Nov. 13, 2013
RUSTON - Louisiana Tech head coach Mark Montgomery and his coaching staff has been busy since their arrival in Ruston just over a year ago.
On Wednesday during the first day of the early national signing period, Montgomery and Co. announced the addition of seven high school prep stars to the Lady Techster softball program, including four from the state of Louisiana.
Tech added shortstop Katie Smith (Bossier City, La./Airline HS), pitcher Carolina Sanchez (Shreveport, La./Evangel Christian), pitcher Bailey Allen (Pineville, La./Pineville HS), catcher/utility Kassidy Harris (Ida, La./North Caddo Magnet HS), shortstop Karlee Jensen (Taylorsville, Utah/Taylorsville HS), shortstop Casey Ingram (Pflugerville, Texas/Pflugerville HS) and shortstop Taylor Brintzenhoff (Fleetwood, Penn./Brandywine Heights HS).
"This is our first full recruiting class," Montgomery said. "The thing we wanted to address foremost was depth at all positions. Therefore we have four shortstops whose athletic abilities allow them to play multiple position, one true utility player, and two pitchers. This should allow us to be at least three deep at every position with quality and each player really only having to learn two positions.
"We are very excited to add a little Louisiana flavor to the roster, but we have also expanded our recruiting to some new areas that we think will really pay huge dividends now and in the future."
Allen has lettered for the past three years for Coach Mark Mertens at Pineville High School where she has led the program to pair of bi-district titles the past two seasons.
"Bailey is a pitcher with a tremendous upside," said Montgomery. "She has as much movement in her best pitch as anyone in the country. After developing another pitch or two, and working on her consistency, she could become remarkable."
Allen is a three-time all-district selection and was named to the All-CENLA team by the Alexandria Town Talk last season after posting a 19-5 record with a 1.19 earned run average. She also added 189 strikeouts on the year.
"I chose LA Tech because I believe it's the perfect fit for me," Allen said. "All the coaches and players are awesome, and I can't wait to be a part of such a great team."
Sanchez is another pitcher from the area who lettered the past five years at Evangel Christian Academy where she helped lead the program to a pair of state championship game appearances.
"Carolina has all of the abilities to be the next great pitcher at Louisiana Tech," Montgomery said. "She throws multiple pitches with great velocity and has fantastic movement. She has also displayed outstanding power at the plate. Carolina has the tools to help take us to the next level."
Sanchez is a five-time first team all-district selection, a three-time all-city honoree by the Shreveport Times and a two-time all-area selection. She was also named first team all-state as a junior, posting a 1.21 earned run average with 91 strikeouts and a 14-5 record.
"I chose Tech because my mom wanted me to stay close so she could come watch games and so we could see each other often," Sanchez said. "Also because of Coach Montgomery; the program is already better after his first year and is going to continue to rise. I'm confident in his ability to create a great team, and I already know a few of my future teammates. That just seals the deal."
Harris lettered for two years at McLeod I.S.D. in Texas before moving to Louisiana where she played as a junior for coach Lory Kowaleski at North Caddo Magnet.
"Kassidy is a true utility player," Montgomery said. "In fact other than pitcher, I'm not sure there is a position she can't play. However, it is her left-handed bat, and the fact that she can hit for both power and average that will allow her to be an immediate asset to our team."
Harris is a three-time first team all-district selection during her high school career and was named all-city by the Shreveport Times and all-state as a junior at North Caddo Magnet. She batted .536 with six home runs, 35 RBI and 28 stolen bases as a junior and was named team MVP. During her playing days in Texas, she was named the Newcomer of the Year by the Texarkana Gazette as a freshman and Offensive MVP by the media outlet as a sophomore.
"When I first walked on the Louisiana Tech campus, it felt like home," Harris said. Smith is one of four shortstops that Montgomery signed who should provide Tech with plenty of infield depth over the course of the next four years. She has lettered for three years for Danny Roberts at Airline High School.
"Katie is arguably the best fielder in the state of Louisiana," Montgomery said. "She make defense look smooth and effortless, and I have seen her make every throw from about every arm angle. She has been playing college level defense since her sophomore year in high school."
Smith has played shortstop, second base and outfield during her high school career. She batted .426 as a junior with 24 RBI. She is a three-time all-district selection, two-time all-city honoree by the Shreveport Times and two-time all-state honoree.
"I am signing with Louisiana Tech because I think it is the best fit for me," Smith said. "I have always wanted to play college softball, and Tech has always been at the top of my list. I feel very thankful and blessed to have been given this opportunity."
Jensen is a three-year letter winner for Coach Rich Kaelin at Taylorsville High School in Utah who has also played shortstop, second base and outfield for the Warriors.
"Karlee is a slick fielding infielder," said Montgomery. "Her style of play is very similar to that of Derek Jeter. She can range deep into the hole and make the strongest of throws to first base. In addition she has surprising power in her swing."
Jensen batted .506 as a junior with six home runs and 38 RBI. She is a three-time first team all-region honoree and was named first team all-state as a junior and second team all-state as a freshman and sophomore. She led Taylorsville to a first place finish in their region as a freshman and sophomore and a second place finish as a junior.
"I am excited to play for a school that has a strong academic reputation and softball tradition," said Jensen. "I fell in love with the coaches, campus and team. I am proud to be a Lady Techster."
Brintzenhoff signs with LA Tech after lettering for Coach Donald Roach at Brandywine Heights School in Pennsylvania where she played shortstop for the Bullets.
"Taylor is maybe our strongest athlete in this class," Montgomery said. "In addition to having great defensive skills, her hitting ability is what impressed us the most. Her strong swing will provide significant power to our line-up."
Brintzenhoff led the Bullets to three straight district titles and the 2013 Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class 2A state title. As a junior she batted .438 with a .505 on-base percentage and a .760 slugging percentage. She is a two-time all-division selection.
"I am excited to sign with Louisiana Tech because it's such a beautiful area and a perfect fit," Brintzenhoff said. "The coaches, the team, the campus and the town ... it all falls into place. I feel at home when I'm in Ruston, and I can't wait to become a Lady Techster."
Ingram lettered for Coach David Sisson at Pflugerville High School in Texas where she played shortstop, second base, outfield and catcher.
"Casey is a fireball," said Montgomery. "While small in stature she plays this game as if she is 6-feet tall. She is a versatile fielder with speed, and plays the game with passion that is immediately apparent to anyone watching."
Ingram helped lead the Panthers to the bi-district title and the area finals in 2011 and 2013 and was a two-time honorable mention all-district honoree. The three-time academic all-district selection also received the Fighting Heart Award, a school-wide honor that is voted on by all the coaches.
"I've always had the goal to play Division I softball at a school strong in traditions," said Ingram. "After my first visit, I knew Louisiana Tech was the place I could accomplish this goal while pursuing my degree. The coaching staff saw the passion I have for the game, and I am excited to play for them the next four years."
Pineville, La. (Pineville HS)
High School: Lettered three years for coach Mark Mertens at Pineville High School ... Pitched for the Rebels ... Helped lead Pineville to a pair of bi-district championships in 2012 and 2013 ... Three-time All-District 2-5A pitcher ... Named to the All-CENLA team by the Alexandria Town Talk in 2013 ... Recorded a 19-5 record with a 1.19 earned run average and 189 strikeouts as a junior ... Plays travel ball for coach Darrell Landry and the LA Patriots Gold ... Helped lead the team to a ninth place finish in 18U ASA Gold Nationals and a third place finish at the Silver 18U Triple Crown Sports Nationals ... Personal: Full name is Bailey Kristin Allen ... Daughter of Randy and Karen Allen ... Has one brother, Cody ... Born May 21, 1996 in Alexandria, La.
Fleetwood, Penn. (Brandywine Heights HS)
High School: Lettered four years for coach Donald Roach at Brandywine Heights High School in Pennsylvania ... Played shortstop and helped lead the Bullets to three district titles and the 2013 Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class 2A state title ... Also led Brandywine Heights to the 2011 state title game ... Two-time all-division at shortstop in 2010 and 2012 ... As a junior batted .438 with a .505 on-base percentage and a .760 slugging percentage ... Plays travel ball for coach Steve Mumma and the Krunch Gold ... Personal: Full name is Taylor Ann Brintzenhoff ... Daughter of Thomas and Pamela Brintzenhoff ... Has one brother, Travis ... Born June 17, 1996 in Allentown, Penn.
Ida, La. (North Caddo Magnet HS)
High School: Lettered for two years for coach DJ Meisinger at McLeod I.S.D. in Texas and one year for coach Lory Kowaleski at North Caddo Magnet in Vivian, Louisiana ... Played infield and caught during her high school career ... As a junior batted .536 with six home runs, 35 RBI and 28 stolen bases ... Three-time first team all-district selection ... Named all-city by Shreveport Times and all-state as a junior at North Caddo Magnet ... Named team Offensive MVP as a junior ... Named Newcomer of the Year by the Texarkana Gazette and the team MVP as a freshman at McLeod ... Named Offensive MVP by the Texarkana Gazette, Athlete of the Year by McLeod High School and team MVP as a sophomore at McLeod ... Also lettered in basketball four years during high school career ... Member of the National Honor Society and National Society for High School Scholars ... Plays travel ball for coaches Lori Kowaleski and Sher Mueller and the Louisiana Freedom Gold 18u ... Personal: Full name is Kassidy Daniele Harris ... Daughter of Tammy and Dub Harris ... Has one brother, Dusty ... Born April 9, 1996 in Shreveport, La.
Pflugerville, Texas (Pflugerville HS)
High School: Lettered three years for coach David Sisson and the Pflugerville Panthers ... Played shortstop, second base, outfield and catcher ... Helped lead the Panthers to the bi-district championship and area finals in 2011 and 2013 ... Named honorable mention all-district in 2012 and 2013 ... Received the Fighting Heart Award in 2013, a school-wide honor that is voted on by the coaches ... Three-time Academic All-District honoree ... Plays travel ball for coaches Jeff Staton, Jacquelyn Beatty and Haylee Staton and the Texas Stix Gold ... Personal: Full name is Casey Lea Ingram ... Daughter of Jeff and Diana Ingram ... Has one sister, Amanda ... Born Aug. 14, 1996 in Austin, Texas.
Taylorsville, Utah (Taylorsville HS)
High School: Lettered three years for coach Rich Kaelin at Taylorsville High School in Utah ... Played shortstop, second base, outfield and caught for the Warriors ... Helped the team finish first in the region as a freshman and sophomore and second as a junior while qualifying for state tournament every year ... Batted .506 with six home runs and 38 RBI as a junior ... Three-time first team all-region ... First team all-state as a junior and second team all-state as a freshman and sophomore ... Named Team MVP as a sophomore and junior and team defensive POY as a freshman ... Also lettered on the varsity basketball team for three years and soccer team one year ... Member of the National Honor Society ... Senior Class secretary ... Plays travel ball for coach John Brambila and the Utah Predators and coach Ron Thompson and the Washington Explosion ... Personal: Full name is Karlee Lynn Jensen ... Daughter of Keith and Edie Jensen ... Has a twin sister, named Kalli, and two older brothers named Derek and Jayce ... Born Dec. 8, 1995 in Murray, Utah.
Shreveport, La. (Evangel Christian Academy)
High School: Lettered five years for coach Sher Mueller and Meghan Fisher and the Evangel Christian Academy Eagles ... Pitched for ECA ... Posted a 14-5 record with a 1.21 ERA and 91 strikeouts as a junior ... Helped lead Evangel to the state championship game as a freshman and sophomore, including the 2011 Louisiana Class 2A state title ... Five-time first team all-district selection ... Two-time all-area and three-time all-city selection by the Shreveport Times ... Named all-state as a junior ... Member of the National Honor Society ... Plays travel ball for the American Freedom Gold ... Personal: Full name is Carolina Dora Sanchez ... Daughter of John and Cathy Sanchez ... Has one brother, Chase ... Born Dec. 4, 1995 in Bossier City, La.
Bossier City, La. (Airline HS)
High School: Lettered three years for coach Danny Roberts at Airline High School ... Played shortstop, second base and outfield for the Vikings ... Batted .426 as a junior with 24 RBI ... Three-time all-district selection ... Two-time all-city selection by the Shreveport Times ... Two-time all-state honoree ... Member of the National Honor Society ... Plays travel ball for coach Lory Kowaleski and the Freedom ... Personal: Full name is Mary Katherine Smith ... Daughter of Eric and Michelle Smith ... Has one sister, Taylor Ann, and two brothers, Jacob and Seth ... Born Nov. 11, 1995 in Shreveport, La.