UVU softball: Palmer inks first softball commitments

By Kellen Hiser

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, July 10 2013 5:35 p.m. MDT

OREM, Utah — Utah Valley University head softball coach Nikki Palmer announced that Hailey Kofler (Temecula, Calif./Temecula Valley High School) and Kelsey Lawton (Goodyear, Ariz./Agua Fria High School) have signed National Letters of Intent with the Wolverines and will be eligible to compete in the 2014 season.

Kofler and Lawton become the first members of Palmer's signing class. Palmer was hired as UVU's fourth head softball coach on June 11.

"I'm thrilled to welcome Hailey and Kelsey into the Wolverine softball family," Palmer said. "Each of these student-athletes will contribute greatly to the success we expect to achieve this upcoming season."

Kofler comes to Utah Valley as a two-time selection to the All-Southwestern League first team and a back-to-back winner of TVHS's Offensive Player of the Year award. As a junior, she set the TVHS record for home runs in a season, belting 10 in helping the Golden Bears to a second place finish in the Southwestern Conference. After a senior season in which she led the team in batting average (.432) and RBIs (15), Kofler was selected to represent Riverside County in the Orange County vs. Riverside County All-Star game.

"Hailey brings a wealth of knowledge about the game and is a huge offensive threat," Palmer said. "I've known her since she was a young athlete playing for me with Fury Softball and she knows what I expect out on the field as well as in the classroom."

Lawton is a three-time all-state selection in Arizona, earning second team honors after her senior season. Like Kofler, Lawton was named team MVP each of the last two seasons, posting a 1.16 ERA during her junior campaign. She was an all-region honoree as a freshman and AFHS's Rookie of the Year. She played club softball with the AZ Lil Saints.

"Kelsey will be a solid addition to our pitching staff," Palmer said. "She has height, strength and precision, and will complement our already intimidating staff. Coming from one of the top club teams in Arizona, she has experience on the mound against noted opponents that will prepare her for WAC competition."

After spending the last four seasons in the Pacific Coast Softball Conference, Utah Valley will play its inaugural season in the Western Athletic Conference in 2014. The Wolverines set a program record for wins with a 35-20 record in 2013.

Kellen Hiser is sports information assistant at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.

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