OXFORD, Miss. – The Ole Miss softball team added its first three signees to its 2014 class Thursday by receiving National Letters of Intent from Lindsey Cassel, Danae King and Aimilia McDonough, Rebels head coach Windy Thees announced.
Cassel, a catcher, comes to Oxford from Klein, Texas, while King, a corner infielder, hails from Peoria, Ariz., and McDonough, who can play both infield and outfield, is from St. Louis.
One of the top hitters in the Houston area, Cassel has been an Ole Miss fan for many years. Cassel’s parents both attended Ole Miss, and she has been coming to Ole Miss football games since she was very young.
Cassel was named All-District and the defensive player of the year at Klein High School, where she was coached by Candi Weige. Cassel was tabbed a Louisville Slugger Independence Day Tournament All-Star and was named the player of the month by Vype Magazine, as well as the top hitter in Houston. Cassel played club softball for Texas Eclipse Gold.
In the classroom, Cassel was academic all-district, honor roll and a member of the National Honor Society. She was also all-district and all-region in choir.
“We love it when that happens, when one of the top softball players in the country is also a huge Ole Miss fan,” Thees said. “She has a strong arm and a strong pop time as well. She handles pitching staffs really well. Probably her best quality though is her bat. She can really swing it. I really like the fact that she can go to all fields, and she’s going to help add some power to that class.”
An Arizona division II state champion, King comes to Oxford from Sunrise Mountain High School where she was coached by Jody Pruitt. King played her club ball for the Firecrackers.
As a junior, King helped lead Sunrise Mountain to a state championship, where she led the team with a .505 batting average, 55 hits and 44 runs scored. King was tabbed first team all-division and all-section as a sophomore and junior, and second team all-state as a junior and honorable mention all-state as a sophomore. Sunrise Mountain finished second in the state tournament during her sophomore year where she held a .470 batting average and 55 hits.
Off the diamond, King was an honor roll recipient all four years, and participated in numerous community service projects around the area. King also lettered in volleyball and badminton.
“Danae King is a power-hitting third baseman, and is a very, very strong athlete who can play first or third for us,” Thees said. “She has an incredible arm and she can hit for power and she can hit for average. She’s also pretty quick out there. We really like what she’s going to bring to the table, especially now that Allison Brown is getting older. She can learn from one of the best that we have currently at third. We’re very excited to have Danae with us.”
A four-year varsity starter at Notre Dame High School, McDonough comes to Ole Miss after being named first team all-conference four times in high school.
A jack-of-all-trades type of player, McDonough can play anywhere from shortstop, to third base, to outfield. A career .599 hitter at Notre Dame High School, McDonough hit safely in all 22 games as a senior en route to earning first team all-conference, first team all-district, first all-region and first team all-state honors.
McDonough played four years for St. Louis Academy Gold 18-under team after skipping the 16-under team completely. St. Louis Academy Gold qualified for the ASA Gold Nationals in 2013.
In the classroom, McDonough is a member of the National Honor Society, French Honor Society, Academic Coaching, French Club and Kairos.
“Aimilia McDonough is one of the top recruits out of the Midwest,” Thees said. “She’s a lefty hitter, righty thrower, and she plays shortstop, third base and outfield. She is just a true athlete, and she’s also a leader on her team. The best thing about Aimilia is she’s very steady. She is one of those kids who is going to outwork everybody and she’ll be in there swinging, taking extra cuts. She’s going to make every play. She’s not going to do it flashy, but she’s going to make every play. That’s one of the things we love about her. She just gets the job done.”
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