CHARLESTON, S.C. - The Charleston Southern softball team and head coach Shane Winkler announced the signing of Holly Clark, Mallory Kasinger, Samantha Ferguson, Rebekah Lenos, Olivia Norton, and Christi Takac during the early signing period. The signees will join the CSU squad in the 2016-17 season.
The early signees have Winkler excited about the future of CSU softball as the Buccaneers continue to add talent and impact players all over the field.
"I couldn't be more excited about our 2016 recruiting class," said Winkler. "We are adding a little bit of everything with this class which will help keep our program competing for championships in the Big South for years to come. We add big time talent in the circle as well as both speed and power to both the infield and the outfield. A few of these players will be impact players the moment they step foot on campus. The future of Buccaneer Softball is very bright!"
The Bucs will release their 2016 spring schedule slate next week. The schedule features three home tournaments, trips to UCLA and South Carolina, as well as home conference clashes against Radford, Longwood, Campbell and Presbyterian.
Holly Clark – Clark signs with Charleston Southern by way of Jordan-Matthews High School. The 5-6 right-handed pitcher also lined up for the Lady Lightning Gold Premier travel ball team. Clark has been named the Mid State 2A Pitcher of the Year in each of the past two seasons and has accumulated 494 career strikeouts during her time at Jordan-Matthews. Clark was also a three-time All-Conference, All-District, and All-State selection, leading Jordan-Matthews to the the NCHSAA 2A State Runner-Up at the 2014 state tournament.
From Clark – "While visiting campus on my unofficial visit, I immediately felt welcome, and at home. CSU provides the small-campus and Christian lifestyle that I am looking for. Also, Coach Winkler and Coach Duncan provide the style of coaching I need to in order to succeed at the collegiate level. I can't wait to start my career at CSU, and become a part of the Buccaneer family."
Winkler on Clark – "I'm excited to be adding Holly to our pitching staff next season. She has the potential to be one of the top pitchers in the Big South and with her in the circle in addition to the pitchers we already have on staff, we should be in a position to compete for championships for years to come. Holly is a perfect fit for our program. She's competitive on the field and is a great student and even better person off the field. She's going to do great things in a Buccaneer uniform."
Mallory Kasinger – Kasinger signs with CSU by way of Riverside Polytechnic High School. A corner infielder, the 5-7 athlete also lined up on the Batbusters Perez travel ball team. Kasinger was a four year varsity softball player and was named to the All-League Second Team over the past two seasons. A power threat from the plate, Kasinger was the leading home run hitter during her time at Riverside Polytechnic.
From Kasinger – "I choose CSU because the campus and city is beautiful. It is a small college and has the major that I am interested in. Also, they have a really good softball program and everyone seems very welcoming."
Winkler on Kasinger – "Mallory has the ability to be an immediate impact to our program by playing multiple positions and adding another power bat to our lineup. She has played for a very competitive travel ball organization with the Batbusters and she'll be ready to step in and be a difference maker in our lineup. Mallory also adds a great deal of energy and excitement to the Navy and Gold. She's going to be fun to watch over the next four years."
Samantha Ferguson – Ferguson signs with CSU by way of Dixie High School. The 6-0 centerfielder has been a power threat from the plate at both Dixie and for the Lady Lightning travel ball team. Ferguson built off a successful sophomore campaign that saw her finish the season with a .495 batting average with nine doubles, seven triples, five home runs and 47 RBI, by surpassing those marks in her junior year. Last season saw Ferguson post a .510 batting average, with 13 home runs and 51 RBI.
From Ferguson - "When I visited CSU, I just knew it was the place for me!"
Winkler on Ferguson – "Sam adds a tremendous amount of power to our lineup next season. She has the potential to develop into one of the biggest power threats in the Big South during her time at CSU. She's every bit of 6 foot and she plays that big. Sam can cover a ton of ground in the outfield and to go with her power bat she also has a power arm that should lead to a number of outfield assists. Playing John Corns Lady Lightning, she's only going to get better and better in her preparation for next year and beyond."
Rebekah Lenos – Lenos signs with CSU by way of Middletown-Madison High School. A middle infielder, Lenos also lined up on the Ohio Hawks 18u Gold travel ball team. Lenos is a four year starter at second base at Middletown-Madison, helping lead the team to the district finals in her freshman and sophomore seasons, while advancing into the regional tournament her junior year. During the state playoff run in her junior season, Lenos recorded a .521 batting average with two triples, two doubles, six runs scored and eight RBI. A speed threat from the plate and on the bases, Lenos also recorded 24 stolen bases in her junior season.
From Lenos - "One huge constant when looking at schools during the recruiting process was whether or not I felt comfortable there. The second I stepped onto CSU's campus for my first visit, I knew I wanted to be here. I instantly felt at home and couldn't be happier than to end up where I am. I'm beyond proud to be a BUC!"
Winkler on Lenos – "We made it a point to add more speed from the left side of the plate for next season and Rebekah adds just that to our lineup. She has the athleticism to play 2nd base and possibly compete elsewhere in order to get her speed into our lineup. I'm excited about the energy that Rebekah will add to our team in addition to her work ethic both on and off the field. She's exactly the type of individual we want competing for the Bucs."
Olivia Norton – Norton signs with CSU by way of Riverside High School in Greer, S.C. She also lines up on the Carolina Elite travel ball team playing both at first base and in the outfield. Norton was a four-year letter winner at Riverside, earning All-Region 2-AAAA honors, as well as being named to the Byrnes Rebel Invitational All-Tournament team. During her time with Carolina Elite, Norton lined up on the team that finished 9th overall at the 2014 16u Gold Nationals, as well as 28th overall at the 2015 18u Nationals.
From Norton – "I chose Charleston Southern University because they have an excellent nursing program and a great softball program. I love the small town community feel of CSU in beautiful Charleston and of course it's close to the beaches!"
Winkler on Norton – "Olivia is another perfect fit for our program. She not only is going to add another quality bat to our lineup with athleticism to the outfield, but she's a great student as well. It takes a special individual to excel in our school of nursing and on the field and that's exactly the type of individual Olivia is. She comes from a very competitive Carolina Elite program and adds to our growing number of South Carolina kids. She will be a great addition to our program next season."
Christi Takac – Takac signs with Charleston Southern by way of Charlotte Christian School. A middle infielder, Takac shined on the NC Xtreme travel ball team. She was a four year varsity starter and NCISAA All-Conference player. Takac also holds the Charlotte Christian school record for triples.
From Takac – "I happily chose CSU because not only do I get to continue my softball career, but I get to go to a University where I can openly pursue the Lord and receive an education based on Christian values. The location is also ideal!"
Winkler on Takac – "Christi is the type of player that is going to immediately make everyone around her better. She's going to bring in an excellent work ethic both on and off the field. She adds to our middle infield depth immediately and adds another quality bat to our lineup. I only see her getting better and better during her time here as she has the potential to be a run producer in our lineup in the future. It's important to us to add players with high character and that's exactly what Christi adds to our program. She's going to be fun to coach during her career here at CSU."