December 11, 2008

Tech's Acheson inks four to Golden Eagle softball roster

Players from Wisconsin, California and Tennessee

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - Tennessee Tech softball coach Tory Acheson has added four standout players to the Golden Eagle roster for 2010, inking a utility player from Tennessee, twin sisters from California and a shortstop from Wisconsin during the current early signing period.

The newest Golden Eagles are Melody Christian from Kingston Springs, Tenn., sisters Brittney and Chanelle Spalding from Los Alamitos, Calif., and Lindsey Umberger from Madison, Wis.

"This 2009 recruiting class is another very strong class for us," Acheson said. "We didn't anticipate having a large ?09 class since our current team is very young, but I do believe we have added student-athletes who will make an immediate impact on our program.

As he has done in building the Golden Eagles into a nationally ranked program, Acheson wasn't limited by geography.

"We add one Tennessean, two Californians and yet another player from Wisconsin to the Tech family," he said. " I am very confident that this group will be key ingredients as we climb back to the top of the OVC."

Melody Christian
is a versatile senior at Harpeth High School in Kingston Springs, and the daughter of Ken and Ronda Christian.

"Melody is a very talented all around player," Acheson said. "She has the ability to compete for any position on the field except for pitcher and catcher. She is a true utility player who can play anywhere.

"She has tremendous speed and will be a constant threat on the bases. Mel is a triple threat player who can hit, slap and bunt effectively. She is also a strong student who will keep our tradition of balancing athletic and academic success alive.

In addition to her high school career, Christian will play next summer with the Fury Gold team out of Chattanooga, which will help prepare her for her first year at Tech, according to Acheson.

"We are very excited to bring a player with her versatility and competitiveness to our program," Acheson said. "Mel has the tools and attitude to make a huge impact on our program."

A two-time all-district selection, Christian is also a letterwinner in track and volleyball. On the diamond she batted .485 as a junior leadoff hitter and had 37 stolen bases in 40 attempts.

Sisters Brittney and Chanelle Spalding are seniors at Los Alamitos High School. The daughters of Scott Spalding, each plans to major in business and each can play more than one position.

"Brittney is a very talented infielder who really swings the bat well," Acheson said. "She has posted very impressive power numbers over her high school and club careers and we are counting on her to continue that trend here at Tech.

"Brittney will compete for a starting spot in the infield thanks in part to her ability to play any of the positions. She is a strong student and a great competitor who brings a lot to our program.

The team MVP last season, Brittney hit .552 and broke the school and county records for home runs and RBI.

The two sisters play in a very competitive high school league in Southern California where they have had tremendous success, according to Acheson. During the summer, they play with the Firecrackers, coached by Dan Ristow, which will help them come to Tech ready to compete, Acheson said.

"Brittany has a chance to make her mark on the Tech record book before it is all said and done," Acheson said.

Chanelle can play the outfield or first base, and is also a dynamic hitter.

"Chanelle is a powerful hitter who can also hit for a high average," Acheson said. "We expect her to compete for a starting spot in the outfield or possibly first base, right away next year. As a left-handed hitter, Chanelle brings a lot of versatility to our line up.

"She has an infectious personality that keeps her teammates upbeat and positive," added Acheson. "I'm really looking forward to working with her. The sky is the limit for this very talented player."

Channelle won the team's Best Offensive Player award as a junior, hitting .520, and ranked second on the team in both RBI and home runs.

Lindsey Umberger is the daughter of Mike and Michelle Umberger, and is currently a senior at Madison Memorial High School.

A first-team all-state selection as a junior, she hot .507 with a .596 on base percentage.

"Lindsey is another in a long line of Wisconsin athletes to come to play for Tennessee Tech," Acheson said. "Lindsey is a very dynamic shortstop who possesses great range and a very good glove."

Umberger has played several years for the Wisconsin Bandits, coached by Roger Schliewe, and is coming in well prepared for the Golden Eagle program, according to Acheson.

"She is an outstanding student who will shine in the classroom as well," Acheson said. "We expect Lindsey to battle for the starting shortstop position next year and for years to come. She is a lead-by-example kind of player who has all the intangibles we are looking for in a player. Lindsey will make an immediate impact on our program."