Nashville, Tenn. - Tennessee State head softball coach Jeff Dabney has announced the early signing of six high school seniors. The class making their debut in the spring of 2013 consists of Jayna Hanawahine from Waimanolo, Hawaii and five from Tennessee, Kacie Daugherty (South Fulton), Shelby Dawson (Charlotte), Kiarra Freeman (Knoxville), Brianna Roberts (Culleoka) and Audrey Sensing (Charlotte).
"The first year we filled in needs, this year we're building depth at each position," Dabney said. "This class was very important for the long term of this program. The first class was huge for us, when it comes to helping turn this program around. I believe these classes will be the two that will set us up for long term success."
Utility, South Fulton, Tenn., South Fulton HS/Nashville Nighthawks
Daugherty heads into the spring as a four-year starter for head coach Curt Lee and South Fulton High School. She helped her squad to four district championships. In 2010, she guided SFHS to a regional championship and a third place finish at the State Championships.
Daugherty has been named a four-time All-District selection. She led her team in stolen bases as an eighth grader and has continued to hold that honor heading into her senior season. She has a career batting average of .453 (185-for-408), which includes hitting .510 as a freshman and .505 during her junior campaign.
Daugherty is a four-year member of the Beta Club and has also been a part of the Pep Club, Spanish Club and Future Farmers of America. In travel ball, she was a member of the Germantown Red Devils who qualified for 16U ASA nationals under Coach Jack Kinney. Daugherty played for Larry Spear and the Nashville Nighthawks, before joining forces with fellow TSU signee, Shelby Dawson, and the Franklin Synergy.
Coach Dabney on Daugherty
"Kacie is a flexible player, position wise. She's a middle infielder in high school and plays outfield in the summer. She is a speed kid and brings the athleticism we wanted and the versatility we were looking for in an athlete. She is a special kid with a big upside and I look forward to working with her."
P/IF, Charlotte, Tenn., Creek Wood HS/Nashville Cruisers
Dawson is a four-year starter for Creek Wood High School and head coach Nancy Jackson. As a junior, she led her squad from the circle to district, regional and sectional championships and a trip to the Tennessee State Tournament.
Dawson finished last season 31-5 in the circle with 15 shutouts, a 0.76 ERA and 237 strikeouts. At the plate, she batted .339 with five home runs, 11 doubles and drove in 32 runs. For her efforts she was named District 11AA MVP and was selected to the MTSCA All-First Team for the second consecutive year. As a sophomore, she was named All-District helping her team to a runner-up finish.
During travel ball, she helped her Coach Alan Banks and the Nashville Cruisers to a championship at the 2010 Scenic City Fall Showcase. Dawson and fellow signee Audrey Sensing started playing together on a Little League Coach Pitch team as seven-year-olds.
Coach Dabney on Dawson
"Shelby is going to bring two phases to the game that we love. She is going to be able to help us in the circle and I am looking forward to seeing her pitch in this league. Pitching is an important part of the game and I believe she will help us out there. She also brings a big bat; hopefully we can find her a place in the line up, adding power to our speed game."
OF, Knoxville, Tenn., Bearden HS/Tennessee Eagles
Freeman is a three-time letter winner for Leonard Sams and Angelica Wade at Bearden High School. She was named All-District as a junior and selected as the Most Improved Freshman in 2009.
The left handed hitting Freeman, batted .481 (38-for-79) during her junior season with two doubles and two inside-the-park home runs. She had a .500 on base percentage in the lead-off spot, scoring 23 runs with three RBI.
Freeman earned a letter in Track in 2010 as she qualified for Sub-State as a sprinter. She is very active at BHS as a leader in FCA and a member of the Bearden Singers, as well as a part of the Musical Theater.
Freeman plays her travel ball for the Tennessee Eagles, coached by Cortney Mitchell and Valanna Lyons. The Knoxville native plans to major in Human Performance and Sports Science with aspirations to coach softball at either the high school or college level after her career at TSU.
Coach Dabney on Freeman
"Another addition when it comes to speed. We are looking to be a very fast team and Kiarra brings speed immediately out of the gate. She is another outfield prospect with the ability to play in all three positions. I am really looking forward to adding her to our lineup and having her run past people."
IF, Waimanalo, Hawaii, Kailua HS/Kamakazies
Hanawahine has competed for three seasons at Kailua High School under head coach Tamara Al Kaluau. As a junior, she was honored as a member of the All-State team, as well as the All-East Red Division Team for her play at shortstop. She claimed a spot on the All-East Red Division Team as a first baseman during her sophomore season.
Hanawahine is a three-year member of the basketball team and earned All-State Honorable Mention as a junior. She also competed in one season of Soft Tennis. Her travel ball team, Lokahi, coached by Derek Koki, finished second at the 2010 Canada Cup and claimed the 16U ASA State Championship. She finished the 2011 travel season with a .400 batting average, playing for Al Belche and Warren Okinaka on the Kamakazies with current Tiger Tayler Shimizu.
As a member of the honor roll each year at KHS, she intends to major in Kinesiology with the aspirations to work in Physical Therapy.
Coach Dabney on Hanawahine
"Jayna was a special find for us. Another in the line of Hawaiians we've gone after. She is a middle infield prospect who can also play third; first if necessary. She is going to bring us a bat that can add some power to the lineup. She fits the mold of what we are trying to do here at TSU, athlete wise. She comes from a great family and we really look forward to having her here."
Utility, Culleoka, Tenn., Marshall County HS/Louisville Sluggers
Roberts will enter her fourth season this spring as a starter for Marshall County High School and head coach Holly Cook. She helped MCHS to a District championship as a freshman and guided her squad to second place finishes at the Commando Classic and the Border Battle as a sophomore. The Tigers went on to claim a Regional Championship in 2010.
Roberts was named first-team All-State as a junior and All-Mid State as a sophomore. She is a two-time All-District selection and claimed a spot on the Commando Classic All-Tournament team in her sophomore season.
During travel ball, Roberts played with current Tigers Jordan Rehl and Kate and Shea Morris as a part of the Franklin Synergy. She currently plays for Don Dobino and the Louisville Sluggers.
Roberts has stayed active as a member of the Future Business Leaders of America, Sub-Deb Sorority, Beta Club, and the Jostens Renaissance Program. She has also been a Jr. Leadership Marshall and a Tennessee Career association Social Media Coordinator. Roberts is also a part of the MCHS bowling team.
The Culleoka native intends to major in Physical Therapy and Sports Management with aspirations to work in sports training and rehabilitation. Her ultimate goal is to open her own practice.
Coach Dabney on Roberts
"Brianna was a late find for us, but very excited to have her. She is another infield prospect and is athletic with potential at the plate to be a power stick. She gives us flexibility at any position on the field, besides pitcher and catcher. Really looking forward to her competing to see where she fits in and what role she plays for us immediately."
IF, Charlotte, Tenn., Creek Wood HS/Tennessee Athletics
Sensing is a four-year starter, and teammates with Shelby Dawson, at Creek Wood High School. As a junior, she guided her team to district, regional and sectional championships along with a trip to the Tennessee State Tournament. She has been a critical part of three district championships and was named MTSCA first team and All-District in her sophomore and junior campaigns.
In two games at the 2011 state tournament she was 3-for 4 with a double and a sacrifice fly. She was walked three times, scored once and drove in one run.
Sensing was a member of Jimmy Waggoner's Tennessee Athletics which qualified and participated in the 2011 18U ASA National Tournament. At the 16U level, her Tennessee Force team, coached by Mark Dawson and her father, Tim Sensing, claimed the 2009 State Championship.
Sensing intends to major in Early Childhood Education and hopes to open a facility as part of her future goals.
Coach Dabney on Sensing