Tarleton Softball adds five early signings to mix for 2017 season

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STEPHENVILLE – Fresh off a historic run to the first regional championship and NCAA Super Regional Series in school history, Tarleton Softball has announced the addition of five high school standouts poised to join the Purple and White for the 2017 season.

“All of these young ladies are excellent additions to our program because they fit the core values of our program,” said head coach Julie Mata, who enters her 20th season at the helm of TexAnn softball. “They come from solid select teams and high school programs, in which they have learned the game and had good values instilled in them.

“They are disciplined in the details, show unwavering loyalty, possess great drive academically and athletically, and they are respectful to the game and those around them,” she continued. “We brought those values back in a big way last year, we’ll let them ride and grow this season, and it is clear with these additions that we will continue to build on them.”

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The newest TexAnn additions are as follows, without any information from their senior seasons that will be played this spring:

Robyn Gajdica Midlothian, TX Third Base

Gajdica comes to Tarleton after a stellar varsity career at Midlothian High School, as well as a select career with Firecrackers 18u RWB. She is a three-time academic all-district selection and a three-time all-district honoree, which includes first-team recognition last year.

“Robyn is a strong, competitive player who will barrel up the ball well and be able to play either corner,” said Mata. “She fits very well into our team family because she brings intelligence, a great work ethic, and drive with her.”

“I chose Tarleton Softball because it felt like home,” said Gajdica.

Claire Lefner Flower Mound, TX Pitcher

Lefner joins the TexAnn pitching staff after a District MVP-season as a junior for Flower Mound High School. She also competed for Texas Glory Adkins 18 Gold select team. In addition to being named the MVP of her district last year, she was a first-team all-district and all-metroplex selection as a junior.

“Claire is a talented pitcher who will fit into Coach Stefanie Phillips‘ system very nicely,” said Mata. “She will be a great addition to the staff and work hard and smart in the circle for us. She is tough and will be an intense competitor for us.”

“I chose Tarleton because they have an excellent animal science program and it’s a good fit for me as a person,” said Lefner.

Morgan Ling Waco, TX Utility

Ling comes to Tarleton with the ability to play all over the diamond after shining as a pitcher, infielder, and outfielder for Midway High School and Centex Buzz-Waller select team. She is a four-year letter winner in softball and is a three-time academic all-districts selection. She is a three-time all-district award winner, including two-straight first-team selections, as well as being named Super Centex first-team and honorable mention, and District and Team Defensive MVP during her career. She is a member of the National Honor Society and PALS.

“Morgan brings athleticism in all aspects of the game,” said Mata. “She is just an impressive, well-rounded, and fiery softball player. She can pitch, play anywhere in the field, is solid at the plate, and can run the bases.”

“Tarleton has been at the top of my list of colleges since my sophomore year of high school,” said Ling. “I wanted the feel of a bigger school, but I did not want to live in a big city. Tarleton and Stephenville just seemed perfect. They have a great program and I knew if I got the chance, I wanted to be a part of it. After I went to their summer camp and met the coaches, I knew this was exactly where I wanted to be.”

Elizabeth Schiele Kennedale, TX First Base / Outfield

Schiele joins the Tarleton recruiting class after a standout career for Texas Glory and perennial softball power, Kennedale High School. She is a three-time first-team all-district selection for Kennedale and helped the Wildcats to a 4A Region 1 Semifinal appearance in her junior season last spring.

“Elizabeth is one of those players you really love having on the team because she she has such an obvious and infectious love of the game,” said Mata. “She can play anywhere on the field and is such a constant offensive player. She is the whole package as a player and a student.”

“I chose Tarleton for its great nursing program,” said Schiele. “I took great interest in the softball program for its core values and coaching staff.”

Jordan Withrow Trenton, TX Pitcher / Outfield

Withrow comes to Tarleton after earning three consecutive Team MVP awards at Trenton High School, entering her senior season. She has led her team to two regional semifinal appearances and one regional final appearance. She is a three-time all-Texomaland and all-state selection, as well as earning three academic all-district honors. She also played select ball for the Firecrackers.

“Jordan is an excellent pitcher and outfielder,” said Mata. “She is a solid athlete who can do it all. She’ll be a valuable part of Coach Phillips’ staff and will bring solid defense and offense to the team. She is definitely the kind of scrappy player that you enjoy coaching.”

“I love everything about Tarleton,” said Withrow. “When I came for a visit, I fell in love with the campus. The coaches and players are amazing and have the core values that I believe and respect.”

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