FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas softball team and head coach Mike Larabee have announced the signings of six players for the 2013-14 season.
Kelsey Berlin, Jessica Harrison, Shelby Hiers, Grace Moll, Parker Pocklington and Sydney Wright signed national letters of intent. Rachel Box and Loren Krzysko also committed to the program but will enter as preferred walk-on’s.
“I’m extremely excited about our 2013 recruiting class,” Larabee said. “The entire group is very athletic, they all have a great “blue collar’ work ethic and are outstanding students. I feel that each recruit has the ability to come in as first year players and compete for playing time. They will definitely continue to help our program climb the ladder in the SEC and nationally.”
Keley Berlin is a transfer from Butler Community College. She will pitch for the Razorbacks in the 2013-14 season, but Berlin is currently a sophomore at Butler CC and she pitched against the Razorbacks in the fall. Head coach Mike Larabee liked what he saw out of the second year player.
“She is very athletic and was very impressive when she pitched against us this fall,” Larabee said. “She has outstanding control and will add quality depth to our pitching staff. “
Rachel Box will be a preferred walk-on for the Razorbacks next season. She will stay in-state as she plays for White Hall High School in White Hall, Arkansas. Box hit .459 with 10 home runs, 43 RBIs and 33 runs scored while slugging .941 on the state championship winning squad last season.
“Rachel came to an all-skills camp in August and impressed our entire coaching staff,” Larabee said. “She is without a doubt one of the top hitters in the state of Arkansas.”
Shelby Hiers is a catcher from Quitman, Ga., where she is a 4.0 student at Brooks County High School. Hiers is a .528 lifetime hitter and hit .706 with 30 RBI her junior year. An All-Region Player of the Year, coach Larabee has brought in another big bat to the Arkansas lineup.
“Shelby is what every coach dreams about in a catcher,” Larabee said. “She has hit some of the farthest and hardest balls I have ever seen. She has improved tremendously in all areas of her game and I expect her to come in and compete at a very high level her first year.”
Jessica Harrison is from Magnolia, Texas, where she plays at Magnolia High School. She was a first-team All-District performer at third base and coach Larabee cannot wait to see her in Razorback red.
“She has one of the best mechanically sound swings that I have seen since coaching in the college game,” Larabee said. “Throughout travel ball she has consistently hit the top pitchers that she has faced and is a threat to hit it out every at bat. I love her energy and passion for the game. She never stops talking on the field.”
Loren Krzysko, a preferred walk-on, hails from Barrington, Ill., where she plays third base at Barrington High School. She is a three year starter and has tallied a .360 career batting average. She has also hit 24 homeruns and drove in 96 RBI in her three years. A two-time member of the Chicago Tribune All-State team and a first-team All-State performer, coach Larabee is happy to see the Chicago product joining the Arkansas family.
“Lightning in a bottle best describes Loren,” Larabee said. “She just recently began playing at a high level of travel ball and is making great strides. Loren has tremendous power for her size and plays very well on the defensive side of the ball. She is very passionate about the game and it shows.”
Grace Moll is a native of Shelbyville, Ill. She is a first-team All-state performer at Shelbyville High School and pitched her way to 69 wins in her first three years in the circle. Coach Larabee is excited about the hard thrower.
“Grace is one of our hardest throwers that we have ever recruited,” Larabee said. “Over the last year she has really improved her mechanics, movement and location. I feel she will be consistently in the 70s once she starts our strength and conditioning program. Grace will also get an opportunity to swing the bat in our program.”
Parker Pocklington plays her high school softball at Centralia High School in Centralia, Wash. She can play any infield position and will be utilized as a utility infielder at the college level. Pocklington has been a first-team All-League performer in high school.
“Parker is another very high energy player who is always one of the dirtiest players at the end of the game,” Larabee said. “Parker can play all of the infield positions and will bring great depth to our infield. She has played a very high level of travel ball the last several years and has done well offensively against some of the best pitchers in the nation.”
Sydney Wright is a pitcher from Jacksonville, Fla. where she is a standout at Bishop John Snyder High School. She hit .371 lifetime for the Cardinals and was an All-State performer on the mound. She was the Florida Times Union Player of the Year in her junior season.
“Sydney is a very talented athlete that will help us in the circle and in the batter’s box. Has the ability to single-handedly beat any opponent with her arm and bat. I’m really anxious to see her get started in our strength and conditioning program and watch her get to another level. She has one of the nicest swings you will ever see.”