Nov. 15, 2012
ATHENS, Ohio - Ohio Softball has added four student-athletes in the latest early signing period, the program announced on Thursday. The Bobcats will be welcoming Madison Claytor, Casie Hutchinson, Taylor Saxton, and Kristen Searcy beginning in the 2013-14 academic year.
"We're really creating a lot of depth in the infield with these student-athletes," said Head Coach Jodi Hermanek. "I think they'll be able to fill some leadership roles on the team as well."
"All four of these student-athletes are very strong academically," Hermanek added. "They all have high GPAs and have a strong dedication to the classroom, which is one of the biggest reasons they chose Ohio University. We're really excited to have the four of them join our roster."
Madison Claytor. C/INF. Alpharetta, Ga.
Madison Claytor will join the Bobcats from Alpharetta, Ga. The catcher/infielder is a versatile athlete, having thus far played three years of varsity softball and three years of varsity basketball at Mount Pisgah Christian School. A very solid hitter, Claytor boasts the following career offensive statistics:
Batting average: .370
Home runs: 4
"Madison is going to play an important role behind the plate, partnering up with Adrienne Gebele," Hermanek said. "She has an awesome swing, both technically and fundamentally. She can definitely hit for a high slugging percentage, which is something we'll need to fill in. She's very smart behind the plate and plays with incredible instinct as a leader."
Claytor brings a history of success with her to Ohio Softball, as her 2012 team earned a state championship, her 2011 team made it to the state final four, and her 2010 team was one of the final 16 teams remaining in the state tournament. Madison has been named All-Region in all three of her seasons, All-State as a sophomore and junior, and her team's defensive MVP as a freshman and junior. Well respected by her teammates, Claytor was a team captain during the 2010 and 2011 seasons.
In addition to her impressive accolades on the field, Claytor is an excellent student, making her way onto her high school's Honor Roll in all three of her years to this point.
Casie Hutchinson. INF. Lebanon, Ohio
Casandra `Casie' Hutchinson will come to Athens from Lebanon, Ohio. The infielder began her high school career with impressive marks and has only gotten better since her freshman season, showing the following progression in a number of offensive categories:
Offensive Statistics by Season (Freshman - Sophomore - Junior)
Batting Average: .374 - .415 - .469
On-base percentage: .436 - .495 - .571
Doubles: 6 - 11 - 12
Runs: 22 - 28 - 43
Almost across the board, Hutchinson's junior season has been her best. In addition to the statistics listed above, Casie drove in 42 runs and collected 45 hits in just 96 at-bats. She was also a team captain during her junior season.
"We love Casie for her amazing swing as a lefty hitter," Hermanek said. "We're really looking for her to come in and anchor down an infield position for us so that we can create more depth and strength in our infield. She's really going to be a big component in our offense moving forward."
Hutchinson's teams throughout her high school career have experienced enormous success. During her junior season, Lebanon went 31-2 en route to earning second place at the OHSAA state tournament. On the way to this record-setting mark for her school, the team won the Greater Western Ohio Conference championship, a sectional championship, a district championship, and a regional championship. The team also had a very successful 2010 season, claiming first in the GWOC while also winning sectional and district titles.
Taylor Saxton. INF. Circleville, Ohio
Coming to Athens from neighboring Circleville, Ohio, Taylor Saxton is a three-sport athlete who plays softball, basketball, and golf at Logan Elm High School. The senior is an accomplished softball player who earned First Team All-Conference honors (2011-12), First Team All-District honors (2011-12), and Honorable Mention All-Ohio recognition (2011-12). Following the end of the 2012 season, she was named Defensive Player of the Year and also earned Second Team Columbus Dispatch All-Metro honors.
During her junior season, Saxton proved to be a reliable offensive threat for her team, hitting .481 while driving in 11 runs and scoring 39 of her own.
In addition to being a solid softball player, Saxton is a very successful golfer. The senior has won multiple accolades on the golf course, including four conference Player of the Year awards en route to earning a medal at sectionals (2012) and a second-place finish at districts (2012).
"Taylor Saxton is a blue-collar, hard-nosed, scrappy young athlete who is going to offer a lot of speed to our lineup," Hermanek said. "She's one of those kids who want to get out there and play. She has been very successful in all of the sports that she has played, especially golf. Being successful in such an individual sport indicates that she has a strong level of self-motivation."
"She is going to offer us a lot of speed and quickness both in the infield and on the base paths," Hermanek added.
Taylor will fit in well with the strong academic tradition of Ohio Softball, as she has been recognized on multiple occasions throughout her high school career for being a stellar student. Saxton has been on the Honor Roll all four years of her high school career and was named a Columbus Dispatch Scholar Athlete in 2012. She is also involved in more than eight clubs at her school, including her Student Union.
Kristen Searcy. INF. Creighton, Mo.
Hailing from Creighton, Missouri, Kristen Searcy will join the Bobcats after playing four years of softball at Sherwood Cass High School. Like many of her future classmates in this year's group, Searcy is a multi-sport athlete. In addition to her time spent on the softball diamond, Kristen has participated in basketball, cross country, and track, all at the varsity level.
A consistent defender and a big threat on offense, Searcy posted impressive numbers during her most recent softball season. Kristen hit .645, got on base at a rate of .662, and posted an impressive 1.194 slugging percentage. She was nearly perfect in the field, successfully dealing with her fielding opportunities at a rate of .983.
Searcy received multiple accolades for her play on the softball diamond, earning All-Conference honors in 2011 and 2012, All-District recognition in 2010-12, All-Region honors in 2010-12, and was named First Team All-State in 2012.
Seen as a leader by her fellow student-athletes, Searcy was a softball team captain for the past three seasons and was a basketball captain in 2012.
"Kristen Searcy is a very sound, poised, and smooth infielder," Hermanek said. "She plays for a summer ball team which is highly accredited in the recruiting ranks, so she has had a lot of national exposure in terms of experience. Her bat has definitely developed over the last couple of summers and we're really excited to get her to become a leader on the left side of the infield."
Ohio Softball recently enjoyed one of its most successful offensive seasons in program history. The Bobcats will begin the 2013 season against Towson at the ECU Pirate Classic on Feb. 8.