HARROGATE, Tenn — The Lincoln Memorial University softball team has added four players in the early signing period for the 2015 season, as Savannah Couch, Ashlea Hunter, Cydney Jenkins and Brianna Taylor have committed to continue their softball careers with the Lady Railsplitters, LMU Head Softball Coach Natalie Layden announced on Tuesday.
Savannah Couch - Catcher/Shortstop/Third Base
Couch is set to join the Lady Railsplitters after a standout career at Colonial Heights High School in Colonial Heights, Va. A versatile defender, Couch was named her team’s offensive MVP in 2012 and 2013 while earning First Team Academic All-District those same seasons. Along with her stay at Colonial Heights, Couch played travel ball with the NC Lady Blues under head coach Greg Spain.
“Savannah is a versatile defensive player that hits for power and average. I have been impressed with her ability to step up and lead on the field. She will be a great asset to our team and we expect an immediate impact,” LMU head coach Natalie Layden said.
Ashlea Hunter - Outfield
Hunter comes to Lincoln Memorial University via Woodruff High School in Woodruff, S.C.. In 2012, Hunter earned All-Region and All-State accolades after leading the Wolverines to a District and Region championship. She was also an All-Region selection following the 2013 campaign. In addition to her work on the field, Hunter has fared exceptionally in the classroom, earning Scholar Athlete recognition in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Hunter was also a member of the Carolina Cardinals Carolina Elite travel ball team that captured the 2013 N.C. State Championship and the Class A National Championship.
“Ashlea is a very athletic outfielder with speed. She played for a very high caliber and successful travel ball organization and we look for her to be strong in our outfield,” Layden said.
Cydney Jenkins - Corner Infield/Outfield
Jenkins will make her way to LMU from Florida High School in Tallahassee, where she was team offensive player of the year in 2010, 2011 and 2013. She was a two-time All-Big Bend selection while helping lead her prep team to a third place finish in the 2011 state tournament and a runner-up finish in 2012.
“Cydney is a strong power hitter that is athletic and versatile. I have worked with her in camps since she was a sophomore in high school and she has worked hard in the weight room and cage to get where she is today,” said Layden. “She will continue to develop as a defensive player in multiple positions with her strong work ethic.”
Brianna Taylor - Pitcher/Second Base
Taylor heads to Harrogate after a successful stay at Chattanooga School of Arts and Sciences. A native of Ooltewah, Tenn., Taylor was an All-District 5A selection in both 2012 and 2013. In 2013, she played a primary role in CSAS winning the regular season District 5A championship, earning runner-up distinctions in the district tournament and making the the first appearance in the region tournament in school history. Taylor also pitched and played second base for the Chattanooga Force Gold travel ball team, which finished in the top 35 at the 2013 ASA Gold Nationals.
“Bri is a high quality pitcher that will bring a lot of great talents to our team. She’s a person of high character and she possesses leadership qualities that are positive to the team atmosphere. She has a great presence on the mound. She does a great job of hitting her spots and mixes pitches effectively. I am excited to see her growth and development through her college career,” Layden said.
The Lady Railsplitters enter the 2014 campaign — the second season under Layden’s direction — after compiling a 30-22 overall mark in 2013. Lincoln Memorial made a 12-win improvement from the 2012 campaign.