Donley Canary, head softball coach at the University of Tennessee at Martin has announced the signing of nine players to softball scholarships. The nine players include Kelsi Dickey from Mt. Juliet; Alli Fulcher from Hendersonville; Lauren Myers from Brentwood; Taylor Saxon from Dewy Rose, Ga.; Katie Warrick from Chapel Hill; Brooke Graham from Lyles; Alexa Combs from Crossville, Ill.; Gracyn McBride from Metropolis, Ill.; and Jessie Douglas from Brookport, Ill.
“We needed help at a lot of different positions with the loss of seven seniors next year,” said Canary who enters his 14th year as head coach of the Skyhawks. “The class as a whole is the best that we have ever brought into UT Martin, at least on paper. It has speed, power, baserunning ability, kids that hit both for average and power along with power pitching. It meets a lot of the needs that we will be losing.”
Dickey is a 5-7 position player that will play the outfield for the Skyhawks. Dickey prepped for head coach Jody Attwood at Friendship Christian where she helped the team to a 26-16 record as a junior. Last season she posted a .426 batting average along with a .462 on-base percentage to go with five home runs, five triples, 43 RBIs and 44 runs scored. Her statistics earned her Tennessee Softball Coaches Association Division II-A Miss Softball East-Middle Tennessee honors along with All-State recognition.
“Kelsey was a Division II Player of the Year as a junior. She has tremendous speed with a mixture of power. Although she is coming off injuries, we expect her to make a big impact following a full recovery.”
Fulcher is a 5-5 middle infielder from Station Camp High School where she prepped under head coach Ken Crook. She hit .463 as a sophomore for Station Camp while posting an impressive .409 average with nine home runs and just six strikeouts with the Germantown Red Devils 16U team.
“Alli can play in the middle infield and is an outstanding hitter. She’s played on a great travel team for the past two years with the Germantown Red Devils that has performed nationally. She’s purely a hitter. She’s not a large athlete, but hits with great power.”
Myers is a 5-5 outfielder from Ravenwood High School where she played for head coach Christina Pangello. Among several career accolades, Myers has been named Rookie of the Year, a two-time Athlete of the Week, Offensive Player of the Year, All-District and an All-Middle Tennessee Class AAA All-State selection.
“We saw Lauren play late this summer out in Colorado with the Huntsville Sparks. She’s a great student with outstanding softball ability. She runs extremely well, can slap for average or swing away with considerable power. She’s an All-State performer from the left side that is an outstanding defensive outfielder as well.”
Saxon is a 5-6 athlete who splits time between the pitching rubber and first base. She hails from Hart County High School where she played under head coach Britney Burton. In 25 games this season, she has hit .313 with two home runs and 14 RBIs. For her career, Saxon has notched a .339 average with 10 home runs, nine doubles and 53 RBIs. As a pitcher she has posted a 2.22 record in 23 appearances. She has recorded 138 strikeouts and allowed just 42 earned runs in 132.2 innings of work.
“Taylor is a young lady that we got a late start on. We got a good lead on her and we saw that not only can she pitch, but can also hit with power. She’s going to be a combination player that can both pitch for us while splitting time between the DP spot and first base when she’s not in the circle. She gets after it and plays hard, we’re very excited to have her join our program.”
Warrick is a 6-0 corner infielder from Forrest High School where she played under Becky Cheatham. She was a Class A All-State selection after leading the Lady Rockets to a 31-6 record and a state tournament appearance. Along with All-State honors she was named All-District MVP. One of her top performances came against Nashville Christian School in the opening round of the Region 6-A Tournament, belting a pair of home runs to clinch a spot in the finals.
“Katie is a young lady that kind of fell into our lap. We had seen her play back in the summer and she had early verbally committed to another institution and thankfully decided that this is where she wanted to play. She’s an outstanding power hitter, the likes that I can’t remember ever signing before. She has good fielding ability and is very agile that can play at both third and first base.”
Graham is a 5-4, switch-hitting outfielder who hails from East Hickman High School where she played under head coach Todd Collins. Among her numerous accolades throughout her career, she took home a Golden Glove award, and was a two-time recipient of both the most stolen bases award and highest batting average along with the Game Changer Award her junior year.
“Brooke is a left-handed slapper that we have seen develop for several years through our softball camps. She’s another kid that can absolutely fly and we will see her man the outfield as she is a great defensive outfielder as well as a strong baserunner.”
Combs is a 5-7 middle infielder out of Carmi-White County High School where she prepped under head coach Scott Conner. Combs is three-time All-South honoree along with being named first team all-conference as both a sophomore and junior. As a junior, Combs hit .396 with three home runs and 20 RBIs while stealing 20 bases on the year. Along with being an All-State honoree, she also recently competed in the IHSA State Tennis Tournament.
“Alexa is a very strong hitter that has over the fence power but hits with authority into the gaps. She likes to make her living in the gaps and will come in and battle for playing time at shortstop.”
McBride is a 5-8 corner infielder from Massac County High School where she prepped for head coach Pat Clark. Her junior year saw McBride post dominating figures, tallying a .405 batting average to go along with 11 home runs and 44 RBIs. For her career, McBride has hit .454 in 349 plate appearances, mashing 24 home runs, tallying 48 doubles and driving in 166 runs. She was a three-time SIRR Ohio Division All-Conference recipient while being named All-South on three occasions along with three All-State honors.
“Gracyn comes out of a very strong high school program along with fellow signee Jessie Douglas. She’s an SEC type player with a strong arm, good fielding ability and great power. We envision her coming in and challenging for playing time right away at third base while also giving us some depth at the catcher position.”
Douglas joins her teammate McBride to join the Skyhawks from Massac County High School and head coach Pat Clark. The 5-10 athlete can play nearly anywhere on the field but will be called upon to challenge for duties at shortstop for the Skyhawks. Douglas hit .458 with six home runs, nine doubles, four triples and 35 RBIs as a junior. For her career, Douglas has posted a .443 average, bashed 13 home runs, tallied 28 RBIs and drove in 98 runs. She is a two-time SIRR All-Conference recipient along with back-to-back spots on both the All South and All-State teams.
“After watching Jessie play all fall, she going to come in and have the opportunity to be our shortstop. She’s a line-drive hitter with a good arm and is very knowledgeable of the game. I have really grown to appreciate her ability after being able to watch her play so much this fall.”
“With this class we have depth at every position on our ball club,” said Canary. “I very much believe that depth leads to competition and competition breeds success. These young players will have to come in to our program and fight for position. It’s going to be exciting to see what our future holds.”