Mavs sign seven commits in softball

Kris Mort has used the same recruiting formula for the Mesa State College softball team for 15 years and has always hit about .500.

She’ll make offers to 10 players and get commitments from five. Offer eight, sign four.

During the early signing period, Mort made seven offers, figuring three or four players would say yes.

“We batted 1.000 this fall,” Mort said.

All seven players, within a 48-hour period, committed and signed to play for Mesa State starting in the 2009-10 school year.

Mort wasn’t specifically looking for a lot of middle infielders, but she sure found them.

“Somebody’s going to have to play outfield,” she said.

She signed Central’s Rachel Romine, who will likely play either first base or outfield.

“We always try to get the best players locally and I feel of the seniors in the valley, Rachel’s intensity, dedication, the family’s dedication to the game of softball, it’s really there in a package,” Mort said.

Lisa Pille, who played at top-ranked Rocky Mountain High School, signed with Mesa and plans to enter the nursing program.

“She’s got a 28 ACT and we kind of stole her away from Regis’ nursing program, which usually gets those 26, 27, 28 ACT kids, but she looked past Regis, a private school, to our nursing program. She’s a good shortstop. She’ll probably be a utility middle infielder or outfielder.

“It was a situation where I was not looking to sign middle infielders, and I ended up signing three of them. I was looking to get some depth, but I made three offers and all three of them decided to come here.”

Taylor Gross, a middle infielder/pitcher, played on one of the top California summer teams in Merced.

“She’s fast, hits from both sides of the plate, is a slapper,” Mort said. “She plays an excellent second base, has great hands. She can play some shortstop and spend some time in the circle, maybe the outfield.”

Mort has always tried to bring in players individually on recruiting visits, but had two big recruiting weekends this fall, and it paid off.

From Missoula, Mont., comes pitcher Danielle Axe, a tall left-hander who chose Mesa State over the University of Southern Utah.

“She throws hard and has really good ball movement,” Mort said. “She and the catcher clicked (on the recruiting weekend). The other kids they came in with, they realized, ‘They could be my teammates the next four years,’ and she clicked with the catcher, Whitney Bailey, from Austin, Texas.

“She’s got a good, strong arm, calls (pitches) well. We scrimmaged under the lights and she
and Danielle hit it off. She’s got a good arm and a good stick.”

The Mavs also landed summer teammates from Lake Havasu City, Ariz., catcher/third baseman Megan Smith and middle infielder Lindsay Drayer.

Drayer is another slap hitter with good speed and an A student who could end up being an outfielder because of her speed.

“These two kids play out of Phoenix, and one of their parents chauffers them back and forth to Phoenix every day to play summer ball,” Mort said. “The commitment level is there, they’re not falling out of love with softball.”

Smith is a slugger, which always goes over well in Mort’s power-hitting program.

“She ripped the cover off the ball,” said Mort, who was throwing batting practice when Smith was at the plate. “I told her, ‘I’m not sure where I’m going to play you, but you’re going to hit.

When you hit home runs, you’re gonna hit.’ ’’

Mort said the nursing program has been a big draw for players, along with the new facilities on campus.

“The biggest shock was what a difference the facility has been in selling Mesa State,” she said. “It’s always been pretty easy to sell the community, the weather, the sun shines 300 days a year, we drive them to the monument. It sells itself.

“We signed more than we intended to solely on the facilities.”


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