Melanson Signs Three To Recruiting Class
PEMBROKE – Head UNC Pembroke softball coach Lacinda Melanson has announced the signing of Katy Austin, Whitney Jackson and Caitlin Steel to National Letters of intent to continue their athletic and academic careers with the Lady Braves.
Austin, a Beaumont, Texas native, is a member of the Lamar State College-Port Arthur Seahawks for coach Vance Edwards. She helped the team to a 29-25 overall record as she has played in 22 games, pitched 71-2/3 innings, gave up 81 runs (49 earned), 105 hits, 22 strike outs and 36 walks for a 4.79 ERA and a 7-4 record in the circle. In her freshman year with the Seahawks, she posted a .222 batting average with one RBI and tallied a 2-14 record in the middle with a 7.66 ERA and 23 strikeouts.
She was a member of the Port Neches-Groves High Indians for coach Brook Fontenot. She was a four-year letter winner in softball and helped her team to a 10-2 overall record her senior year with a .490 batting average, a 1.000 fielding percentage and a 2.32 ERA. She garnered a spot on the all-district first-team and helped the Indians become area and district champions. As a junior, she was named all-district first-team and 2008 pitcher of the year.
The daughter of Paul Austin held a 3.5 cumulative grade point average and was a member of the 2007-2010 academic all-district teams in high school. She was a member of the Future Teachers of America and the Association of Indian Athletics. She plans on majoring in Exercise and Sports Science at UNCP.
"We are excited to have Katy joining out pitching staff. She is coming in with two years of quality experience against tough teams already under her belt. We believe she will mesh well with our program and our pitching philosophy," Melanson said.
Jackson, a Farmville native, is a member of the Farmville Central High School Jaguars under coach Sean Talbott. A letterman in softball and volleyball received 2008-09 all-conference honorable mention honors, was named the 2009-10 MVP and all-conference and the 2011-12 Coaches Award and Player of the Year accolades for the Eastern Plains Conference. In her senior year, she helped the Jaguars to a 15-8 record with a .545 batting average, 47 RBI, 16 stolen bases, five home runs and a .975 fielding percentage. In the circle, she pitched 152 innings and totaled a 1.18 ERA with 146 strike outs.
As a junior, the team notched an overall record of 17-5 with Jackson registering a .567 batting average, 18 stolen bases, a .955 fielding percentage, 1.07 ERA and 126 strikeouts in the 148 innings pitched. She earned Offensive Player of the Year and was named all-conference for her performance. She also played for the Pitt County Girls Softball League under coach Charlie Langley and won the Golden Glove in 2009 in the 16 and under Babe Ruth World Series.
The daughter of Ronnie Kirkham and Anthony R. Jackson has one older brother. She currently holds a 3.95 cumulative grade point average and is ranked 19th out of her 147-member senior class. She earned a spot on the Principal's List for her academic accomplishments and was a member of Save Club. She is undecided in her course of study at UNCP.
"Whitney will be a great addition to the team. She will bring more depth and speed to our outfield, as well as a solid bat offensively. Whitney does a good job in the classroom and should represent our program well on field and in the classroom," said Melanson.
Steel, a Concord native, is a member of the Cannon High School Cougars under coach Pat Moyer. The four-year letterman in softball and one-year letterman in basketball has posted a .599 batting average this season and has totaled 15 runs, five stolen bases, four doubles and one triple. She attended Concord High School her junior year and played for coach Natalie Tucker where she earned all-conference accolades and was named Offensive Player of the Year.
She played for the Mallard Creek Tar Heels in 2011 under coach Pat Moyer and finished the season with a .429 batting average, 18 RBI, 33 runs, 14 stolen bases, seven doubles and three triples.
The daughter of Sandy Steel has two older sisters. She is a member of the Keystone Club, Cupcake Club, Cookie Club, Tennis Club, Friends Club, Student Hunger Drive, Homecoming Committee, Habitat for Humanity, Habitat Rescue, CVAN and TRU. She is undecided in her course of study at UNCP.
"We are confident Caitlin will come in strong as a freshman. She will be an additional help behind and plate and will provide added depth in the infield. Caitlin is a solid bat and we believe she will contribute well on and off the field for the softball program," Melanson said.