HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Marshall softball head coach Shonda Stanton announced Tuesday the signing of five girls to National Letters of Intent during the early signing period.
Jordan Dixon (Edmond, Okla.), Morgan Kelley (Milton, W.Va.), Rebecca Myslenski (Seabrook, Texas), Jessica Watts (Wayne, W.Va.), and Morgan Zerkle (Milton, W.Va.) will all join the Thundering Herd for the 2014 season.
Kelley, Watts and Zerkle were all members of the West Virginia Mountain Thunder, a summer travel ball team which recently captured the 18-under eastern national championship. All three are local, West Virginia products with Kelley and Zerkle each originating from Cabell Midland High School in Ona, W.Va.
“These five signees are quality people, outstanding students, and successful athletes,” head coach Shonda Stanton said as she begins her 14th season with the program. “They all have qualified for various academic aid in addition to their athletic scholarships demonstrating their commitment to the classroom first and foremost. On the field, they each have made a tremendous impact on both their High School and travel organizations, and I really look forward to coaching this group.
“I appreciate all the time Coach (Amanda) Williams and Coach (Chelsey) Barclay have invested to help sign these student-athletes to our Herd family. “
Jordan Dixon | P | Edmond, Okla. | Edmond North HS
Dixon heads to Huntington via Edmond, Okla. where she was a pitcher for Edmond North High School. In the circle for the Huskies, Dixon was the winning pitcher as ENHS won the 6A Oklahoma State Championship this past season. During her team’s state tournament run, Dixon struck out 35 batters in three games. On the season she compiled a 23-1 record with 224 strikeouts. She also was strong at the plate with a team-high 41 RBI and went 6-for-8 during the state tournament.
Her summer ball team is the Oklahoma Exclusive Gold out of Midwest City, Okla. She has two sisters who played collegiately at Arkansas and were on Edmond North’s last state title team in 2004 as the team’s battery.
Why Dixon decided to attend Marshall: “I chose Marshall because I fell in the love with the campus, the coaches and the entire atmosphere of the town!”
Coach Stanton on Dixon: “Jordan is such a competitor on the mound having just led her team to a state championship this fall. She has great composure and will not be outworked. Her fierceness will be contagious and she will immediately make a difference for our program in the circle. She also frees up options with the DP (Designated Player) position being a good hitter which is always a benefit to have a hitting pitcher.”
Morgan Kelley | 1B/3B | Milton, W.Va. | Cabell Midland HS
From Cabell Midland, Kelley earned first team all-state honors and first team MSAC in 2012. Rotating between first and third base, she also earned honorable mention honors in 2011 both on the all-state and all-MSAC teams. She batted .385 in 2012; fifth best in the state while driving in 49 runs while scoring herself 23 times.
Outside of softball, she is a member of the National Honors Society, Student Council, English Honorary, and Spanish Honorary. Kelley plans to major in radiology.
Why Kelley decided to attend Marshall: “Growing up in the area and being a huge Marshall fan, it has been my dream to play here since I was a little girl.”
Stanton on Kelley: “Morgan has a strong bat and the power potential to be a middle-of-the-lineup type of hitter. Having been to several of our camps, we have been most impressed with her coachable ability and her attention to detail. She will be a joy to coach because of her desire to always be better and her passion for the green and white. Morgan has all the intangibles to continue to develop into a consistent every day performer.”
Rebecca Myslenski | 2B/SS | Seabrook, Texas | Clear Falls HS
Myslenski, a Seabrook, Texas native will join the Herd after playing for Clear Falls High School in League City, Texas. As a member of the Knights, Myslenski split time between second base and short stop while serving as a two-year varsity captain. She has earned both All-Greater Houston and All-County honors. She also helped her squad reach the Class 4A regional quarterfinal in its first year competing on the varsity level.
She played her summer ball for the Texas Aces Express Gold team. Myslenski intends to major in journalism.
Why Myslenski decided to attend Marshall: “I chose Marshall because I fell in with love the atmosphere, community, and most of all, the softball program.”
Stanton on Myslenski: “On defense, it is so important to be solid up the middle and Rebecca will provide that stability. She possesses the arm strength and range to be an incredible shortstop at the next level. She brings a confident presence to the field and has the ability to make the big play. Rebecca is a tough player and will be an important part of our program.”
Jessica Watts | UTL | Wayne, W.Va. | Wayne HS
Watts will attend Marshall after winning a state title this past season with Wayne (W.Va.) High School. She was selection to the all-tournament team following the Pioneers state tournament runs last year. As an accomplished player, Watts is a two-time first team all-state selection, three-time all Cardinal conference selection, a three-time first team all-academic selection and was selected second team all-conference as a freshman. She was also an ESPN High School Player of the Year nominee last season and a two-time team captain.
Off the field, Watts volunteers with Special Olympics, Little League and area nursing homes. She is a utility player who wants to focus her studies on nursing.
Why Watts decided to attend Marshall: “I chose Marshall because I feel as though it will challenge me to reach my fullest potential in both academics and athletics, and it fulfills a lifelong dream.”
Stanton on Watts: “Jessica is a versatile athlete that can play middle infield or the outfield. She was instrumental in Wayne’s state championship run and will transfer that winning attitude to her passion for the Herd. Having been well coached, she has great instincts on the bases with a good aggressive style of play. She continually looks for ways to improve her game and is such a determined ball player.”
Morgan Zerkle | INF | Milton, W.Va. | Cabell Midland
The final signee for Stanton is Zerkle. She is the second Cabell Midland product and third member of the Mountain Thunder to join the Herd during the early signing period. Zerkle is a two-time first team MSAC selection and all-state selection in 2011.
As an infielder, Zerkle had one of the state’s best batting average last season at .660. During her time with the Knights her additional alcolades including a 2011 nominee for Gatorade State Player of the Year and an all-state honorable mention selection in 2010 as a freshman. She plans to major in Athletic Training with an emphasis on Physical Therapy.
Why Zerkle decided to attend Marshall: “I chose Marshall because the university is home to me. I have grown up around Marshall, and to have the opportunity to play Division I softball close to home with some of my best friends is unbelievable.”
Stanton on Zerkle: “Morgan will be one of the faster players to ever come through our program. Her speed will put tremendous pressure on the defense and make her a tough out. She is a great fit for our offense and she will excel in our system. Zerkle has been a good infielder for Cabell Midland but we will also look to utilize her in the outfield because of her speed. Her potential is unlimited.”