SAINT LEO, Fla. – Fresh off the 2011 campaign, Saint Leo softball coach John Conway has announced the signing of three incoming freshman, as McKenzie Burns, Kaitlyn Diaz, and Ashley Ehlers have signed National Letters of Intent to play softball at Saint Leo University beginning in the fall of 2011.
In total, Saint Leo has signed seven to National Letters of Intent including, Victoria Cooper, Angela Kafalas, Torrie Weindorf, and Kelsey LaNeave, all of whom will be highlighted over the coming days. Making up the class are five infielders, one pitcher, and one outfielder. In addition, six of the seven players hail from the central Florida region.
"I am very excited for this incoming class to take the field and begin play. They will bring energy and a sense of excitement to the game as well as the teach-ability that a coach covets. Each presenting a team-first mentality, I fully expect each of these seven to be excellent representatives of the program and university. I am also confident they will help us achieve of our goal of being successful in the Sunshine State Conference, both athletically and academically."
The current squad sees five seniors retiring from the Lions' jersey.
Central High School/Florida Havoc
Burns joins the Lions as a decorated multi-sport star from Hernando County. Outside of her primary softball skill, the future Sport Business major was an all-county tennis and basketball player, being named team captain (2008-2010), team MVP (2009-2010), and All-Suncoast Conference (2009-10) during her high school career. Her chief talent, softball, is where Burns truly shines, earning multiple accolades as a four year starter with Central HS.
A three-time team MVP (2008-2010), Burns was tabbed All-Suncoast in 2009 and 2010. Her most notable accomplishment, however, came in a trio of seasons as the three-time captain was named Hernando County Player of the Year her sophomore, junior, and senior seasons.
She concluded her senior campaign hitting .551, collecting 38 hits in 59 at-bats. Holding an on-base percentage of .575, Burns stole 26 bases, scored 21 runs and did not strike out a single time.
Conway's Perspective: "Mackenzie has above average speed and is a very good all-around athlete. She will put pressure on opposing defenses with her slapping abilities and speed on the base paths. She also has great range and will compete for a spot in the middle infield.
Chamberlain High School/Tampa Mustangs
Diaz was a four-year starter for Chamberlain HS, located in Tampa, Fla. As a sophomore in 2009, she was named Most Improved Player of the Year, as well as an All-Hillsborough County Honorable Mention selection. A .288 hitter through three seasons for the Chiefs, Diaz combined to score 49 runs and knock in 33.
A defensive specialist, the future Sport Business major highlighted her sophomore season with a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage, as she did not commit an error in the infield.
Diaz spent her travel ball years playing for the Tampa Mustangs where she collected a .345 batting average, in addition to a 1.000 fielding percentage. She also scored 39 runs and amassed 35 RBI.
Conway's Perspective: "Kaitlynn has the ability to play nearly everywhere on the field except in the circle. She has a winning attitude that will be contagious and is coming off a strong senior year season offensively in high school."
Dunedin High School/Tampa Mustangs
Ehlers took to the circle for Dunedin HS where she was named team MVP in each of her four seasons for the Falcons. The incoming Biology major finished her career second in the county in total strikeouts. Ehlers, a travel ball teammate of Diaz, played for the Tampa Mustangs where she was coached by Tim Mouse.
As a senior, Ehlers controlled the circle with 125 strikeouts. In addition, the Dunedin, Fla. native also made an impact with the bat amassing a .358 batting average while driving in 15 runs.
Conway's Perspective: "Ashley will have an opportunity to compete in the circle right away. She has a great presence on the mound and possesses great intangibles that will help us in the win column next season."