Opdenbrouw Introduces Seven Signees
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Head softball coach Tom Opdenbrouw introduces his first signees. The seven newcomers are the inaugural class for the newly appointed coach. Chelsey Buchanan and Amber Galyon come to Tennessee State as first years’, while Lauren Dreitlein, Taylor Green, Jasmine Matchen, Savannah Womack, and Joselynn Yates come to the “Land of Golden Sunshine” as transfers.
Buchanan, an infielder from East Hickman, Tenn., led East Hickman High School with a .580 batting average and topped the squad in Runs Batted In. Buchanan was a three-time all-district player for head coach Todd Collins, leading her squad to Regionals in 2013. Buchanan also suited up for two years of varsity volleyball at EHHS, while playing travel softball for the Tennessee Illusions.
“Chelsey stood out at this year’s Kentucky-Tennessee All-Star Game,” said Opdenbrouw. “She plays the game extremely hard and has a great motor allowing her to outwork other players. Chelsey is a versatile player who can play several positions. She knows how to get on base and how to step up in clutch moments.”
Galyon also prepped at EHHS and will continue to team up with Buchanan for an additional four years. The pitcher earned All-District honors in her final two seasons with the Eagles, First Team as a junior and Second Team as a senior. Galyon was a four-year, three-sport athlete at East Hickman, with volleyball and basketball as her two other sports.
“Amber is a real diamond in the rough,” Opdenbrouw said. “She is a tremendous pitcher who mixes speeds and locations; and has the ability to keep hitters guessing. Amber is self-confident in the circle, dealing with adversity.”
Dreitlein comes to TSU from Walters State CC, after spending one season at Francis Marion. In 47 games last season, Dreitein collected 61 hits in 166 at bats for a .367 batting average. The junior college transfer tallied 38 runs and drove in 56, while clubbing 12 doubles and nine home runs. Dreitlein attended Berean Christian School in Knoxville, but played for Carol Mitchell and Gibbs High School. The Knoxville native was a two-time All-District pick and was named to the 2011 All-District Tournament Team, a year after earning tournament MVP honors. The corner infielder played travel ball for Mike Mayfield and the Tennessee White Lightning. Dreitlein also played three years of basketball and two years of soccer at BCS.
“Lauren brings a big bat to the line-up,” Opdenbrouw commented. “She has tremendous power and we look to her to be a run producer. Lauren has strong leadership qualities and has been successful at every level she has played.”
Green was a teammate of Dreitlein’s at Walters State CC. In her first season at WSCC, Green helped the Lady Senators to a TCCAA regular season title. As a sophomore, the right-handed pitcher tossed 28 games, starting 17 and finished 15-2 with a 2.02 ERA. Green fanned 93 batters, opposed to 26 walks, in 121 innings pitched. Green attended Alcoa High School and played for Coach Mike Brown. She was a four-time All-Blount County selection, a three-time All-District honoree, a three-time All-Tournament member, the 2010 Tournament MVP and the 2012 Pitcher of the Year.
“Taylor is a real workhorse in the circle,” Opdenbrouw said. “She has good velocity and knows how to spin the ball. Taylor has experience pitching in big games at the high school, travel ball, and junior college levels. She will be an experienced leader on our pitching staff.”
Matchen spent two seasons at Lindsey Wilson College before coming to TSU. The right-handed pitcher finished her career at the NAIA with a 3-0 record with five saves and a 2.63 ERA. Matchen fanned 31 batters in 32 innings of work. The junior-transfer played for Jim Perrin at Christian County High School. Matchen was a two-time All-State selection in softball and was a three-year member of the basketball squad.
“Mo is an interesting signing for us,” commented Opdenbrouw. “She has tremendous movement and attacks hitters very well. She brings power to the plate with extra base potential at any moment. She is still a raw talent with the opportunity to develop more and we are looking forward to her taking a major leap as a player.”
Womack spent one season as a teammate of Matchen’s at Lindsey Wilson. The lefty utility player saw limited playing time with the Blue Raiders, collecting 17 at bats and one game in the circle as a freshman. Womack will reunite with coach Opdenbrouw, who coached her at Nashville Christian. At NCS, Womack was named to the 2012 TSSAA All-District.
“Savannah is a multi-tool player who can do many positive things for us,” Opdenbrouw stated. “She is a left handed pitcher who moves the ball very well. As an outfielder, she has the ability to track the ball while covering a lot of ground. Savannah will also be a threat at the plate as she hits for average with gap power. She is a fierce competitor who has the drive to always improve.”
An injury forced Yates to sit out her first year at Butler CC, but returned for a solid season as she batted .339 with 43 hits in 127 at bats as the team claimed a fourth place finish at the NJCAA World Series. In her 45 games, the catcher-third baseman hit seven doubles and four home runs, while scoring 25 times and driving in 27, helping her gain All-American Honorable Mention honors. She displayed a good eye and patience at the plate, totaling 25 walks and striking out just nine times.
In high school, Yates played for Mike Allen at Olathe South and helped her squad to a pair of second place finishes at the Kansas State Tournament. The sophomore-transfer was an All-Conference and All-State selection in all four years of her high school career. Yates also earned All-League honors in basketball for OSHS.
“Joselynn comes from one of the nation’s top junior college programs,” Commented Opdenbrouw. “She brings leadership to the catcher’s position and has a knack for calling pitches. Offensively, she provides another big bat to the line-up. She has tremendous power and brings more experience with her; allowing her to provide leadership.”
The Tigers will open the 2015 season on Feb. 6 at OL Lafayette/LSU Tournament in Baton Rouge, La.