SMSU SOFTBALL: SMSU softball signs five student-athletes

MARSHALL – Southwest Minnesota State University head softball coach Jamie Dunn announced on Friday the signing of five high school student-athletes to letters of intent to continue their academic and softball careers at SMSU.

Joining the Mustang softball program for the 2018-19 season include Allison Christians from Waconia, Minnesota, Olivia Gasca from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Makayla Hoselton from Highlands Ranch, Colorado, Lileya Kebos from Las Vegas, Nevada, and Kristen Neumann from Brant Lake, South Dakota.

“We are very excited to welcome our 2018 class and their families to SMSU and our Mustang softball family,” Dunn said. “Each of these young women have the potential to make an immediate impact on our program. These student-athletes have competed at a high level on their high school and club teams and have done so with outstanding character and leadership. They all share a passion for the game, excel academically, and will be an outstanding asset to the culture and vision of our program.”

Christians, a senior pitcher/first baseman at Waconia High School, has been a three-year letter winner for the Wildcats, while earning honorable mention all-state, all-conference and all-section following her junior season. She batted .333 with five home runs and 24 RBIs last season, while recording 176 strikeouts as a pitcher. She also plays basketball for the Wildcats.

“Allison is a solid pitcher/first baseman and will add depth to our offense,” Dunn said. “She has great velocity and can spin the ball with movement in and out of the zone. Allison is a very athletic pitcher with a steady demeanor on the mound. She can also swing a big bat in clutch situations.”

Gasca is a senior at Sioux Falls Washington High School. She played both infield and outfield for the Warriors and was twice named all-state. A three-year letter winner during her career, she batted .400 during her senior season. She is also a multi-year letter winner in basketball.

“Olivia adds a great deal of versatility to our lineup and is a true utility player,” Dunn stated. “She is a naturally gifted athlete who can play any position in the field and has experience on the mound. Olivia is also an offensive threat from the left side and can hit with power.”

Hoselton, a pitcher and current senior at Mountain Vista High School, was a four-year letter winner and ranks high in the school career record books. She was twice named second team all-conference and is a two-time academic all-state honoree. On the mound, she ranks high in the school record book for fewest walks allowed, fewest runs allowed and fewest hits allowed. As a senior, she finished 8-0 and led the conference in ERA. As a hitter, Hoselton ranks third in team history in RBIs, third in doubles and fourth in home runs. She batted .477 with three home runs and 29 RBIs as a senior.

“Makayla will bring a high level of passion and competitiveness to our program as soon as she steps on campus,” Dunn said. “Her presence on the mound, ability to hit spots and overall athleticism will be a great addition to our pitching staff. I’m impressed with Makayla’s versatility and commitment to improve all aspects of her game.”

Kebos is a senior outfielder at Arbor View High School. She was named first team all-region and is a two-time all-star game participant. She batted .425 with 38 RBIs last season as a junior and is an academic all-state honoree.

“Lileya is a true outfielder with great speed and range,” Dunn said. “She gets an exceptional jump on the ball with a strong and accurate arm to throw runners out at all bases. Lileya will add power to our offense hitting from the left side and much needed speed on the bases. I’m looking forward to Lileya making an impact right away.”

Neumann is an outfielder and a senior at Chester High School. A team captain as a senior, she was twice named first team all-state during her four-year career. She batted .415 with 17 stolen bases and 14 RBIs during her senior season.

“Kristen is a utility player who excels as a middle infielder and will also see playing time in the outfield,” Dunn said. “She adds speed to our lineup and led her team in multiple offensive categories. She is an exceptional student with a 4.0 GPA and ranked first in her graduating class. I’m excited to see Kristen continue to grow as a student-athlete.”

Southwest Minnesota State starts practice for the 2018 season in early January and will play its first regular season game on Feb. 5.

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