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BYU softball: Cougars announce five signees

By Jamie Morris

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, Dec. 7 2012 2:35 p.m. MST

PROVO, Utah — Two all-state MVP’s, two Virginia standouts and a first-team all-state shortstop will join the BYU softball program for the 2014 season.

McKenna Bull, Lauren Bell, Ashley Thompson, Alexa Strid and Sydney Broderick will all be joining the program for its first year in the West Coast Conference.

Bull and Bell are from Utah, while Thompson hales from Washington. Strid and Broderick are both from Virginia and are the first players in BYU softball history from that state.

Bull is a pitcher from Ogden. She currently plays for Weber High School and the Salt Lake Pegasus. Last year, she led her team to the 5A state championship and earned the 5A MVP and All-Tournament MVP awards. With a 1.34 ERA, she had 310 strikeouts and a 26-2 record her junior year.

“We are extremely excited for McKenna to join our team and pitching staff,” head coach Gordon Eakin said. “McKenna has the tools to be a dominant division one pitcher. She is a tough competitor who won't accept failure. With her talent, mental toughness and work ethic, she will make a positive impact on our team right from the start.”

Bell, a shortstop from Murray, plays for Murray High School. She led her team to the third round of the state playoffs in 2012 with a .450 batting average and 31 scored runs. She also led her team in stolen bases and was named to the all-state first team. She plays club ball with the Salt Lake Pegasus.

“Lauren is a very athletic and versatile athlete,” Eakin said. “She has the ability to compete at the highest level in several different positions. As a left-handed hitter, she will add speed to our offensive line up and the diversity to use her at different positions on defense.”

Thompson, a pitcher from Connell High School in Connell, WA., is a two-time ESPN West Player of the Week and a two-time Washington All-State MVP. Thompson helped her team to back-to-back state championships in 2010 and 2011. She currently holds the state high school single season home run record with 23 and is also the record holder in single season RBIs with 90. With an all-time record of 59-6 from the circle, Thompson has 736 strikeouts through her junior year. She also plays for the Washington Explosion Gold and her club team has won seven Washington state championships.

“We are extremely excited that Ashley chose BYU,” Eakin said. “She was highly recruited by some of the best programs in the country and will be a player that changes games both offensively and defensively. She is very strong and athletic. She has the potential to be a dominant pitcher and will add power to our offensive line up. The kid can flat out hit. As a coach that loves strong offensive teams, Ashley has the ability to exceed my expectations.”

Broderick is an outfielder and catcher from Ashburn, VA. She plays for Stone Bridge High School and the New Jersey Intensity. Last year, she hit .571 with 53 RBIs and has earned first team all-district, first team all-region and first team all-state accolades so far during her high school career.

“Sydney has a cannon of an arm,” Eakin said. “She will utilize that arm either behind the plate or in the outfield for our team. We believe runners will not be able to run on Sydney whether it is attempting to steal or score. She has a strong left handed bat that can hit for power and average. Sydney is a gamer and just knows how to get the job done.”

Strid, a shortstop from Stephens City, VA., plays for the GA East Cobb Bullets. She led her team to a 14-U Shamrocks top-10 finish at CO Fireworks, a 16-U Shamrocks top finish at the Louisville Slugger invitational and an 18-U East Cobb Bullets top-10 finish at Premier Nationals.

“Alexis is a determined player,” Eakin said. “She is a very hard worker and when you put that work ethic together with her athleticism and the ability to play multiple positions, she can become a impact player for our program. Her nickname is Pinky but she’s a very tough player. She has no fear and will conquer anything she sets her mind on. She is a great hitter and will help keep our power numbers where they need to be.”

BYU is coming off four-straight conference championships and eight-straight post-season appearances. The team will participate in the Pacific Coast Softball Conference for the 2013 season and then will move to the West Coast Conference for 2014. The Cougars start the 2013 season against Colorado State on Feb. 7 in the Red Desert Classic.

Jamie Morris is the softball sports information director for BYU Athletic Communications.

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