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Purnell, Smithberger Garner All-Conference Accolades
KIRTLAND, Ohio (May 6, 2014 ) – Sophomores Shayla Purnell (Kent, Ohio / Theodore Roosevelt) and Chantel Smithberger (Madison, Ohio / Madison) have been named All-Ohio Community College Athletic Conference (OCCAC) in their final season with the Lakeland softball program.
The duo finished first or second in nearly every offensive category this season. Smithberger, who earned OCCAC honors for the second straight season, finished fifth in the conference and first on the team with a .468 batting average. The sophomore catcher led the Lakers in hits (37), RBIs (22), and on base percentage (.523) while finishing second in doubles (12), homeruns (3), and runs scored (29).
Her career at Lakeland includes two all-conference selections and an all-Region XII nod. Additionally, Smithberger was a two-time winner of the athletic department's female athlete of the year award.
Purnell led the Lakers in homeruns (8), triples (4), and runs scored (30) while finishing second on the team in hits (32), RBIs (21), and average (.386). She wraps up her career with 18 homeruns, 62 runs scored, and 48 RBIs as a two-year starter for the Lakers.
Coach Morganti: "Chantel and Shayla are both deserving of this honor. They posted better numbers at the plate than a year ago. We'll miss that production from the middle part of our lineup. More impressive was their versatility in the field, playing two different positions during the course of a game throughout the season. Both volunteered to pitch in a time of need. That really speaks to their character and team commitment."
Softball Inks Commitment From Riverside's Braddock
KIRTLAND, Ohio (July 1, 2014) – News-Herald Player of the Year Taylor Braddock (Painesville, Ohio) has signed a National Letter of Intent to play softball at Lakeland Community College for the 2013-14 season. Braddock, a standout catcher who led Riverside to 21-2 record including an undefeated Premier Athletic Conference (PAC) season, hit .581 with 40 RBIs and 30 runs scored as a senior.
The three-time all-conference honoree will also provide a strong defensive presence behind the plate. An honor roll student at Riverside, Braddock was named a "Player to Watch" by the News-Herald and Plain Dealer as a junior and senior while earning All-Star honors from OhioVarsity.com.
The daughter of Kelly and Tom Braddock, she plans to major in Education at Lakeland.
Coach Morganti on Braddock: "We're extremely pleased to sign another local player,Taylor Braddock, to our Lakeland roster. She is one of the area's best catchers. Her accolades speak for her ability to play the game. She can hold base runners defensively and is a run-producer at the plate. Taylor will compete for the starting catching position. We like our depth at this spot. Our catchers are also versatile defensively."
Canton South's Uminski Commits to Lakeland
KIRTLAND, Ohio (June 24, 2014) – Katie Uminski, a senior catcher at Canton South High School, has signed a National Letter of Intent to join the Lakeland Community College softball program for the 2014-15 academic year. Uminski was a four-year varsity player and two-time all-conference selection as a member of the Wildcats.
As a junior, Uminski hit .435 with 35 RBIs en route to second team all-conference honors from the Northeastern Buckeye Conference. As a senior, she posted a .487 average with 35 RBIs and was named first team all-conference. A merit roll student and member of the choir, Umisnki also played on the varsity basketball and appeared in the Summit County/Stark County softball all-star game.
The daughter of Debra and Edward Uminski, Katie plans to pursue a degree in American Sign Language at Lakeland.
Coach Morganti on Uminski: "We've added depth to our catching position by signing Katie. We expect her to come in and compete for a starting position. The Canton-Akron area produces very good softball players. Katie will help us behind the plate and in the middle part of our lineup. She's excited to be coming to Lakeland and we're excited to have her."
Baldauf Set to Join Lakeland Softball in 2014
KIRTLAND, Ohio (June 5, 2014) – On Thursday afternoon Lydia Baldauf signed a national letter of intent to join the Lakeland Community College softball program beginning in the fall. The Ledgemont High School product was a four-year varsity softball player and earned second team all-conference honors in the Northeastern Athletic Conference (NAC) as a junior.
The daughter of Bonnie and Jeff Baldauf, she spent the past year enrolled at Lakeland through the Post-Secondary Enrollment Option (PSEO) program and was named to the Dean's List after the fall semester.
Coach Morganti on Baldauf: "We're very pleased Lydia has decided to come to Lakeland to further her education and play softball. She's familiar with the college, having taken PSEO classes here. Lydia's a good student and will fit in well with our other recruits and returning players. She gives us pitching depth and can also play the outfield."
Softball Inks Commitment From Geneva's Pitcher
KIRTLAND, Ohio (April 30, 2014) – Head Coach Jeff Morganti continued to build a strong recruiting class for the 2014-15 season when he inked a commitment from Amy Pitcher on Wednesday afternoon. Pitcher was a decorated four-year starter at Geneva High School where she played a key role in two Premier Athletic Conference (PAC) titles along with a sectional and district championship.
The Eagles posted a 40-19 overall record thanks to Pitcher's 431 career strikeouts and 1.50 overall ERA. She also boasted a .317 batting average at the plate and claimed a pair of Gold Glove awards.
Pitcher earned First Team All-County honors in each of her four seasons with Geneva. She also garnered Second Team All-PAC (2010) and First Team All-PAC (2011-2013) accolades.
The daughter of Eleshia and Bill Pitcher, she plans to major in Early Childhood Education at Lakeland.
Coach Morganti on Pitcher: "We're happy Amy is choosing Lakeland to continue her academic and softball career. She's a crafty left hander eager to get back in the circle to pitch for us. She had a fantastic senior season leading Geneva to conference and district championships."
McKinley Commits to Lakeland Softball
KIRTLAND, Ohio (April 24, 2014) – Halle McKinley, a standout dual sport student-athlete at nearby Eastlake North High School, has signed a National Letter of Intent to join the Lakeland Community College softball program for the 2014-15 academic year.
McKinley played four years of varsity basketball and softball, helping the Rangers claim three Premier Athletic Conference (PAC) championships in basketball as well as a PAC and District title in softball.
In addition to experiencing a wealth of team success, McKinley earned a number of individual awards along the way. As a freshman she was named Second Team All-PAC and News-Herald Player of the Week during the Rangers' conference-winning basketball season. That same year the softball team claimed a District championship.
As a sophomore, McKinley garnered Second Team All-PAC accolades in both softball and basketball while being selected as the defensive MVP in softball.
One year later, she was selected Honorable Mention (basketball) and First Team (softball) All-PAC and was named Offensive MVP in softball after breaking the school record for hits in a season.
In her final scholastic season, McKinley helped guide the basketball team to another PAC Championship en route to Second Team All-Conference and Ranger of the Year award. She was also named News-Herald Player of the Week on January 16.
The daughter of Shannon and Brandon Smith and Mike McKinley, she plans to major in Nursing and is currently participating in the Post-Secondary Enrollment Option (PSEO) at Lakeland.
Coach Morganti on McKinley: "Halle plays the game with high energy. She's been a four-year varsity starting shortstop and fields that position well with exceptional range. She can also play third base, so we like her versatility. Halle is a good contact hitter and can hit the ball to all parts of the field. She is a very good student and will fit into our program well."
Softball Builds 2014 Recruiting Class with Five Signings
KIRTLAND, Ohio (February 27, 2014) – First year head coach Jeff Morganti signed five incoming freshmen to a national letter of intent to join the Lakeland Community College softball program, marking the first signees of the 2015 class. "We're very pleased with the early signatures we got from Kaitlyn, Kandis, Kyler, Tayler and Gabby," said Morganti. "We signed good character players who are also very good students. We are coaching a good group now this spring. Those returning players and recruits will give us depth which will drive competition and, ultimately, will drive our team's mission and success."
Gabrielle (Gabby) Amato is a three-year varsity player at Madison High School, where she was named the team's most improved player and earned second team all-Premier Athletic Conference (PAC) honors as a junior. A two-sport student-athlete (softball and basketball) and volunteer with the Madison football team, Amato helped the Blue Streaks make an appearance in the district final in 2013. She plans to pursue a degree in dental hygiene at Lakeland.
Coach Morganti on Amato: "Gabby will step in and help us behind the plate, since we graduate both of our catchers. Gabby will also help us at either third or first base when she doesn't catch. She will be a 3-year varsity starter for Madison. Last season she hit .378 and hit four home runs. She will help our team behind the plate and at the plate."
Taylor Gustin is an honors student and three-year varsity player at Madison High School, where she is a two-time Team MVP (2011, 2013) and three-time Golden Glove winner (2011-13). Gustin earned the Academic Achievement Award from Madison in each of the past four years while also competing as a member of the basketball team. She earned Honorable Mention all-Premier Athletic Conference (PAC) honors as a junior while helping the Blue Streaks make a district final appearance. The daughter of Denene and Michael Gustin, Taylor plans to study forensic science at Lakeland.
Coach Morganti on Gustin: "I've seen Tayler play for the last four years in high school and travel ball. This is her fourth year as a varsity starter for Madison, who played in the Division-1 District Finals last season. She's a left-handed bat we need in our lineup and hit .347 last season. Tayler can play either third base or shortstop. Her height and athleticism give her great range at both positions."
Kandis Laseke is an honor roll student and member of the National Honor Society at Elyria High School. She helped the Pioneers advance to the Division I state finals as a junior while also competing as a member of the volleyball team. The daughter of Lisa and Chris Laseke, Kandis plans to study accounting and finance at Lakeland.
Kaitlyn Laseke also started for Elyria's state runner-up team and was named the team's most improved player as a junior. A two-sport student-athlete (softball and volleyball), Laseke also garnered the Ray Wilson Award. She plans to study criminology at Lakeland.
Coach Morganti on Kandis and Kaitlyn Laseke: ""Kaitlyn and Kandis play for one of the top Division-1 high school programs in the state. Elyria has produced so many talented softball players over the years. We're extremely happy we're getting two more. Kaitlyn and Kandis started for their 2013 state runner-up team. They are very competitive. Both are versatile defensively. Kaitlyn will catch this year at Elyria but played the outfield last season. Kandis will be Elyria's starting shortstop but played outfield last season for the Pioneers. Both hit for power and average. They're definitely game changers."
Kyler Steven-Lovejoy is an honor roll student and three-sport athlete at Shaker Heights High School. She was named to the honor roll as a junior while competing in soccer, softball, and track. In softball, she collected team MVP (2013) honors and was named to the Lake Erie League (LEL) all-star team. She was also the recipient of the Ronald O'Neil Starks girl's track award and the outstanding freshman award (2010) as a member of the track team. Her 4x400 relay team captured first place at the Mentor Cardinal Relays (2011) while her 4x100 team placed second at the LEL Lake Division meet (2011). The daughter of Terri and Craig Williams, Kyler plans to pursue an associate's degree at Lakeland.
Coach Morganti on Steven-Lovejoy: "We saw Kyler play winterball and felt very strongly about what she could add to our program. Her high school coach, Amanda Rabatin, who's also a Lakeland graduate, raves about her. Kyler has played softball for only a few years after running track. Her athleticism is magnified on the softball field. Her better softball years are in front of her, and we're glad we get the chance to watch her grow into a prolific college player. Kyler will play the outfield for us."
Former Student-Athletes: Where are they now?
Megan Passwaiter - Ursuline (Ohio) College - NCAA Div. II