Nov. 26, 2012
RUSTON - With six seniors on this year's roster, Louisiana Tech head coach Mark Montgomery knew it was imperative that he find some quality replacements for this year's class.
The first year head coach did just that as he signed five high school prep stars to national letters of intent during the early period as LA Tech inked Tori Charters (Keller, Texas/Keller HS), Amanda Gray (Allen, Texas/Lovejoy HS), Taylor Penn (Forney, Texas/Forney HS), Pauline Tufi (Anchorage, Alaska/West Anchorage HS), and Kaitlyn Williams (Glendale, Calif./Herbert Hoover HS).
Charters is a speedy outfielder who has lettered for coach Lindsay Strong at Keller High School where she has led the Indians to the District 7-5A title the past two years.
"Tori is probably one of the fastest kids I've ever seen," Montgomery said. "She is a fantastic outfielder that can really create havoc on the base paths. She is a true slapper and is extremely explosive out of the box. I expect Tori to have an immediate impact for us."
Charters earned all-district honors each of the past two years after being named the Dallas-Ft. Worth Newcomer of the Year as a freshman. The two-time Academic All-District honoree batted .440 with 20 stolen bases last season and her 58 hits as a sophomore ranked third all-time in school history. She plays travel ball for the American Freedom Gold.
"I chose Louisiana Tech because I loved the atmosphere and layout of the campus, and I instantly felt comfortable," Charters said. "Louisiana Tech is the perfect fit and size that I was looking for in a college, and I really like that the softball field is located near the other sports facilities. The Louisiana Tech professors I met on my unofficial visit made me feel very welcome, and I really believe that I will be able to achieve my academic and athletic dreams here. I'm very proud to be a Lady Techster."
Gray is a catcher who has played her high school softball at Lovejoy High School in Texas where she batted .416 with 18 RBIs as a junior.
"Amanda is a skilled catcher out of the Texas Glory organization," Montgomery said. "She is a very good defensive catcher and will provide depth for us at a position that is so desperately needed."
Gray was named the District 11-3A Catcher of the Year the past two seasons while earning Texas Girls Coaches Association Class 3A all-state honors in 2012. An all-area selection as a junior, she was named the Lovejoy High School varsity sports Defensive MVP in 2012. She plays travel ball for the Texas Glory Gold organization.
"I chose to sign with Louisiana Tech because I fell in love with the atmosphere the first time I had a tour during camp," Gray said. "It felt like its where I was meant to be. I am very excited to be joining the softball program and playing for Coach Mark Montgomery."
Penn is an infielder that has spent the past four years playing for coach Eric Montgomery at Forney High School in Texas where she helped lead the Jackrabbits to the district title the past three years.
"A travel ball teammate of Amanda Gray's, Taylor is a true utility infielder that swings a big bat," Montgomery said. "She is not only a great contact hitter, but she has some surprising power. With her versatility on the infield, she should compete for playing time immediately."
The three-time all-district selection was a key component in leading Forney to back-to-back appearances in the Texas state tournament. A member of the Dallas Morning News' all-area team, she batted .368 with 19 extra base hits during her junior year. She plays travel ball for the Texas Glory Gold organization.
"I really liked the Louisiana Tech campus, the north Louisiana setting and the new facilities on campus," Penn said. "The student life seemed to be a lot of fun and I look forward to enjoying it. I really got fired up once I saw Coach (Mark) Montgomery in action on the field and had a chance to meet him."
Tufi is believed to be the first Lady Techster softball player to ever come from the state of Alaska as the pitcher and utility has played her high school career for coach Jeff Matthis at West Anchorage High School.
"Pauline is one of the most amazing athletes I have ever seen in my 20-plus years of coaching," Montgomery said. "She is big, fast and strong. She doesn't have to get all of it to hit it out of the park. She can pitch or play most any position. We expect her to not only pitch, but to be a mainstay in the lineup. We are excited that Pauline decided to come to Tech."
Tufi was named the Alaska Gatorade Player of the Year as both a sophomore and junior while leading the Eagles to the state title in 2011. The three-time all-region honoree is a three-time all-state selection as well. She has also lettered in basketball, hockey and track and field. She plays travel ball for the Triple Crown Stars out of Ft. Collins, Colorado.
"I chose Louisiana Tech because I want to play for Coach Montgomery and Coach Douglas," said Tufi. "When I visited the campus, I instantly felt welcome and at home. I loved the sense of the Tech family. I know the university has a great academic reputation and will offer me a great education as well as culture and diversity."
Williams continues a long history of LA Tech softball players out of the state of California as she has played for coach Rich Henning at Herbert Hoover High School.
"Kaitlyn is a skilled shortstop out of California," Montgomery said. "She can play either middle infield position and has a great arm as well as an extremely strong bat. She is tough to strikeout and loves to perform in pressure situations."
Williams batted .478 with 33 hits and 15 extra base hits during her junior season while scoring 20 runs and batting in 25 more. The three-time team captain and two-time team MVP earned all-Pacific League honors each of her first three years in high school. The recipient of the Presidential Service Award as a freshman and sophomore also earned all-area honors twice. She plays travel ball for the So Cal Rage 18U Gold.
"I chose Louisiana Tech because I felt like it was a perfect fit for me," Williams said. "I fell in love with the campus, the team and the coaches. The softball program at the university was exactly what I've been hoping to play for, and I can't wait to continue to play softball at Louisiana Tech."
Montgomery said he could add some additional signees during the late period this spring.
Keller, Texas (Keller HS)
High School: Lettered three years for coach Lindsay Strong at Keller High School in Texas ... Played outfield for the Indians ... Led Keller to the District 7-5A championship as both a sophomore and junior ... Also led the Indians to the regional final in 2011 ... Batted .440 with 20 stolen bases as a junior ... Named the Dallas-Ft. Worth Newcomer of the Year ... Named first team all-District 7-5A in 2011 and 2012 ... Named Academic All-District in 2011 and 2012 ... Her 58 hits in 2011 ranks third all-time for Keller High School ... Her .467 batting average in 2011 ranks fifth all-time for Keller High School ... Plays travel ball for coach Tim Soefje and the American Freedom Gold ... Personal: Full name is Victoria Brooke Charters ... Daughter of Ian and Debra Charters ... Has one sister, Natalie ... Born Aug. 30, 1994 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Allen, Texas (Lovejoy High School)
High School: Lettered four years for coach Amanda Douglas at Lovejoy High School in Texas ... Was the catcher for the Leopards ... As a junior she batted .416 with 18 RBIs ... Named Catcher of the Year in District 11-3A in both 2011 and 2012 ... Was named to the Texas Girls Coaches Association Class 3A all-state team in 2012 ... Named all-area honorable mention in 2012 ... Named the Lovejoy High School Varsity Sports Defensive MVP in 2012 ... A member of the National Honor Society ... Was named Academic All-District in 2010 ... Plays travel ball for coach Aaron Lusk and the Texas Glory Gold ... Personal: Full name is Amanda Michelle Gray ... Daughter of Kim and Grey Gray ... Has one brother, Garrett ... Born June 26, 1995 in Escondido, California.
Forney, Texas (Forney HS)
High School: Lettered four years for coach Eric Montgomery at Forney High School in Texas ... Helped lead the Jackrabbits to the district title her first three years ... Also led Forney to the Texas Class 4A state championship game as a sophomore ... Led the Jackrabbits to back-to-back appearances at the Texas state tournament (only four teams advance to state each year) ... Named honorable mention all-district as a freshman and sophomore and first team all-district as a junior ... Named third team all-area by the Dallas Morning News as a junior ... Batted .368 with 19 extra base hits as a junior at Forney HS ... Played second base, third base and shortstop during her high school career ... Lettered in basketball as a senior ... Plays travel ball for coach Aaron Lusk and the Texas Glory Gold ... Personal: Full name is Taylor Madison Penn ... Daughter of Jay and Brenda Penn ... Has one sister, Alex ... Born Oct. 1, 1994 in Dallas, Texas.
Anchorage, Alaska (West Anchorage HS)
High School: Lettered four years for coach Jeff Matthis at West Anchorage High School ... Helped lead the Eagles to the state softball championship in 2011 ... Has played numerous positions in high school, including pitcher, catcher and shortstop ... Named Alaska Gatorade Player of the Year in 2011 and 2012 ... Three-time all-region team ... Three-time all-state team ... Lettered in basketball four years, earning all-region honors as a junior ... Lettered in hockey three years, leading the program to the state title as a sophomore ... Named all-region and all-state defensive team as a freshman in hockey ... Lettered on the varsity track and field team three years ... Won the regional championship as a sophomore in the shot put and discus ... Earned an all-academic letter her first three years of high school ... Has been on the 4.0 honor roll five semesters ... Played travel ball for coach Stephanie Klaviter and Dave King on the Triple Crown Stars (Ft. Collins, Colorado) ... Personal: Full name is Pauline Lisinia Ariel Tufi ... Daughter of Trevor and Rebecca Mason ... Has two sisters, Alexandra and Manuia ... Has two brothers, Elijah and Carmelo ... Born May 4, 1995 in Anchorage, Alaska.
Glendale, Calif. (Herbert Hoover HS)
High School: Lettered four years for coach Rich Henning at Herbert Hoover High School ... Played shortstop for the Tornadoes ... Batted .478 with 33 hits (6 doubles, 5 triples, 4 home runs), 25 RBI and 20 runs as a junior ... Serves as team captain her final three years ... Named team MVP as sophomore and junior ... Named first team All-Pacific League as sophomore and junior ... Named second team All-Pacific League as freshman ... Two-time first team all-area ... Earned the Presidential Service Award as a freshman and sophomore ... Played travel ball for Coach Jim Guido and the So Cal Rage 18U Gold ... Personal: Full name is Kaitlyn Noelani Williams ... Daughter of Steve and Debra Williams ... Has one brother, Ryan ... Born May 18, 1995 in Torrance, Calif.