Nov. 13, 2013
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - The Missouri State softball team will add five players for the 2015 season, head coach Holly Hesse announced today.
"We are very excited to be adding two area standouts," said head coach Holly Hesse. "We will fill some needs left by our graduating seniors. All of these players play for highly successful and competitive teams and I anticipate them contributing with speed and power."
Kaitlin Beason, P/1B, 5-8, Webb City, Mo., Webb City High
Beason was a four-year standout for head coach Walter Resa at Webb City High. A three-time Central Ozark Conference Player of the Year, she led her Cardinals to four-consecutive undefeated seasons in conference play and the district title in each of her seasons. Beason led Webb City to the Class 4 state championship game as a senior after third-place finishes at state in her freshman and sophomore seasons. She earned all-conference, all-district, and all-region accolades in each of her four seasons and picked up all-state honors three times. In the circle, she had an ERA below 1.00 in three seasons and struck out 165 batters in 126 innings as a senior, a year that included a perfect game. At the plate, Beason slammed 27 career home runs, drove in 164 runs and hit .400 or better in all four seasons. Beason won the 2012 16A ASA National Championship with Tulsa Elite '95.
"Kaitlin will help us out in many areas of the game," said associate head coach Beth Perine. "She will provide depth at first and on the mound and add another power bat to the middle of the lineup."
Molly Fields, C, 5-7, Breese, Ill., Mater Dei High
Fields enters her senior year having played three seasons for head coach James Arnold at Mater Dei Catholic High. A second-team all-state selection as a junior, Fields has steadily improved her batting average from .424 as a freshman to .554 last spring as a junior. She has earned Most Offensive Player of the Year each of the last two seasons and has been an all-metro selection all three seasons at Mater Dei. Fields was named team MVP as a sophomore and was named St. Louis Post-Dispatch Athlete of the Week on May 1, 2012. During her career, she has driven in 92 runs in just 82 games. Fields played for the St. Louis Gamers Fastpitch competitive team from 2011 to 2013. With the Gamers, she led the team to a first-place finish at the Hall of Fame Tournament in Oklahoma City in 2012 and they were co-champs of the Scenic Classic in Chattanooga, Tenn., in 2013.
"Molly will come in and be solid behind the plate right away," stated Hesse. "She brings a consistent stick to our lineup."
Chelsea Thomas, 3B, 5-8, McKinney, Texas, McKinney High
Thomas has played three seasons at McKinney High as a pitcher and a third baseman. She already holds the MHS career record for walks and runs batted in through just three seasons of play. As a junior, Thomas earned all-district first team honors. She was named Dallas Morning News Player of the Week on April 7, 2013 after tossing a four-hit shutout and crushing two home runs while driving in four runs in a 6-0 win over then District 10-5A leader. Her sophomore season, she was named the District 10-4A Pitcher of the Year and led her team to an area title. She picked up DMN Player of the Week honors on April 8, 2012 after tossing back-to-back no-hitters, games in which she recorded double-digits strikeouts. As a freshman, Thomas set the MHS single season record with 45 RBI en route to the District Newcomer of the Year nod. Her competitive team, American Freedom Gold, ranked as high as No. 2 in North Texas. Her sister, Ashley, plays shortstop for Georgia Tech, where she was named ACC Player of the Year in 2013.
"Chelsea is an aggressive hitter and will give us another big bat in the middle of the order," said associate head coach Sue Frederick. "She is a leader on the field and plays an aggressive style at the corner."
Erika Velasquez Zimmer, OF, 5-0, Coppell, Texas, Coppell High
Velasquez Zimmer has played her first three seasons for head coach Katie Krug at Coppell High. She will be a team captain as a senior, her second-straight season in the leadership role. She has been named to the all-district first team each of her three seasons with the Cowgirls. Velasquez Zimmer was named a team MVP in each her three seasons as well. She has helped her Texas Glory competitive teams to top-three finishes twice, a runner up finish with 16U Naudin in 2011 and a 3rd-place finish with 18U in 2013.
"Erika has the speed to cover a lot of ground in the outfield," stated Perine. "She is a slap hitter that can add speed in our lineup."
Hailee Vigneaux, OF, 5-7, Nixa, Mo., Ozark High
Vigneaux played four seasons for head coach Yancey Little at Ozark High. While with the Tigers, she set a school records with 70 career stolen bases and finished second all-time with 151 hits and 115 runs scored at OHS. Vigneaux earned first-team all-conference, all-district and all-region accolades in each of her final three seasons. She was an all-state selection as a senior and as a sophomore while leading OHS to three straight state tournaments, including a Class 4 state runner-up finish in 2012. She has played for the Ozark Dynamite, where she led the competitive team to a runner-up finish at the 2010 ASA Nationals. She moved to the Tulsa Elite '95 team in 2012 and piloted the team to a top-six finish in the ASA/USA 18U Gold Nationals in both seasons there.
"I am excited to have Hailee join the team," said Hesse. "She has many tools at the plate and will be a spark in the lineup."