C-N’s Kazee-Hollifield announces softball signing class

Posted on Wednesday, May 14, 2014 at 11:47 am

JEFFERSON CITY — Carson-Newman head softball coach Vickee Kazee-Hollifield announced the signing of six student athletes as the program approaches its 30th anniversary.

Lindsay Dean, Danielle Kranz, Kaitlin Pritchett, Brooke Ramsey, Kennedi Reed and Kristen Toppel all join the program for its milestone year.

A 5-9 pitcher out of Eastside High School, Dean tallied 343 strikeouts for coach Suzi Atwood. Her sophomore year she boasted a 0.395 ERA with an 18-4 record in the circle. Her high water mark for an ERA came in her freshman year at a gaudy 1.251.

“She’ll definitely impact our pitching staff,” Kazee-Hollifield said. “She has speed to burn and can add some variety to it. She’ll be the hardest thrower on the staff and it’ll be nice to have someone who can rare back and turn it loose. If we need her to, she can hit and play defense as well.”

Dean allowed 42 earned runs in the first three seasons of her high school career. She went 47-10 through her career. Offensively, she’s been equally impressive. She hit .513 her junior year and .529 in her senior season with a combined 64 RBI between the two seasons.

Dean’s a two-time All-District pick and pitcher of the year, the 2013 region pitcher of the year and the Bristol Herald’s selection for player of the year in 2013. She’s also earned all-state honors.

While at Eastside High, Dean helped guide the Spartans to district championships in all four years of her high school career. The Spartans were played in the region championship game her freshman and sophomore seasons with a victory in 2012. Her team made the state semis in 2012 and 2013.

Dean also played volleyball for the Spartans; she was an all-district selection.

Kranz went 12-2 with a 1.20 ERA in 81 1/3 innings as a junior. She struck out 110 and walked 24 and helped lead Benicia to a 15-0 mark in the Solano County Athletic Conference and the Final Four in the Sac-Joaquin Section postseason.

“This kid has the whole repertoire. She’s got great movement on the ball and can also hit,” Kazee-Hollifield said. “Statistically she shows up as a workhorse. She’s the type of player who wants the ball in her hand in a pressure situation.”

She hit a grand slam and pitched a shutout in Benicia’s 10-0 win over Bethel. Kranz was named best defensive her freshman year. She was an all-league selection as a junior and an all-tournament team member as a junior.

Kranz helped Benicia to league titles all four years of her high school career.

An All-region selection and four-year varsity letter winner for Steve Chattin at Heritage High School, Pritchett batted .331 with 19 RBI, eight doubles and three homers with 46 hits in her senior season.

“Strong kid with an explosive bat,” Kazee-Hollifield said. “Her bat is what you see right off, but then you look at her defense and you realize she’s such a well-rounded ball player.”

“She has the potential to go yard for us and to knock runners in. She’ll be called upon to have a stick.”

Pritchett helped the Generals to a region championship and a AAAA state runner up.

A first team all-conference selection for the College of San Mateo, Ramsey transfers to Carson-Newman with two years of eligibility remaining. In her sophomore year with the Bulldogs, Ramsey hit .510 with a .929 slugging percentage. She has 46 hits, six doubles, a triple and 14 home runs with 41 RBI. On top of that she boasts a .961 fielding percentage at the hot corner.

“She brings a wealth of experience playing some of the best teams in California playing at the junior college level,” Kazee-Hollifield said. “Defensively, she has exceptional reaction and is very fluid playing the field. On top of that, she swings the bat well. She also communicates well and has potential to be a leader.”

She hit a bases clearing triple to tie a semifinal game with San Joaquin Delta and help CSM complete a four-run comeback to get the California Community College Athletic Association state title game.

The Bulldogs won a Coast Conference championship and a North Region championship with Ramsey.

A three-time All-District selection for coach Phil Newport from Oneida High School, Reed has batted .424, .432 and .452 the last three years for the Indians. She only has struck out 14 times in her high school career.

“She loves the game and will add depth for us across the board,” Kazee-Hollifield said. “She’s one of the hardest workers out there. She’s got a strong arm and will push for playing time behind the plate.”

Reed has driven in 41 runs in her senior season.

A slick-fielding shortstop for coach Cheryl Shockley out of Lord Botetourt High School, Toppel comes to Carson-Newman as a three-time All-District selection. She’s also earned All-Region, All-Timesland Conference, and All-State honors in her high school career.

“I think this player could go down as one of the best defensive shortstops Carson-Newman has ever had,” Kazee-Hollifield said. “She has tremendous fundamentals for an incoming freshman. What she showed in her workouts was incredible. She has huge shoes to fill, but I’m excited about what she can bring to the table.”

She’s hitting .527 with 39 hits, seven doubles, a trio of triples and 17 RBI. She’s also scored 29 runs with seven walks against three strikeouts.

The daughter of Todd and Betty Toppel, Kristen plans to study accounting at Carson-Newman. She was the editor of her high school’s yearbook.

-From Contributed Reports

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