By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech softball team is proud to announce the signings of four new players to add to the 2015 roster. Bayli Cruse, Callen Griffin, Rachel Karlan, and Taylor Waldrop add depth, talent, and potential to the Golden Eagles as second-year head coach Bonnie Bynum will have to fill the void of this year’s three graduating seniors.
Bayli Cruse, a catcher from Cohutta, Ga., brings tremendous power into her TTU tenure, breaking the home run record for a single-season and a career at Northwest Whitfield High School. The record breaking showing netted Cruse first-team all-region, first-team all-area, and first-team all-state honors in both her sophomore and junior seasons.
“Bayli is one of those kids that you love to watch,” Tech head coach Bonnie Bynum said on one of her newest additions. “Her love for the game is apparent in every game she plays. She will be a great asset to our team, both behind the plate and offensively.”
Callen Griffin gets set to suit up in Golden Eagle purple and gold as a utility player from Hermitage, Tenn. While attending Ezell Harding Christian School, Griffin compiled impressive offensive numbers with at least a .500 batting average in each of the last four years. As a sophomore, she tied the home run record with 12, and has taken home all-district honors her last four years, and all-state recognition as a sophomore and junior.
“Callen is such a versatile player that can play almost any position,” Bynum claimed on Griffin. “Having that type of player is going to add great depth to our team next year.”
Rachel Karlan comes to Tech as a middle infielder from Cumming, Ga., with a stout resume that includes all-county honors in all four years and all-region recognition in two of the last three seasons while attending Forsyth Central High School. This past year, Karlan set her high school’s record with a .512 batting average. In addition to the remarkable success she enjoyed at Central High School, Karlan also played a huge role in leading the 2013 Atlanta Vipers Travel Team to the 16U national championship.
“Rachel is a hard-nosed ball player who has great potential and power at the plate, “Bynum remarked. “I look for her to be a strong contributor next year.”
Rounding out the recruiting class is Taylor Waldrop, a pitcher from Canon, Ga., who is coming off a campaign in which she earned the 2013 Georgia 8AAA Region Pitcher of the Year while attending Franklin County High School. Waldrop has also been named to the Georgia 8AAA first-team all-region in each of the last two years, leading her team to the 2013 Georgia Region 8AAA championship.
“Taylor is going to be a great asset to this team on the mound,” Bynum said. “She fights for every pitch and I look forward to her bringing that fighter mentality to our team.”
Cruse, Karlan, and Waldrop have all completed their high school softball careers as the state of Georgia has its softball season in the fall, while Griffin still has another campaign left this spring.
With key pieces set in place for next year’s Golden Eagle softball team, this year’s squad gets ready to march into the season with opening day right around the corner in early February.