Softball Bears Ink Four to National Letters of Intent



SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The Missouri State softball program received four commitments during the National Letter of Intent signing period, head coach Holly Hesse announced Thursday. Joining the Bears for the 2010-11 academic year will be Ashley Brentz (Ballwin, Mo.), along with a trio of standouts from the state of Texas, including Heather Duckworth (Mesquite), Jourdan Esquenazi (Prosper) and Savannah Wiggins (Huffman).

"This is a very talented, athletic and versatile group that we feel will make an immediate impact," Hesse says. "You have some speed with Brentz, some power with Duckworth and Wiggins, and we're excited about what Jourdan and Savannah will bring to the circle for us."

Brentz comes to the Missouri State program with the reputation as a speedy left-handed slapper who can play a number of different positions. A three-time all-conference selection as an infielder at Parkway South High School, Brentz swiped 50 bases in her career and helped lead the Patriots to a Missouri Class 4 runner-up finish as a junior in 2008. Playing on a team that produced three Division I signees, she added all-district and all-region honors to her resume after leading South in hitting with a .450 average this past fall. 

A four-sport athlete, as well as team mascot at North Mesquite High School, Duckworth is a three-time all-district performer as a corner infielder heading into her final prep season. This past spring, she was named Texas 11-5A District Offensive Player of the Year after earning a co-defensive player of the year nod the previous season. Duckworth also picked up district academic honors as a junior and played summer/fall ball for the same 18U Texas Glory Gold club that produced current MSU freshman Stevie Pierce.

Esquenazi will give the Bears another versatile weapon, but could have the chance to make an immediate impact in the circle for MSU. The right-hander was named Texas District 9-3A Pitcher of the Year in 2009, as well as Prosper High School's defensive MVP as a junior when she led her team to a regional semifinal appearance and a 26-10 overall record. The previous season, Esquenazi earned 9-3A's Utility Player of the Year honor in helping the Eagles to a district co-championship.

Wiggins joins the MSU program after earning Texas District 21-4's MVP award as a junior last spring for Hargrave High School. She is expected to see immediate action in the circle for MSU, but has the offensive tools to earn a spot in Bears' lineup as well. Wiggins enters her senior year as a three-time all-district performer, two-time team MVP and academic all-district honoree. She also earned four letters in volleyball at Hargrave and played summer ball for the 18U Texas Peppers Tanel 360 club.

Missouri State will kick off its 42nd season of varsity softball Feb. 12 against Marshall at the Stetson Lead-Off Classic in DeLand, Fla.



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