FAYETTEVILLE – Five high school seniors signed national letters of intent to play softball at the University of Arkansas, head coach Jamie Pinkerton announced today. Brittany Griffiths of Texas, Tori Mort and Jessica Robison from Oklahoma, Kristen Rich, a Louisiana native, and Kelsie Vallies from Washington are the signees for the 2008 class. “This class provides great depth,” said Pinkerton. “Top to bottom, it’s one of the stronger classes we signed here. They will have the ability to replace three very important seniors that we’re losing.” Infielder Brittany Griffiths of Plano Senior High School in Plano, Texas, is a three-year letterwinner for the Wildcats. She was named newcomer of the year as a freshman, second team all-district as a sophomore, and first team all-district, NFCA All-Region and all-state as a junior. Griffiths also boasted the highest batting average at her school. Her club team, the Texas Glory Gold placed 13th at the ASA Gold Nationals this year. “We signed Brittany to solidify our infield,” said Pinkerton. “She is a great defensive player that is going to help us in the middle infield. She’s the type of players that’s going to be able to help us offensively too.” Owasso, Okla., native Tori Mort was a three-year starter and four-year letterwinner for Owasso High School. The Rams finished in the top five in state the past four years. Mort earned all-conference honors three years and all-region and all-state honors her senior season. She had a .362 career batting average with 150 hits and just three errors. “Tori’s going to help our corner outfield positions,” Pinkerton said. “She’s going to get us back to a slapping game. She has great speed and will challenge for a starting position her freshman year. She covers a lot of ground and is a very good pickup for us.” Jessica Robison, an infielder from Owasso, Okla., joins her sister sophomore Brittany Robison as a Lady’Back. Robison broke several records at Owasso High School including most hits (165), most doubles (47), most home runs (16), most RBI (115) and highest career batting average (.431). As a four-year starter, Robison was an all-metro and all-conference selection three years and her senior year she also earned all-regional and all-state honors. “Jessica is going to be able to provide some depth at the corners,” Pinkerton said. “She swings a very potent bat and is a very good defensive infielder. She’s going to provide a lot of punch in the middle of the lineup for us.” Kristen Rich is an all-state outfielder for the state runner-up Airline High School softball team in Bossier City, La. She finished last season with a .492 batting average and 64 hits, earning her all-district, all-city and all-state honors. As a three-year starter, Rich received all-city honors three years and all-district two years. “Arkansas hasn’t seen this kind of speed since (Rachel) LeMaster,” said Pinkerton. “She’s got an incredible amount of speed. Offensively, she’s going to pose a threat because she’s a slapper and can hit away.” Kelsie Vallies joins the Lady’Backs from Spokane, Wash., where she was an all-state pitcher for the North Central Indians. Vallies fanned 529 batters in her career and had a .400 batting average last season with 34 RBIs and six home runs. Vallies was the team MVP and an all-league selection the past three seasons. Her club team, the Washington Ladyhawks Gold took ninth place at the 2007 ASA Gold Nationals. “We’re ecstatic to pick up a pitcher the caliber of Kelsie,” said Pinkerton. “She brings in experience playing at a national level and is going to be a good compliment to our pitching staff. She is also a very good fit for our team.” Arkansas softball begins the regular season Feb. 8 at the Century Bank Classic in Texarkana, Ark. For more information about Arkansas softball, please log on to LADYBACKS.COM.