FMU inks softball pair

FMU inks softball pair

Francis Marion University softball coach Stacey Vallee has announced the signing of two players to national letters of intent: right-handed pitcher Caitlyn Berry of Jacksonville, Fla., and outfielder and corner infielder Stefany Collins of Boca Raton, Fla.

Berry, 5-3, is a product of First Coast High School, where she played for coach Chrisanne Hooten.  This spring, Berry posted a 10-10 pitching mark with a 1.32 earned run average and 159 strikeouts in only 122 innings of work.  At the plate, she batted .453 with 25 runs batted in.

A two-time All-Conference selection, she was the FACA District 5 8A Player of the Year.

"Caitlyn will immediately add depth to our pitching staff," Vallee said.  "She has all the tools to be a very good pitcher and contribute right away. She can also potentially help us at other positions as she can contribute offensively as well. She has a drive to compete and to be on the mound, after thinking she might lose the ability to play due to an illness. She is grateful for the opportunity to continue playing on the diamond."

Collins, 5-5, comes to FMU from Indian River State College, where she played the past two seasons.  In 2017, she earned first-team All-Conference and All-State recognition after hitting .418 with 12 doubles, 12 home runs, and 61 RBIs.  She scored 51 runs in 55 games, stole 14 bases in 15 attempts, and registered a .514 on-base percentage and a .771 slugging percentage. She helped lead the Pioneers to a 42-17 overall record and the Southern Conference title.

As a freshman, Collins hit .333 with eight doubles, three home runs, and 16 RBIs and gained second-team All-Conference honors.  She posted a .484 on-base percentage and scored 25 runs as the Pioneers went 46-10, including a 19-1 mark in conference play.

Collins is a graduate of Monarch High School, where she played under the direction of coaches Tom Popovics, Lori Tobias, and Rick Melillo. She was a two-time first-team Sun-Sentinel All-County selection after garnering second-team recognition as a sophomore.

She also picked up first-team All-State honors playing travel ball with the Coral Springs Panthers.

"Stefany will add some power to our line-up, a great addition owing to the fact we didn't lose any of our power bats from 2017. She brings immediate experience after two years at the junior college level.  She will also join our roster of driven young ladies in the classroom as she has high goals she wants to achieve."

Francis Marion loses only three seniors off this past season's 27-22 squad that placed eighth during the Peach Belt Conference regular season.

The pair join five players who were signed during the winter early signing period: right-handed pitcher Reece Davis of Hickory, N.C., outfielder Taylor DeLeon of Summerville, S.C., outfielder Madison Hatfield of Iron Station, N.C., corner infielder Taylor Lutian of Cumming, Ga., and outfielder Karson Parker of Newton, N.C.