Valparaiso softball head coach Jordan Stevens announced today that six athletes have signed National Letters of Intent during the early signing period and will join the Crusader softball program starting in the fall of 2012.
“We are very pleased with the caliber of talent and athleticism in our 2012 class,” said Stevens. “This group of quality student-athletes has the ability to keep our program at the top and in contention for Horizon League championships.”
Janelle Bouchard is a 5’7” catcher who comes to Valpo from Kennebunk, Maine. A three-time First Team All-State selection, Bouchard has earned team MVP honors at Kennebunk H.S. each of the last three seasons as well. A versatile player, Bouchard twice has been named Southern Maine Athletic Association (SMAA) Defensive Player of the Year and added SMAA Offensive Player of the Year accolades to her defensive honor last season.
“Janelle is one of the best catchers in the Northeast and we are very happy she has decided to continue her career here,” said Stevens. “She possesses very good defensive skills and has great leadership ability behind the plate.”
Mackenzie Buchelt is a 5’7” corner infielder out of Lisle, Ill. Buchelt has been named Team MVP at Lisle H.S. each of the last two years and is a three-time All-Conference selection. She also has earned All-Area accolades during her career and has been an All-State Honorable Mention selection.
“Mackenzie is a very good corner with the ability to hit for power,” said Stevens. “She joins us from the White Sox Academy and has been well prepared for college softball. Her defensive abilities at the corner positions will provide for good depth at those positions.”
Sydney Dow is a 5’9” right-handed pitcher and utility player from El Reno, Oklahoma. Dow helped El Reno H.S. to three straight regional championships and state semifinal appearances, was named Newcomer of the Year as a freshman and was a two-time All-Conference honoree. Dow moved to Okarche H.S. prior to her senior season this fall and helped lead Okarche to the district title. She earned All-Region honors as a senior and has been selected to play in Oklahoma’s All-State game.
“Sydney comes to us from one of the nation's most notable travel program in the Tulsa Eagles,” said Stevens. “She can pitch, hit with tremendous power and play on the infield for us. She is an all-around athlete with a great upside.”
Kendra Marshall is a 5’6” utility player who comes to Valpo from Leesburg, Ind. A two-time First Team All-Northern Lakes Conference (NLC) selection out of Warsaw H.S., Marshall was named Warsaw’s Best Offensive Player as a freshman and earned the team’s Golden Glove Defensive Award as a junior after setting a school record for assists in a season.
“Kendra will be a great asset to the team with her ability to play multiple positions,” said Stevens. “She is very aggressive at the plate and can hit for power and average. Her attitude and passion for the game will fit very well within our program.”
Kaitlyn Ranieri is a 5’2” outfielder who joins the Crusaders from Schererville, Ind. Ranieri has helped Lake Central H.S. to the state semifinals in each of the last two years. An All-Conference selection the last two seasons, Ranieri was named Lake Central’s Team MVP and also earned All-Area honors for her sophomore season.
“Kaitlyn's approach at the plate is one of the best I've seen,” said Stevens. “Her left-handed stick will fit nicely in our lineup. She is also very smooth defensively, with a good arm and knack for reading the ball, and is a travel teammate of Mackenzie’s.”
Taylor Weissenhofer is a 5’10” left-handed pitcher from Orland Park, Ill. Weissenhofer has helped pitch Lockport Township H.S. to the IHSA 4A Regional title in each of the last two seasons, and also helped lead Lockport to a conference title in 2010. Chosen as a member of the All-22nd Century Media Softball First Team, Weissenhofer posted a 10-2 record with a 1.23 ERA and 111 strikeouts last season.
“Taylor is a left-handed pitcher with good velocity and good movement,” said Stevens. “She has a lot of tools that will make her into a very good college pitcher. Her ability to move the ball and change speeds will pay off immediately.”