Softball Notebook: French Tabs Eight Signees for UMBC Softball

BALTIMORE – UMBC head softball coach Joe French has announced the addition of eight players to the 2014 Retrievers' roster with the signing of Jessica Holte (Ashland, Va./Atlee), Kelly Lane (Albany, N.Y./Colonie Central), Nicole Casagrand (Horsha, Pa./Hatboro-Horsham), Kaelin Jackson (Export, Pa./Franklin Regional), Erin Trnka (Goffstown, N.H./Goffstown), Jaci Buckley (Voorhees, N.J./Eastern Camden Regional), Kinsey Shifflett (Smithsburg, Md./Smithsburg) and Megan Parker (Berlin, N.J./Eastern Camden Regional).

"We were looking to bolster our pitching staff with power arms and we feel we did that with arguably the finest pitching class in recent years," French said. "We added three good arms to our staff. "Another area of concern was the middle infield, where we were able to add depth to a spot that we will graduate two middle infielders in 2014 year. We also added speed in the outfield and depth to our roster at catcher and in the corners with these eight signees.

"These student-athletes will enhance our program right away and give us the depth and firepower to compete for an America East Championship," continued French. "With our recent strong recruiting classes we will be a strong contender for years to come."

Jessica Holte
Ashland, Va./Atlee

A member of the Atlee High School softball team… Virginia High School League (VHSL) Capital District First Team All-District Pitcher (2010-12)… VHSL All-Central Region Second Team in 2012… Named her team's MVP in 2011… Helped her team to a Capital District Championship against defending Virginia AAA State Champion Lee Davis, the Raiders' first district championship in 10 years… Played club ball for the Richmond Rampage… Three-time All-Academic VHSL Capital District Softball… Honor roll student… Sister Elizabeth is a senior pitcher on the softball team at Christopher Newport University…

French on Holte: "Jessica is a very gifted player, who will make an immediate impact to our program. She has excellent command and a lot of power, having finished last season as one of the top pitchers in the state of Virginia."

Kelly Lane
Albany, N.Y./Colonie Central

Helped Colonie Central High School to a New York State Section 2 Class Championship in 2010… A two-time member of the Suburban Council All-Stars First Team (2010, 2012)... Named to the Times Union All-Area Large School All-Stars First Team and received Most Valuable Player recognition from Times Union and Suburban Council in 2012… A New York State All-Stars Second Team member in 2012 after finishing the season with a 14-2 mark, 0.74 ERA and 173 strikeouts… Also batted .536 with 25 RBI as a junior… Earned Suburban Council All Stars Second Team recognition and Times Union All-Area Large School All-Stars Second Team honors as a sophomore… Also played basketball for the Raiders… Played summer ball for the TC Tremors Gold in upstate New York… A member of the National Honor Society…High honors student.

French on Lane: "Kelly is a right handed hitter, who can play multiple spots defensively for us. She brings tremendous upside for us in being a pitcher and position player."

Nicole Casagrand
Horsham, Pa./Hatboro-Horsham

Played club ball for Tuff N Tuffer Gold, where her pitching and hitting guided her team to a 17th place finish in the ASA Gold Nationals over the summer… Played for the same high school as former UMBC pitcher Amy Sadowl, who currently ranks third all-time with the Retrievers in wins.

French on Casagrand: "Nicole played for a very competitive club team in Tuff N Tuffer Gold. The program has continually put numerous players into the Division I collegiate ranks. She brings a solid left-handed bat and is a quality left-handed pitcher. "

Kaelin Jackson
Export, Pa./Franklin Regional

Helped Franklin Regional to WPIAL Section 2 AAAA Championships for the past three seasons… A Pittsburgh Tribune All-East All-Star selection as a junior… Selected as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Section 2 AAAA All-Section shortstop in 2011 and catcher in 2012... Franklin Regional's Team MVP in 2011… Played summer ball for the Pittsburgh Power Gold where she hit .460 and tabbed a .981 fielding percentage… A high honors student.

French on Jackson: "Kaelin brings great versatility and has the ability to play anywhere on the field, except pitcher. She has good hands and a strong arm. Kaelin hits the ball very hard and has tremendous long ball power."

Erin Trnka
Goffstown, N.H./Goffstown

Played ball for Goffstown High School… An honor roll student… National Honor Society member… Played travel ball for the Central Massachusetts Rapids Gold team.

French on Erin: "Erin is an all-around athlete, who has the ability, with her glove and speed, to play all three outfield positions. She is a slap hitter that is also capable of laying down the quick bunt and has great experience batting at the top of the order."

Jaci Buckley
Voorhees, N.J./Eastern Camden Regional

Played high school softball for Eastern Camden Regional… Helped the team to state championships in 2012 and 2010... Teammate of UMBC signee Megan Parker… A member of the Newtown Rock Gold, who placed high in the gold nationals in 2012.

French on Jaci: "Jaci has a very good arm and great hands in the middle of the infield. She is also a very good base runner and will bring some quickness to our lineup."

Kinsey Shifflett
Smithsburg, Md./Smithsburg

A two-time Herald-Mail All-County First Team honoree at Smithsburg High School… Batted .422 with seven doubles, nine walks, 16 RBI and 21 runs scored as a sophomore… In her junior season she batted .522 with eight doubles, two homeruns and 29 runs batted in.

French on Shifflett: "Kinsey knows the game and manages her pitching staff very well. She takes charge behind the plate and will be a great leader for us."

Megan Parker
Berlin, N.J./Eastern Camden Regional

Was a part of the 2012 State Championship team at Eastern Camden Regional High School… Teammate of UMBC signee Jaci Buckley… Earned first team all-conference honors as a junior and second team all-conference recognition in 2011… Was named the team's Unsung Hero in 2012 after hitting .448 last season with 21 RBI… Offensive MVP in 2011… Helped the team to the state championship in 2010… Also played basketball and field hockey for the Vikings… A member of the Spanish Honor Society… An honor roll student… Played summer ball with the Philadelphia Spirit Gold.

French on Megan: "Megan is a straight away hitter, who will drive the ball. She has good hands and a strong arm."

Other News:

-Winter Clinic on Feb. 9 still has openings. For ages 7-18, cost is $65.00. Clinic set for 9 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

The clinic includes instruction from Head Coach Joe French, staff and current UMBC Retriever student-athletes. Scrimmage games will be played in the afternoon of both outdoor clinics. All other sessions will cover hitting, fielding, throwing and pitching mechanics as well as conditioning and the softball recruiting process.

-The Bull Roast on Feb. 9 from 6-10 p.m. at the K of C Columbian Center in Severn Park, also still has openings. Call or email for more information.

-UMBC rookie Rachel Ionata was named the College Sports Madness America East Preseason Freshman of the Year, in addition to receiving a spot on the 2013 Madness America East Preseason All-Conference Second Team. Sophomore captain Taylor Hall also earned all-conference recognition, earning a spot on the first team.

-Opening day is on Feb. 14 at Southeast Louisiana.