Carroll Softballs Signs Seven - News, Sports and Weather

Carroll Softballs Signs Seven

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Carroll College softball plays the first home game in school history at noon Saturday against the University of Great Falls at Centennial Park and head coach Aaron Jackson has been putting in long hours to make sure everything goes smoothly. He also has been hot on the recruiting trail and Thursday announced the signing of seven recruits.

"We are excited to announce our 2015 class. We believe that we achieved our goals and feel that this is a tremendous class that we are adding to the Fighting Saints family," Jackson said. "This class will add depth and each one of the seven players will step on campus ready to compete for playing time. It is our goal every year to add players that will raise the level of competition within our team and in return will better the group because of it."

On top of the talent that group shows on the diamond, Jackson is just as impressed with their academic abilities.

"This group is full of great student-athletes that not only succeed on the field but our excellent in the classroom," Jackson said. "As good as these student athletes are on the field and in the classroom they are even better people and have already started building relationships within our team."

Tess Eaton is a pitcher that comes to Carroll from West Hills High School in San Diego, Calif. She helped lead her team to the 2013 and 2014 league championship and in 2013 they took second place in state. She earned Ronald McDonald Tournament MVP Honors. She also had a successful travel ball career with the San Diego Renegades that included a state title.

Academically, Eaton earned First-Team All-State Honors. She has a weighted 4.405 GPA and would like to major in pre-med.

"I chose Carroll College because I absolutely fell in love with the people and the idyllic feel of the campus," Eaton said. "Between the amazing coaches, people, pre-med program, small-town feel, and gorgeous scenery of Helena, I couldn't resist Carroll College. I fell in love as soon as I walked on campus."

"Tess comes to us from Southern California where she pitched for the San Diego Renegades. We watched Tess all last summer and every time we watched she just got better," Aaron Jackson said. "She is an ultimate competitor and wants the ball in big situations."

The next signee is outfielder TJ Rucker from David Douglas High School in Portland, Ore.

Rucker earned Honorable Mention All-State honors for outfield in her junior year. Along with First-Team All-Mount Hood Conference during her sophomore and junior years. She received the coaches choice award, most inspirational and team captain by her high school team. Rucker was also on the honor roll her freshman and sophomore years of high school.

"I'm going to Carroll to get an education, play softball, and make long lasting friendships," Rucker said.

"TJ is a dynamic outfielder that will bring great energy and effort to our team," Jackson said." Her love and passion for the game will be a great asset to our team and combine that with her athletic ability it is winning combination."

Helena Capital standout Brittany Smith is the third Saint Signee. Smith was a two-time all-conference pitcher and defensive MVP. She was also a three-year Academic All-State Honoree in softball and was a four-year honor roll member.

"The coaching staff definitely stood out to me the most" Smith said. "Everything was always so positive and encouraging. Also, the players were all so friendly and welcoming in everything that we did."

Along with her pitching ability she also played outfield and was a utility player.

"In the state of Montana Brittany is known for her skill on the mound but I believe that she has the ability to be utilized at other positions as well," Jackson said. "Brittany has shown a great competitive spirit and work ethic during the recruiting process. We look for Brittany to be in the rotation and also will be looking to utilize her in other ways throughout the season."

Tianna Harper is a catcher out of Mead Colorado. She was a four-year softball letterwinner and earned three Tri-Valley All-Conference honors. She was twice named team captain and received Boulder County All-Region honors and Colorado 4A all-state Team Honors in 2014.

"I found it really exciting that Carroll was a new program" Harper said. "My high school team was also new and I loved being a part of a new, growing program."

Harper was twice named academic all-state, she was also student council president, Colorado women's sports fund Association scholar winner and a four-year academic letterwinner.

"I really want to do my best to put his program on the map and make a name for Carroll softball. I am honored to continue my career by playing college, so the best I can do is work hard and get a great education while doing so" Harper said.

"Tianna is a multi-faceted player with her main position being catcher but has the ability to play other positions as well," Jackson said. "She swings a great bat and has good speed. During the recruiting process what stood out most to me was the relationship that she built with her pitchers. This is invaluable and I look forward to seeing create the same relationships with our pitchers."

Ashley Davis comes to Carroll from Billings West High School where she helped lead the Bears to the 2014 State AA Championship. She was a 2014 Softball All-State Selection in the outfield. Davis also played volleyball and basketball.

She received Academic All-State Honors three years running in Volleyball and softball. She has been on the honor roll every year since 2008.

"Ashley Davis is a Montana product from Billings West High School. She is another multi-positional player as she plays outfield and pitches," Jackson said. "Ashley is a strong athlete that will add power to our lineup and stability both in the outfield and on the mound."

Catcher/third baseman Madison Soper joins the Saints from Banks High School in Banks, Ore. In three previous seasons at Banks, Soper helped lead the Braves to two 4A state titles and a third-place finish.

She received All Cowapa League honors each of her first three seasons. During her sophomore campaign she was named First-State All-State and in 2014 she was named Second-Team All-State. She was named team captain for softball during her junior and senior season.

Soper received the Scholar Athlete Award for each of her first three seasons and is a member of the National Honor Society.

"When I got to Carroll, I knew it was some where I wanted to be. I loved the area and the community feel at Carroll," Soper said. "I love the coaching style and the fact that I can play softball while I'm at a great college."

"Madison is another multi-positional player in this class. She is a great catcher but can also play third and I have also seen her play some outfield this summer," Jackson said. "Madison is another lefty swinger but instead of speed she brings power from the left side. As a catcher Madison controls the game very well and is always working hard for her pitchers."

Joining the six incoming freshmen is junior college transfer Courtney Cloud. Originally from Maple Valley, Wash., she played her JC ball at Western Nebraska Community College.

She led WNCC during her freshmen year for stolen bases and earned first-team All-Region honors. She was ranked 14th in the nation for stolen bases. In high school she was named first-team all-league.

Cloud graduated with honored from high school and is on the honor roll at WNCC.

She may have lived in Washington and played junior college ball in Nebraska but she spent a lot of time in Helena and looks forward to the opportunity to become a full-time resident.

"I have a lot of family in Helena and I know that Carroll has an amazing nursing program," Cloud said. "I love Helena and everything about Montana, I basically grew up here and I am excited to return."

"Courtney is junior college outfielder from Western Nebraska Community College that will bring another lefty to our lineup along with her solid outfield ability," Jackson said. "I believe Courtney will bring experience to the outfield and will make the group as a whole better by her experience."

Story Contributed by Carroll Sports Information.

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