
Joey Bennett is a former Tribune-Star sports reporter and copy editor who now teaches and coaches at Northview High School in Brazil. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.