Four players will join the Utes next season.
Dec. 17, 2002
SALT LAKE CITY--The University of Utah softball team has received letters of intent from four players. Kate Nygaard, a first baseman/catcher/designated hitter from Salt Lake City; Samantha Schroeder, a pitcher/first baseman from Fresno, Calif.; Melissa Oaks, a pitcher from Los Gatos, Calif.; and Devina Quintero, a utility player from Reseda, Calif., will all join the Utes next year.
"This has been a tremendously successful recruiting season for us," says Head Coach Mona Stevens. "Melissa and Samantha are two very talented and successful pitchers from California. Their styles will compliment each other very well. All four players are expected to contribute significantly in their first year. The four are great people as well as athletes. I believe we will be able to continue our success with the contributions of these four great players."
Nygaard, a product of Cottonwood High School, will join the Utes after wrapping up a two-year stint at Salt Lake Community College. The talented Nygaard can play at the catcher, first base or designated hitter positions. In 2002, she led the Bruins with a .484 batting average, 14 doubles, nine home runs, 52 RBI and a .748 slugging percentage. That slugging percentage was also top in the SWAC.
"Kate is a great catch for us," says Stevens. "She is a local player that is a standout for Salt Lake Community. We played the Bruins this fall and Kate consistently hit our best pitching. She is a tremendous hitter with great power, as well as a catcher/first baseman. I am sure that she will prove to be successful as a Division I player. I can't wait to let her test her talents for us."
The pitcher and first baseman Schroeder will come to Utah from Clovis West High School and the San Diego Renegades club team. Schroeder offers the Utes a lot off the mound, where she possesses seven different pitches. She threw a 10-strikeout shutout to lead Clovis to the CIF Championship, while defeating the No. 1 ranked high school team in the country. Schroeder has thrown for Clovis' varsity squad since she was a freshman, and has racked up two all-Clovis and Clovis Independent Player of the Week nods. She was also a member of the CIF Division I Basketball Championship team in 2001 and '02.
"Samantha comes from the Fresno area, a highly competitive bed of softball," admits Stevens. "She has cut her teeth pitching in one of the strongest areas in the country for hitters. Samantha is very versatile and has developed a number of effective pitches. At 6-1, Sam will be a very imposing presence on the mound."
Oaks, from Saratoga High School and the Sacramento Rush club team, has already garnered several honors as a prep. In 2002, she was voted league MVP and first-team all-league. Oaks was also the league MVP in 2001, along with first-team all-league and all-area.
"Melissa is a lefty pitcher. She stopped my assistant, Marianne, and I dead in our tracks at Gold Nationals this past summer. We saw such bend in her ball drop," boasts Stevens. "We both had to do a double take and then sit behind the backstop to see if we really saw what we thought we saw. Melissa continued to show us consistent movement and location. Being a left-handed pitcher is just one more asset she brings with her."
Quintero is a three-time first-team all-CIF and all-league pitcher from Faith Baptist High School and the Orange County Batbusters. The talented athlete was also named second-team all-CIF and first-team all-league in basketball her junior year.
"Devina is a Southern California player that is an athlete on Tyrone's Batbusters, one of the best club programs in the country, says Stevens. "She is a very athletic and versatile player that has been described by her coaches as the one player that will run through a wall to get the ball. She has had extensive experience at the top level of summer ball. Devina, along with former teammate and now Ute Ivette Hernandez, helped guide Faith Baptist High School to its first-ever CIF Softball Championship. We are very fortunate to have Devina as part of our family."