Softball Inks Six During Signing Period
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Southern Miss softball coach Wendy Hogue announced Friday the addition of six student-athletes for the 2019 season during the early signing period.
The Golden Eagles have added catcher Breana Blankenship (New Port Richey, Fla./River Ridge HS), right-handed pitcher Kaylan Ladner (Kiln, Miss./Hancock HS), outfielder Kaitlyn Passeau (Lucedale, Miss./George County HS), right-handed pitcher Makenna Pierce (Daphne, Ala./Daphne HS), utility player Madison Rayner (Stringer, Miss./Stringer HS), and infielder Terrica Williams (Lawrenceville, Ga./Archer HS).
“As we worked to secure a solid 2018 class, we knew we needed a couple of big arms, and I’m confident we’ve added some great ones,” said head coach Wendy Hogue. “We also needed to add more speed and power to the lineup, and that’s certainly been done. It will be exciting to see how these six young ladies become a part of our journey to the top!”
Blankenship, a three-time All-Area Selection hit .483 her junior year and has amassed 17 doubles, nine triples, and four homeruns during her time at River Ridge High School. The New Port Richey native plays travel ball for the MS Elite Gold.
“Bre is a kid we saw play a couple of years ago and immediately knew she was a great fit for Southern Miss,” said Hogue. “As a catcher, she’s a great communicator, a consistent hitter with pop, and a fierce competitor.”
Ladner, a right-handed pitcher, garnered a 1.31 ERA with 116 strikeouts in just 69 innings in her last high school season at Hancock. She, along with Blankenship and Rayner, played for the MS Elite Gold travel team that finished Runner Up at ASA Gold Nationals in the summer of 2018. During Nationals, the Kiln, Miss. Native picked up 46 strikeouts in 36 2/3 innings last year, surrendering no earned runs in the circle.
“I have followed Kaylan Ladner for years and am so very happy she is finally a Golden Eagle,” said Hogue. “KK is a true competitor and a first-class student-athlete who has the ability to make an immediate impact in Conference USA.”
Passeau, posted a .414 batting average with six homeruns, 22 doubles, six triples, 63 RBIs and 14 stolen bases at George County High School. Passeau played the 2017 summer tournament circuit with West Mobile Express.
“Kaitlyn is a talented athlete who swings a big bat from the left side,” said Hogue. “We were looking to add a power lefty to the team and KP will be a great fit.”
Pierce, posted a .420 batting average with 48 doubles, 19 homeruns and 146 RBIs in three seasons at Daphne High School, along with 652 strikeouts in 600 innings pitched for a 1.07 career ERA. She is a three time All-State Selection that plays for the West Mobile Express travel ball team.
“Makenna is a three-time All State pitcher/third basemen who will impact our squad on both sides of the ball,” said Hogue. “Her family has deep roots with Southern Miss and we are thrilled to have her joining the Golden Eagle family.”
Rayner, another teammate on the MS Elite Gold travel ball team, posted a .418 on the 18U Gold circuit this past summer to lead the team to a Runner Up finish at ASA Gold Nationals. The three-time district MVP and Stringer High School standout has only nine strikeouts in 376 plate appearances and has a .540 batting average with 65 stolen bases.
“Madison has the ability to be an impact player from day one,” said Hogue. “She’s a true utility player who has an arsenal of offensive weapons from the left side. She’s gritty, and plays every game as if it’s her last.”
Williams, the Gwinnett Country Offensive Player of the Year in 2017, posted a .469 average with nine doubles, 12 homeruns and 52 RBIs in her senior season. The Lawrenceville native played for both the Atlanta Premier and Atlanta Vipers travel ball teams.
“We are anticipating great things from Terrica. Former Southern Miss coach Sharon Perkins introduced us to T and her powerful bat a couple years ago,” said Hogue. “Fortunately, after a few trips to Hattiesburg, she was just as hooked on Southern Miss as we were her. I am happy to have finally made it official.”
The Golden Eagles open their season on the road in Baton Rouge, La. at the Tiger Classic, February 9-11.