UVA Wise softball announces recruiting class
WISE — Co-Head Coach Karen Bitter and the UVA Wise softball program announced the addition of Brooke Light, Kara Long, Jenna McDermott, Zariah Scales, Sarah Barrett, Madison Milne, Jessica McNeill, Madison Buchanan, and Hailie Lamb to the incoming 2020-2021 freshman class Tuesday.
The group of talented softball standouts hail from North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia and Delaware.
"Each year we get the opportunity to welcome the newest class of Cavaliers that will come in and help build upon the tradition we have here at UVA Wise," stated Karen Bitter. "Today we are excited to introduce Brooke, Kara, Jenna, Zariah, Sarah, Madison, Jessica, Mady and Hailie to the Cavalier Community and we look forward to the opportunity to help them continue their growth as players and as student-athletes this fall."
Brooke Light is a local standout from Union High School in Big Stone Gap, Virginia. A three-year letter winner for the Bears, she made the All-Mountain 7 and All-Southwest Virginia squads as a shortstop in 2019.
"Brooke first came on our radar when we had an opportunity to swing by the high school to watch a game after practice one day," remarked the coach. "It was clear she had a very strong arm and a defensive skill set that would be a great addition to our program. She is versatile player has had some experience in the outfield as well, which we really like.'
Kara Long is another local standout from Lebanon High School in Lebanon, Virginia. Long has been the starting shortstop for the Pioneers since her freshman year, earning All-Southwest District and All-Region 2D honors following her sophomore and junior seasons.
"The first thing I noticed about Kara was the energy and enthusiasm she brought to the field, she was commanding and dynamic, on top of being athletic," commented Karen Bitter. "She plays like a leader and we are excited to have that type of player join our program."
Jessica McNeill is a 5-foot-7 catcher from Eastern Randolf High school in Ramseur, North Carolina. In her junior season, McNeill played in 23 games and hit .340 earning her a 2019 Courier-Tribune All-County softball team honorable mention nod. The Wildcats finished 25-7 and earned a trip to the state 2A championship series. McNeil, in three games, was hitting .400 before her senior season ended.
'I had a chance to watch Jessica grow by being at a lot of the same summer camps early in her career. Jessica is an athletic catcher with a strong arm," Bitter recalled when asked about her recruitment. "Whether she is hitting for average or throwing runners out, she will add depth to our infield and offensive lineup.'
Jenna McDermott is an outfielder who hails from Middletown High School in Middletown, Delaware. In her junior season, McDermott was named Varsity Defensive MVP, First-Team All-Conference, and has been part of the All-Academic team every season.
"Jenna and I met in Virginia Beach at camp, and I knew she would make a great addition to our outfield," stated Karen Bitter. "Defensively she possesses a great deal of range, providing maximum coverage, plus she plays all out. Offensively, she is a left handed hitter who can slap and hit for power. We look forward to her addition to our outfield and offensive lineup."
Sarah Barrett comes to Wise from Gainesville High School in Gainesville, Georgia. Barrett is a three-time First-Team All-Region 8 honoree while playing or the 6A school. During her senior season, Barrett was named Offensive Player of the Year and Most Valuable Player. During her junior year she was named team captain and also earned Student of the Year honors. Barrett is also part of the track team and cheerleading squad.
"Sarah brings a lot of softball experience to the team. She is a tremendous athlete and has the ability to play multiple positions" remarked Karen Bitter when discussing Barrett's skill set. "She squares the ball up really well, and I expect her to give us more offensive depth. She also brings a lot of energy with her every time she plays."
Zariah Scales is a Virginia native from Magna Vista High School. In her junior season, Scales became the first softball player in school history to be named all-state twice, as well as the first player to be named to the all-state first team. Scales hit .562 with severn homers, 12 doubles, 38 RBI, and scored 30 runs with a .614 on-base percentage while splitting time at shortstop, centerfield and second base. She has consistently been a part of the All-Piedmont District team, and All Region 3D team throughout her softball career. Scales was also named Piedmont District Co-Softball Player of the year in 2019.
"Zariah is a tremendous ball player with the ability to hit for power consistently to all fields," stated the coach after her signing. "She brings a lot of experience and has played at a very high level. She is an elite athlete that I am beyond excited to coach in the infield."
A product of Woodgrove High School, Madison Milne comes to Wise from Round Hill, Virginia. The middle infielder lettered for three seasons, aiding the school to the VHSL 4A State Championship her sophomore season before the team finished runner up her junior season. Milne earned Second-Team All-Dulles District honors for her efforts and was also named team captain for her senior season.
"Madison a great kid and we're really excited to have a player of her defensive ability come in," Karen Bitter stated. "She's going to be pushing some of our other infielders and we expect her to help us offensively, Madison has an outstanding personality who loves the sport and loves being a great teammate."
Hailie Lamb is from Stanardsville, Virginia and attends United Christian Academy. In her first three seasons, Lamb played softball at William Monroe High school. During her sophomore season, Lamb posted a 9-1 record with 56 strikeouts in 80 1/3 innings pitched. Her efforts earned her First-Team All-District, All-Region and All-Central honors. She continued that success into her junior year, boasting All-District and All-Region acclaim again.
"Hailie is a solid addition to our pitching staff and will strengthen our efforts in the circle, she does a nice job of locating the ball and has a ton of upside," the former college pitcher commented on her newest addition in the circle. "I am excited begin working with her, Hailie has a toughness about her along with a passion for the game, which is going to take her really far."
Mady Buchanan hails from Staunton River High School in Bedford County, Virginia. Buchanan was a two-year starter at third base for the Golden Eagles where she boasted a .387 on base percentage as a junior.
"Mady is just a good size kid with some good experience at third base, she's really physical in her approach to her game," Karen Bitter remarked. "We know she'll continue to develop and push her teammates, Mady has some pop in her bat and will be a great addition offensively, along with her defensive skill set."
UVA Wise is a member of NCAA Division II and will enter its second season of play in the South Atlantic Conference in 2021.
UVA Wise Sports Media Department
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