FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – On the heels of a 14-win improvement and an NCAA Tournament appearance, head coach Courtney Deifel and the Razorbacks’ softball team is set to welcome seven freshmen to the program. The newest group features Jada Dotson, Nicole Duncan, Kayla Green, Mary Haff, Linnie Malkin, Hannah McEwen and Kennedy Ratliff. The class of seven represents six states—Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Missouri and Tennessee—and is the second recruiting class for Deifel as the Razorbacks’ head coach.
“We are thrilled to welcome these seven student-athletes to the Razorback Softball family,” Deifel said of the latest class heading to Fayetteville. “This class is extremely well rounded, athletic and well versed in playing for championships. We are looking forward to their arrival on campus and the immediate impact they will have on our program.”
5-6 | OF | R/R
White House, Tenn. (Ensworth HS)
About Dotson …
Playing with the Tennessee Ballhawks in travel ball, Dotson was a four-time ASA state champion and was part of several top-10 finishes at the ASA National Tournament. She carried a .496 batting average while playing with the Ballhawks to go along with more than 50 home runs while averaging 40 stolen bases per season. In addition to her softball prowess, Dotson was a two-time state champion (shot put, 4x100m relay) for the Ensworth High School track and field team.
Jada is the daughter of Dewayne and Glenda Dotson, and has a brother, J.D. who plays football and competes in track and field at Centre College in Kentucky. Dotson plans to pursue kinesiology as a major at Arkansas.
5-7 | C | R/R
Centralia, Mo. (Centralia)
About Duncan …
After a senior season in which she hit .337 with seven home runs and 29 RBI for Centralia (Mo.) High School, Duncan was named to the Class 2A All-State First Team. In addition to all-conference and all-district accolades, she earned a place on the Premier Girls Fastpitch (PGF) All-Central Region Team. From her catcher’s position, Duncan threw out 14 of 16 runners and bookended her prep career with state titles in 2013 and 2016. An academic all-state honoree, she was also a four-year varsity member of the Centralia basketball team.
Nicole is the daughter of Delwyn and Mary Duncan, and has two siblings, Amber and Devan. Duncan played travel ball for the DeMarini Aces and plans to major in chemical engineering at Arkansas.
5-9 | C | R/R
Temecula, Calif. (Great Oak HS)
About Green …
Green comes to Fayetteville with past experience playing with a current Razorback as she and Autumn Storms were former prep teammates at Great Oak (Calif.) High School. During the 2016 season, Green carded a .342 batting average with three home runs and 23 RBIs to help the team to a quarterfinal appearance in the CIF Southern Section playoffs.
Kayla is the daughter of Amy Salgado and Michael Perkins, and has three siblings, Marley, Erika and Joseph. Green played travel ball with So Cal Athletics—also with Storms—and plans to major in kinesiology at Arkansas.
5-10 | RHP | R/R
Winter Haven, Fla. (Lake Region HS)
About Haff …
Haff capped her standout prep career with a 14-2 season in the circle to go along with a 0.58 ERA, 225 strikeouts and just 28 walks on her way to Premier Girls Fastpitch (PGF) All-Southeast Region honors. During her career at Lake Region (Fla.) High School, she registered a 49-9 record with a 0.72 ERA and 619 strikeouts. She helped Lake Region to a pair of state runner-up finishes and four district championships. Among her individual accolades, Haff was a two-time Florida Athletic Coaches Association 7A Softball Player of the Year and ranked as high as No. 47 in the FloSoftball Top 100.
Mary is the daughter of Ron and Tula Haff, and has a brother, Drake. In addition to her high school career, Haff’s travel ball team was the Rhode Island Thunder, and she is planning to major in biochemistry at Arkansas.
5-11 | INF | R/R
Broomfield, Colo. (Broomfield)
About Malkin …
During her senior season in leading Broomfield (Co.) High School to a state runner-up finish, Malkin registered a .603 batting average with 11 home runs, 35 RBIs and a 1.365 slugging percentage. In recognition of her season, Malkin was named the Colorado State Gatorade Player of the Year and 2016 5A Player of the Year. She also earned a spot on the Premier Girls Fastpitch (PGF) All-Mountain Region Team. A three-time all-state first teamer, Malkin helped Broomfield to two league titles and four state tournament appearances. She finished her career with a .495 batting average, 32 home runs and 127 RBIs.
Linnie is the daughter of John and Angela Malkin, and has a brother, Matthew. Malkin played travel ball with the Colorado Stars Gold team, and plans to enroll in the Walton College of Business at Arkansas.
5-7 | OF | L/R
San Diego, Calif. (Patrick Henry HS)
About McEwen …
On her way to CIF Western League MVP honors, McEwen registered a career-high .521 batting average and helped lead Patrick Henry (Ca.) High School to its second-consecutive CIF Division I runner-up finish. A multiple-time league honoree and three-time league champion with Patrick Henry, McEwen finished her career with a .463 batting average, 187 hits—64 extra-base hits—and 156 runs scored. She had 50 or more hits in each of her last two seasons including 2016 when she was the All-Eastern League Player of the Year.
Hannah is the daughter of Alana Massey and Craig McEwen. Like fellow 2017 signee Kayla Green and current Razorback Autumn Storms, she played travel ball with the So Cal Athletics organization. McEwen is planning to major in early childhood education at Arkansas.
5-4 | INF | R/R
Rison, Ark. (Rison)
About Ratliff …
An all-conference and all-state performer, Ratliff finished her senior season with a .604 batting average, 55 hits and 44 runs scored on the way to helping Rison (Ark.) High School win its first-ever state title. She was named to the Class 2A All-State Tournament Team for her postseason performance. Ranked just outside of the FloSoftball Top 100, Ratliff recorded a .582 career batting average at Rison to go along with 170 runs scored, 167 RBIs and 76 stolen bases. Along with the state title, she helped the Wildcats to back-to-back district championships as a junior and senior.
Kennedy is the daughter of Mark and Lori Ratliff, and has a sister, Macy. She played travel ball with the Texas Glory Adkins Gold, and is set to major in psychology at Arkansas.
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