Nov. 15, 1999
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - University of Virginia head softball coach Cheryl Sprangel has announced that four players have signed national letters of intent to attend Virginia and play softball for the Cavaliers. The four student-athletes, who are all from the West Coast, will enroll at Virginia for the 2000-01 academic year. The four recruits are: pitcher Joanna Barstad (Canby, Ore./Canby), pitcher Jessica Edwards (Santa Ana, Calif./Orange Lutheran), shortstop Hannah Owings (Issaquah, Wash./Liberty), and infielder Tracy Sherman (San Clemente, Calif./Saint Margaret's Episcopal).
Barstad is a 5-9 pitcher from Canby, Oregon. She is a two-time first team All-League selection as a pitcher and a three-year letterwinner. As a junior in 1999, Barstad was 13-6 with a 1.28 earned run average and struck out 133 batters. She also hit .316 with a .408 slugging percentage. In addition to pitching, Barstad plays the outfield and first base. As a sophomore, she compiled a 16-6 record with a 1.34 ERA, and as a freshman was 18-4 with a 1.30 ERA. In Amateur Softball Association (ASA) competition, Barstad in a two-year performer for the Oregon Panthers U-18 team and also played for the U-16 Red Heat for three seasons.
"We are very excited to have Joanna join our program," said Sprangel. "She is a terrific all-round player and will get even better. She has the potential to add to the team in several positions. I really like her competitiveness - she is the type of pitcher that always wants the ball," Sprangel stated.
Edwards, 5-10, is from Santa Ana Calif. The pitcher/first baseman was a first team All-Olympic League selection in 1998 and 1999. She also earned All CIF-Division V honors the same two years and was a second team All-County pick in 1999. Edwards, a member of the National Honor Society, was also named to the California state small schools All-State team and was an Orange County second team pick. Edwards, a team captain, helped lead Orange Lutheran to the 1999 Olympic League Championship and to the semifinals of the Division V CIF playoffs. The team was also Division V CIF runners-up in 1998. As a junior, Edwards posted a 14-6 record with a 0.23 ERA and stuck out 216 batters in 131 innings. She pitched a perfect game and had three no-hitters in 1999. In 1998, she pitched three perfect games and five no-hitters en route to a 13-7 record and a 0.76 ERA. In 133 innings, Edwards chalked up 244 strikeouts. In ASA competition, Edwards helped lead the Orange County Batbusters (Davis) to a seventh place finish at the 1999 ASA Gold Nationals.
"Jessica was one of our top recruits all along and we are glad she is bringing her talents to Charlottesville," commented Sprangel. "She is one of the top 10 pitchers in the nation. Jessica is a very good pitcher now, but has the ability to get even better. We are looking forward to helping her develop more fully. Jessica is the type of player that will help lead us into the top 25 of the country.," Sprangel said.
Owings, is a 5-11, shortstop from Issaquah, Wash. In addition to playing softball, Owings earned varsity letters in basketball and volleyball and garnered All-League honors in all three sports for Liberty High School. In 1999, she was an All-Eastside pick as a shortstop and was a second team All-King County selection. As a sophomore in 1998, Owings was a King County first team pick after batting .469 with 22 RBI and a .522 on base percentage. Last year, she batted .377 with a .495 on base percentage. During the summer of 1999, Owings played for the Mukilteo Maddness, the U-18 AFA National Champions.
"The things that impress me about Hannah are her total strength and potential," stated Sprangel. "She has quite a bit of raw ability, particularly as a power hitter, and will continue to improve. Hannah will also give us some versatility in the infield. She is a very good shortstop, but can play several other positions as well," she said.
Sherman is a 5-5 third baseman/second baseman from San Clemente, Calif. She is a first team All-League pick for Saint Margaret's Episcopal in 1999 and was also team captain and Most Valuable Player. As a starter last season, Sherman batted .433 with three triples and four home runs. She had an on-base percentage of .600 and led the team in runs scored and RBIs. At the ASA Gold Nationals in 1999, Sherman batted .500 for the U-18 Stealth Gold. In the summer of 1998, Sherman helped lead the Orange County Athletics to a ninth-place finish at the ASA 18 Gold Nationals. In 1997, the Orange County Athletics finished fifth in the ASA U-16 Nationals.
"We are thrilled to have Tracy as a member of our team. Her biggest asset is her hitting ability. Hitting is an area that we need to improve and Tracy will undoubtedly help us quite a bit. We are graduating a third baseman and she is very capable of filling that role," commented Sprangel.
"Overall, this is definitely one of our strongest recruiting classes in terms of quality and quantity. All four of the players will help bring the Virginia softball program to the next level," Sprangel said.
Virginia finished the 1999 season with a 35-26 overall record. The Cavaliers also advanced to the finals of the ACC Championship for the second-consecutive year. During the 1999 fall season, UVa posted a 10-1 record. Virginia opens 2000 season on February 17, when plays UNLV and Portland State in single games in Las Vegas.
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