Bears add four for 2007-08
The Missouri State softball team has received commitments from four high school seniors for the 2008 season. Christa Gammon from Belleville, Ill., Ashley Knehans from Dardenne Prairie, Mo., and teammates Tyler Porter and Jenna Schwark from Broken Arrow, Okla., have commited to the Bears and will enroll at Missouri State next fall.
Christa Gammon is a senior at Belleville East High School in Belleville, Illinois, where she has been a three-year letterwinner and two-year starter for the Lancers. As a junior, Gammon led Belleville East to the Illinois State Tournament, as she batted .301, notched 36 hits and 13 RBIs, stole 28 bases, and had a .360 on-base percentage. She was named first team all-area and all-metro shortstop and Second Team All-Southwest Conference shortstop. This past summer, Gammon played second base on her Summer National Team and received Second Team All-America honors at the national tournament in Buffalo, N.Y. As a senior this spring, Gammon will look to lead the Lancers to a third straight Southwest Conference Championship.
"Christa is a very versatile athlete that comes from a solid program," said Missouri State head softball coach Holly Hesse. "She can play many positions and will be used in a utility role for us at Missouri State."
Ashley Knehans played first and third base this fall for Fort Zumwalt West High, leading the Jaguars to a school-record 24 wins and the Gateway Athletic Conference South Championship. She earned first team all-conference and all-metro honors and was named second team all-state, as she batted .459 with four homers, 22 RBIs, and 31 runs scored while posting .527 on-base and .735 slugging percentages. Prior to tranferring as a senior, Knehans was a three-year starter at third base for Hazelwood West High School, where she was a two-time First Team All-Suburban North Conference performer and was the league's Player of the Year as a junior. The 5-9 righthanded batting and throwing Knehans will play first and third base for the Bears.
"We're very excited to sign one of the best players in the state of Missouri in Ashley," commented Hesse. "Recruiting the state and the St. Louis area is very important for us, and any time we can sign a player of her calibur is very gratifying."
Tyler Porter helped lead Broken Arrow High School to the Oklahoma 6A State Championship this fall as the Lady Tigers set a school record in wins with a 41-1 record. Porter earned All-Frontier Conference, all-region, and all-state honors as a senior outfielder for coach Randall King. The four-year letterwinner was part of four regional championship and two state championship teams in her four seasons. The 5-5 lefthanded-hitting, righthanded-throwing native of Broken Arrow, Okla., will play in the outfield at Missouri State. Porter is joined by high school teammate Jenna Schwark in the Bears' 2006-07 recruiting class.
"Tyler is a lefthanded slap hitter with good speed who reminds us of (current senior outfielder) Katie Martin," remarked Hesse.
Jenna Schwark joins high school teammate Porter as new members of the Softball Bears. Schwark was a four-year letterwinner and three-year starter in the infield for Broken Arrow High. Schwark was a co-captain on the Lady Tigers' 2006 state championship team and earned all-conference and all-state honors at second base as a senior. The team won a school-record 30 games in a row during the season. As a junior, she earned All-Frontier Conference recognition as a third baseman and also was named to the All-Tulsa Metro Team. As a sophomore, Schwark was the all-conference second baseman on the regional championship team and played a reserve role at third base on the state championship team as a freshman. The righthanded-hitting, righthanded-throwing Schwark will play in the infield for the Bears.
"Jenna can play both second and third base and will add depth to our infield," stated Hesse. "Tyler and Jenna come from a program that knows how to win, and we are excited about the winning attitude these two will bring."
Missouri State finished the 2006 season with a school-record 40 wins and earned the team's first berth in the NCAA Tournament since 1998 after winning the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. Head coach Holly Hesse will enter her 19th season at Missouri State this spring and has an overall record of 480-450-2. The Bears will open their season on Feb. 10 at the University of Central Arkansas Lead-Off Tournament in Conway, Ark.