NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee State softball program received National Letters of Intent from eight prospective student-athletes, according to second-year head coach Tom Opdenbrouw. Three pitchers and six position player’s makeup the Class of 2020.
Patton Akers (Franklin, Ohio), Amanda Cabrera (Wildwood, Mo.), Makenzie Goswick (Joplin, Mo.), Tori Hart (Johnstown, Ohio), Megan Huppee (Liberty Hill, Texas), Sarah Snell (St. Petersburg, Fla.), Haven Taylor (Maryville, Tenn.) and Reese Weber (Steelville, Mo.) will join the Tigers in the spring of 2016.
“We are very excited to welcome this outstanding signing class to the TSU Tiger Softball Family,” said head coach Tom Opdenbrouw. “They add so much depth, power, and versatility to our program. They’re highly motivated student-athletes that exemplify excellence in the classroom, on the softball diamond, and in society.“
OF, R/R, Franklin, Ohio, Franklin HS / Ohio Hawks
Akers is a four-year starter for head coach Jim Miller and Franklin High School. She helped her team to a Sectional championship and to the District finals during her freshman and junior seasons. As a sophomore, Akers guided FHS to District championship and a trip to the Regional finals.
Individually, the outfielder earned All-League honors as a freshman and All-Metro honors as a sophomore. As a junior, Akers earned All-State honors after batting .473 with eight doubles, two triples, five homeruns, 30 RBI and 28 runs scored.
Akers was a member of the cheerleading squad during her freshman and senior years, as well as part of the tennis team in her final three years at FHS. The Franklin, Ohio native was named Most Valuable Player in all three seasons and earned All-League honors during the same time period.
Off the Field, Akers is a 10-time recipient of the Principals Scholar Award as well as a member of the National Honors Society. Akers serves as a volunteer swim coach at the YMCA with handicapped children.
Akers is a member of the Ohio Hawks coached by Doug Lenos and works with hitting coach Wendell Hutchinson.
At TSU, she will study Engineering for a future in computer science.
Coach Opdenbrouw on Akers
“Patton is a tremendous student who is a really athletic outfielder who can cover a lot of ground. Offensively, she hits powerful line drives to all fields and has really developed over the last year as a big time clutch hitter. She had a great World Series in Chattanooga last summer and has continued her strong play this fall. Patton is a very vocal and outgoing teammate. She attended our Winter Elite Camp last January and knew she wanted to be a Tiger.”
P, R/R, Wildwood, Mo., John F. Kennedy Catholic High School / Arkansas Angels
Cabrera has helped head coach Troy Ufert and John F. Kennedy Catholic High School to four consecutive Conference Championships and District Championships in her freshman, junior and senior seasons. As a freshman, Cabrera and her squad claimed a Sectional Championship while earning JFK’s Most Valuable Player, 1st Team All-Conference, 1st team All- District, 1st Team All-Region, 3rd Team All-Metro and AAA Conference Player of the Year.
The right-handed pitcher amassed a 64-20 record with 631 strikeouts and a 1.45 ERA. In her final three seasons, Cabrera earned three more team MVP’s, 1st Team All-Conference, 1st Team All-District, and an All-Region selection. Cabrera went on to be named AAA Conference Player of the Year during her junior and senior campaigns, while garnering All-State honors as a senior and Academic All-State in 2014.
Cabrera has excelled off the field as she is a Youth Leadership of St. Louis Graduate, a Physical Education Student of the Year, a three-time Student of the Year Nominee and an Archdiocesan Stewardship Essay Scholarship Recipient. Cabrera is also active as an actress and a part of the stage crew in theater productions, while being a part of Fellowship of Christian Athletes as a Huddle Leader, Fellowship of Christian Athletes St. Louis Student Board, a Kennedy Catholic Ambassador, a Kairos Retreat Leader and a Liturgical Choir Participant.
The Wildwood, Mo. native plans to major in Psychology in hopes to forge a career in Sports Psychology.
Coach Opdenbrouw on Cabrera
“Amanda is a power pitcher with tremendous movement. She just led her high school team to their best finish in school history. In her final game, she fanned 24 batters in the 14 inning game. She has tremendous poise and maturity in the circle and off the field. Amanda also swings a very powerful bat, as she led her team in several offensive categories.”
C/OF/1B, L/L, Joplin, Mo., Joplin High School / Missouri Evolution
Goswick has helped Kirk Harryman and Joplin High School to three consecutive Ozark Conference Championships, as well as a District and Sectional championship on their way to a fourth place at the State Tournament.
Goswick has served as a four-year starter at catcher and is the squad’s lead-off hitter. The lefty is a four-time All-Conference and All-District selection, as well as being named Ozark Conference Player of the Year as a freshman, junior and senior. As a sophomore, Goswick won a place on the All-Area team as she was named the team’s Offensive MVP. She was named team Most Valuable Player as a junior and selected All-Region as a senior after going 75-for-127, for a .591 average with 21 doubles, four triples, nine home runs, 31 RBI and 10 walks.
Goswick helped her Mid-Missouri Evolution summer team to a State Championship in the summer of 2015. The Joplin, Mo. native works one-on-one with hitting instructor Nicole Hudson.
Goswick has been a member of DECA, Student Council and Link Crew. She is currently undecided in her course of studies at TSU.
Coach Opdenbrouw on Goswick
“Kenzie is a powerful left hand hitter. She just earned first team All-State Honors in Missouri for her gaudy offensive numbers. I really love the way she swings the bat, and the power is electric. She is a clutch performer who enjoys the big games. Defensively, she is extremely versatile. She is a strong catcher, outfielder, and first baseman.”
P/CI, R/L, Johnstown, Ohio, Northridge High School / Ohio Stingrays
Hart has been a four-year member with Northridge High School and head coach Bobbi Jones. Hart batted .492 without striking out as a junior and was named 1st team All-District, Team Most Valuable Player, Defensive and Offensive Player of the Year for her efforts.
As a freshman, she earned 1st Team All-League, Second Team All-District and was voted Freshman of the League. She followed up as a sophomore, 2nd Team All-League and District Honorable Mention, while earning NHS Offensive Player of the Year.
Hart guided her travel ball team, the Cincinnati Static, to a 7th place finish at the 2013 ASA National Championships. Hart works with pitching instructor Mark Blaszyk and hitting coach Jack Jenkins.
The Johnstown, Ohio product is a member of the Honor Roll, Merit Roll, and the State Tested Nursing Assistants and is a Phlebotomist. Hart intends to study Nursing in pursuit of a career as a nurse practitioner
Coach Opdenbrouw on Hart
“Tori is a dominant, hard throwing power pitcher who attacks hitters straight on and looks to overpower them. Tori is power hitting lefty and is an extra base threat every time she gets in the batter’s box. She really impressed me at Scenic City this summer in Chattanooga where she had the game winning hits in three straight games. Tori delivers in clutch run producing situations.”
CI, R/R, Liberty Hill, Texas, Liberty Hill High School / Texas Blast
Huppee batted .327 as a junior and helped head coach Charice Hankins and Liberty Hill High School to a District Championship and an appearance in the Regional Finals. The three-year varsity member was named Co-Offensive Player and Liberty Hill Panther Hustle Award winner as a sophomore and was an integral part of the LHHS District Championship and Regional Semifinalist team.
Huppee is a multi-sport athlete as she played volleyball as a freshman and is a four-year varsity athlete with basketball. As a junior, Huppee was selected as the Liberty Hill Panther Most Improved Player and earned a 2nd Team All-District selection. In 2015, the future Tiger helped LHHS to a District and Regional championship as they completed the season as a State Semifinalist.
Huppee is an Academic All-District honoree in basketball and softball. She served as Senior Class Vice President, National Honor Society Treasurer, Junior Class Historian and Travel Club President. Huppee has also been named to the ‘A’ Honor Roll and a part of Academic Excellence (GPA 96+) throughout her prep career.
The corner infielder plays travel ball for Johnny Pesina and the Texas Blast. Huppee also works with hitting instructor Lauren Myrick.
Huppee plans to major in Economics and Finance with ambitions of becoming a CEO in the business world.
Coach Opdenbrouw on Huppee
“Megan is a really mature, goal driven student-athlete who is an athletic corner infielder with tremendous power at the plate. We found Megan through the Scout 100 Showcase Series who we feel will be a middle-of-the-lineup run producer with her ability to hit to all fields.”
SS/C, R/R, St. Petersburg, Fla., Lakewood High School –Center for Advanced Technologies / Sarasota Heat
Snell is a four-time letter-winner for Lakewood High School and head coach Necole Tunsil. Snell helped LHS reach the regional finals during her first two seasons. As a freshman, the future member of the Big Blue was named Rookie of the Year and second team All-County catcher after hitting .591. She continued to bring home awards after her sophomore season as she batted .585 and was named second team All-County shortstop. Snell earned first team All-County as a shortstop and the Golden Glove Award, while recording a .680 batting average as a junior.
The St. Petersburg, Fla. native led Lakewood in batting average, hits, on base percentage, RBI, and slugging percentage through her first three seasons.
Snell was also a four-year member of the flag football team and a three-year member of the basketball team at LHS. As a three-time captain for the basketball team, Snell completed her junior season as the second leading point scorer, while pulling the most rebounds in the county and leading her squad to an appearance in the regional finals.
In the classroom, Snell has excelled as a member of the National Honor Society. She has also been a part in Future Business Leaders of America and qualified for state competition her first three years and advanced to nationals as a freshman.
Snell plans on majoring in Aeronautical Engineering with ambitions to work in the field or become an airplane or helicopter pilot.
Coach Opdenbrouw on Snell
“Sarah is a tremendous student and player. Many players and coaches have nicknamed her “Jeter” for the way she fields so fluidly and throws on the run. She is a great athlete who covers a lot of ground and has a tremendous arm. Sarah hits solid line drives and is a table setter who is also a major stolen base threat. One of the things that impressed me the most was her competitiveness and softball IQ.
P, R/R, Maryville, Tenn., The Kings Academy / Tennessee Fury
Taylor is a three-year starter for Marc Weekly at The Kings Academy. The right-handed pitcher tossed all 17 innings on the final day of the state tournament guiding her team to a Division II Class A runner-up finish in 2015.
As a junior, Taylor compiled a 30-10 record and fanned 282 batters opposed to 34 walks in 212 innings of work. Offensively, she finished with a .326 average with 32 RBI, as she earned a spot on the All-State team and was named 2015 Sevier County Player of The Year. The Maryville, Tenn. native was also honored as an All-District, All-Region, All-County selection and All-KIL Prep- Xtra selection.
Three-time captain was also named Female Athlete of the Year as a sophomore after batting .554 with 29 RBI at the plate and a 1.6 earned run average with 205 strikeouts. Taylor served as a member of the Varsity Cheerleading squad as a freshman and a sophomore.
Off the field, Taylor was a member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Who’s Who, the Honor Roll and was a Boys and Girls Club Volunteer. She also set the back squat record at The King’s Academy.
Taylor competes for the Tennessee Fury-Hargrove and works with private pitching instructor Brandon Carr.
The incoming Tiger plans on being a Dental major with plans to become a dental hygienist. She would like to supply dental care for underprivileged children in my area, and eventually help underprivileged children in different countries.
Coach Opdenbrouw on Taylor
“Haven is a strong academic kid and a hard throwing right-handed pitcher with very good movement. She is a fireball on the mound and in the dugout with her teammates. She has lots of experience pitching in big games with the Tennessee Fury and with The Kings Academy. She has been very well coached by Marc Weekly and has a very high softball IQ.
IF, R/R, Steelville, Mo., Steelville R-3 HS / Mid-Missouri Evolution
Weber was named All-Conference First Team, All-District First Team, and All-Region Second Team as a senior for Steelville R-3 HS and head coach Sheila Becker. The infielder batted .533 in her final season with five home runs and 30 RBI. As a junior she was honored with the “Big Bat Award”.
Weber also played four years as a varsity player for volleyball while at Steelville. A captain in her senior year, Weber earned second team All-District. She also was named Best Offensive Player after a junior season where she guided her squad to a District Championship.
The Steelville, Mo. product is very successful off the playing surface as well. Wells has earned the 2014-2015 College Composition Award, a Mathematics Achievement Award in College Algebra and Pre Calc/Trig, and a Science Achievement Award-Chemistry-1 as a junior. As a sophomore, she was honored with a Language Arts Achievement Award and with a Family and Consumer Science Award-Health.
Weber has been a member of the Principal's Honor Roll, Academic All State, Student Government, Math and Science Club, Homecoming Committee and Future Business Leaders of America all four years, while serving as Secretary in her senior year. Weber was also a four year member of the Student Council and served as Vice-President as a senior. Weber served in the Secretary position for the National Honor Society, in which she was a member of her last three years.
The incoming Tiger received recognition during her junior year for volunteering at Special Olympics of Missouri and earned the Cardinal Character Award.
Weber played travel ball for Jason Marcum and the Mid-Missouri Evolution, leading them to a pair of runner-up finishes and three tournament championships in 2014. Weber and her squad went on to claim the 2015 ASA 18U Missouri State Championship.
Weber intends to major in Biology in hopes to pursue a career as a Sports Physician, as well as open her own practice.
Coach Opdenbrouw on Weber
“Reece is strong in the classroom and is a power hitting infielder. She is very solid at the plate and has power to all fields with amazing bat speed. She will be a big run producer for our team. Defensively, she is very versatile and can play several positions for us. She is a 3.9 student-athlete with a 25 ACT score who plans to major in Biology.”
The 2016 Tigers will begin its season on Feb. 12 as part of the Southeastern Louisiana Classic in Hammond, La.
TSU Softball Early Signees
Patton Akers - OF, R/R, Franklin, Ohio, Franklin HS / Ohio Hawks
Amanda Cabrera - P, R/R, Wildwood, Mo., John F. Kennedy Catholic High School / Arkansas Angels
Makenzie Goswick - C/OF/1B, L/L, Joplin, Mo., Joplin High School / Missouri Evolution
Tori Hart - P/CI, R/L, Johnstown, Ohio, Northridge High School / Ohio Stingrays
Megan Huppee - CI, R/R, Liberty Hill, Texas, Liberty Hill High School / Texas Blast
Sarah Snell - SS/C, R/R, St. Petersburg, Fla., Lakewood High School –Center for Advanced Technologies / Sarasota Heat
Haven Taylor - P, R/R, Maryville, Tenn., The Kings Academy / Tennessee Fury
Reese Weber - IF, R/R, Steelville, Mo., Steelville R-3 HS / Missouri Evolution