SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– Drury University softball head coach Jerry Breaux announced 10 signees for his 2022 team. The recruiting class includes two junior college All-Americans, two high school signees that were named First Team All-State, and the niece of former major league pitcher and Springfield Area Sports Hall of Fame member Scott Bailes.
“This is a solid recruiting class of performers with championship-level experience and leadership,” said Breaux. “This terrific class will boost a talented group of returners who just completed a productive 2021 season for Drury softball. We are looking forward to working with this squad & see what they can achieve and accomplish in 2022 for the Panthers.”
Kristina Bettis (RHP, Jr., R/R, Jefferson Coll., Sewanee, Ill.)
Kristina Bettis was named the NJCAA Regional Pitcher of the Year and a First Team NJCAA All-American pitching for Jefferson College in Missouri in 2021. The 6’2″ right-hander went 20-6 with 22 complete games, fired five no-hitters, and struck out 302 in 167 innings pitched. Bettis posted an earned run average of 1.17 last year.
“Kristina is an experienced pitcher and proven winner who can lead a team in the circle,” said Breaux.
Summer Johnson (OF, Jr., R/R, Parkland Coll., Oblong, Ill.)
Summer Johnson was the NJCAA Regional Player of the Year for Parkland College in Illinois, was the Mid-West Athletic Conference Player of the Year, and a First Team All-American. She posted a .446 average in 60 games and belted 25 home runs, third-most nationally at the Divison II junior college level. Johnson was the Co-Female Athlete of the Year at Parkland, and her squad went 53-9 and reached the NJCAA D-II World Series.
“Summer is a terrific offensive player who can swing the stick and hit for power and average,” Breaux said.
Leaha Wininger (C/SS, Jr., R/R, Southeast Missouri St., Johnston City, Ill.)
Wininger joins the Panthers after transferring from NCAA-I Southeast Missouri State, where she saw playing time as a freshman in 2019 and a sophomore in 2020. She was a four-year starter at Johnston City High School and a two-time All-State selection in Illinois. Wininger was named the Most Valuable Player in her conference as a senior and finished her high school career with a .485 average, 38 home runs and 173 runs batted in during her four years.
“Leaha brings great experience, leadership and talent to the Panthers,” said Breaux.
Gracie Thomas (C/INF, Jr., R/R, Three Rivers CC, Malden, Mo.)
Gracie Thomas hit .493 for Three Rivers Community College last year while hitting six home runs and driving in 25. Her squad went 44-6, reached the NJCAA Division I World Series, and finished seventh nationally.
“She is a strong-arm catcher with great offensive potential,” noted Breaux.
Megan Parsley (INF, Jr., R/L, Yavapai CC, Everett, Wash.)
A native of Everett, Washington, Parsley played for Glacier Peak High School before attending Yavapai Community College in Arizona. She hit .404 with nine homers and 33 RBI’s last year on a team that went 33-7 and was in the national semifinals of the NJCAA Division I World Series.
“She is lefty stick who hits for power and average,” said Breaux.
Chloe Bowen (INF, Jr., R/R, North Arkansas Coll., Springfield, Mo.)
Chloe Bowen returns home to Springfield after two years at North Arkansas Community College. She hit .505 last year with nine home runs and 41 RBI’s. Brown played for Kickapoo High School in Springfield before heading to NorthArk.
“Chloe led her junior college team in hits, average, home runs, and RBI’s,” Breaux said.
Joey Casey (OF, Jr., R/L, Northwestern Oklahoma St., Beamont, Calif.)
Casey is an NCAA-II transfer from Northwestern Oklahoma State, where she saw limited playing time in 2020 and 2021. She had nine hits in 21 at-bats during the last two seasons to hit .429. Casey played for Beaumont High School in California.
“Joey is an offensive player who can swing the stick from the left side of the plate,” noted Breaux.
Lauren Fiene (RHP, Fr., R/R, Concordia HS, Concordia, Mo.)
Fiene was a First Team All-State selection in Missouri pitching for Concordia High School. The incoming freshman was also named her team’s MVP.
“She’s a right-hander who knows how to pitch,” said Breaux. “Lauren collected more than 500 strikeouts during her high school career.”
Reagan Hight (INF, Fr., R/R, Tecumseh HS, Elberfeld, Ind.)
Reagan Hight will come to Drury from Elberfeld, Indiana, where she played for Tecumseh High School. A two-time All-State selection in Indiana, she helped her team to a state runner-up finish as a sophomore in 2019. Hight played third base at Tecumseh was recently picked as a First Team All-Conference performer at that position.
“Reagan is a decorated high school player who can swing the stick,” Breaux said.
Olivia Bailes (INF/OF, Fr., Marana HS, Tucson, Ariz.)
Olivia’s last name will be familiar to sports fans in the Ozarks as she is the niece of Springfield native and former major league pitcher Scott Bailes. Olivia is from Tucson, Arizona, where she played for Marana High School and saw time at third base and outfield.
“Olivia is a versatile player who can play infield or outfield and possesses good speed,” said Breaux.
In addition to the ten newcomers, Breaux expects to add more to his signing class, and his 2022 roster includes 13 returners from a team that went 26-16 and 19-9 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. Among the returners will be All-GLVC selections Lauren Beier (.380, 8 HR, 38 RBI, 39 games) and Karsyn Smith (26 appearances, 9-1, 2 saves, 2.05 ERA).
Jerry Breaux will enter his fifth year as head coach at Drury and his 29th season as a collegiate head coach. He will start the 2022 campaign with 831 career wins and is one of 16 active coaches in NCAA-II with more than 800 career victories.
This article is provided by Drury University Athletics