MUNCIE, Ind. - - Ball State softball head coach Craig Nicholson has announced the signing of four standout student-athletes to national letters of intent during the early signing period.
"The Ball State Softball program is very excited to add four outstanding student-athletes to our program," Nicholson said. "This class was a combination of addressing some immediate needs, and having the flexibility to go get some very good players who will play big roles in the future of this program. I am very happy with this group in terms of their ability to play the game, be quality students, and represent the program in the right way both on and off the field."
Set to join the Cardinals in the fall of 2013 are Amanda Arnett (Monroe, Mich./Monroe), Taylor Cooley (Chelsea, Mich./Chelsea), Jocelyn Rivera (Brooklyn, Ohio/Brooklyn) and Shelbie Scamihorn (Terra Haute, Ind./ South Vigo).
"The biggest thing I see in this group as a whole is they are extremely competitive kids and want to be part of a winning atmosphere which was a huge part of their decision to attend Ball State," Nicholson added. "Our staff is looking forward to their arrival next fall, and excited about what they will bring to the program."
A projected third baseman for the Cardinals, Amanda Arnett was named the 2012 Regional Player of the Year after posting a .470 batting average her junior year to guide Monroe to the quarterfinals of the 2012 MHSAA Division I Girls Softball Tournament. Over the course of her junior year, in which she helped lead Monroe to district and regional titles, Arnett posted a 1.034 slugging percentage by blasting eight home runs, 15 triples and 12 doubles. She also stole 19 bases.
A three-year letterwinner for the Trojans, Arnett was also the team's top pitcher last season, posting an 18-6 record in the circle with a 1.37 earned run average and 271 strikeouts over 158 innings of work. A three-time team most valuable player, Arnett is also a three-time all-conference and all-district selection, while racking up all-region honors twice. Arnett also garnered Monroe's Tenacity Award three times, is a three-time academic all-state honoree and was named the Monroe Evening News Player of the Week.
"Amanda is an outstanding athlete with the ability to play several positions," Nicholson said. "She runs well, has a very strong arm and is very polished as a hitter. I see Amanda as a middle of the order type hitter very early in her career. Defensively, she is likely our future at third base, but can play a bunch of different positions well."
A projected outfielder for the Cardinals, Taylor Cooley helped guide Chelsea to a district championship her junior year by posting a .439 batting average with 49 runs scored and 30 RBI. The team's leading base stealer, going a perfect 23-for-23, Cooley also belted three home runs while posting four triples and three doubles last season.
Cooley, who has earned three letters in softball at Chelsea, was selected to the all-district, all-region and All-Area Heritage teams her junior season. In addition to playing club softball for the Michigan Lookouts, Cooley is a four-year letterwinner for the Chelsea volleyball team and was the first female wrestler in school history, earning a 28-11 record her freshman year. Academically, Cooley has earned Southeastern Conference Scholar Athlete and All-State Scholar Athlete honors over her career, while serving as the president of the student council at Chelsea. For the past two years, she has been selected as Chelsea's top female for outstanding performance in physical education.
"Taylor has very good speed and is somebody that plays the game very hard on both sides of the ball," Nicholson said. "She has very good bat control, and can really track the ball and go get it in the outfield. She is a fierce competitor, and one of the toughest athletes I have seen in a long time."
A projected pitcher for the Cardinals, Jocelyn Rivera earned first team all-conference accolades as a junior after posting a 1.71 ERA and 178 strikeouts in the circle for Brooklyn. She also posted a .504 batting average with 14 RBI last season to set the program's mark for single-season batting average. As a sophomore, Rivera was named the team's MVP after posting a 2.33 ERA with 157 strikeouts. She hit .333 her sophomore campaign, while earning first team all-conference, all-state honorable mention and Cleveland Plain Dealer Player of the Week honors.
As a freshman, Rivera helped Brooklyn post a 15-7 record to rebound from a 0-13 mark the year before. She set program records with a 0.52 ERA and 248 strikeouts in the circle, while batting a then-program-best .482 with 20 RBI. Her strikeout total led the county, while her ERA ranked third, earning her a slot on the all-conference first team. She also picked up the team's MVP award.
"Jocelyn will add to our pitching staff right away," Nicholson said. "She is a hard thrower who has recently progressed in terms of being a pitcher. She has the potential to be an outstanding pitcher at Ball State, and will only get better as she continues to understand how to change speeds effectively and locate her pitches."
A projected catcher for the Cardinals, Shelbie Scamihorn helped guide Terre Haute South Vigo to a 24-8 record her junior year and a berth in the sectional finals. Scamihorn, who posted a .386 batting average as a junior, is a two-time All-Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference selection.
A three-year letterwinner for Terre Haute South Vigo, Scamihorn helped guide the team to a 24-6 record her sophomore year and is a three-time All-Wabash Valley selection. She hit .389 with two home runs and 29 RBI as a sophomore. She was named the team's Rookie of the Year after posting the program's highest batting average for a freshman.
"Shelbie is a very good defensive catcher," Nicholson said. "Her ability to control a game from behind the plate and really handle a pitching staff will be very important for us as we move forward. Offensively, she has occasional power and the ability to hit for average. She understands how to use the whole field and will only get better as she gets stronger."