November 23, 2011

Butler Lands Five Softball Recruits

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Butler head coach Scott Hall was checking the recruiting trail for pitching, hitting and defense, and that’s what he found in his 2012-13 recruiting class.  The second-year Butler coach signed four Indiana high school players and one prep player from Colorado during the November recruiting period, and the five boast talent and success.

Hall, who guided the Bulldogs to 32 wins in 2011, received commitments from Alex Kotter of Vincennes Lincoln High School, Chelsea Conover of Brownsburg High School, Audrey East of New Palestine High School and Taylor Lockwood of Southport High School, and Kristin Gutierrez of Highlands Ranch High School in Colorado.  All five are accomplished prep players.

“We are very excited to have this wonderfully talented group of young ladies commit to what we are trying to build here at Butler,” said Hall.  “Their impact to our program will be immediate.  They have demonstrated on the field and in the classroom the drive and commitment needed to help us continue moving this program forward.”

“This group of young ladies understands the character and integrity it takes to do things the Butler way, and we are proud to have them join the Bulldog family,” added Butler’s coach.

Kotter, who boasts a career .615 batting average, was a first team All-State pick last spring.  She’s topped Lincoln in batting, runs batted in, runs scored, and stolen bases for three straight years, and she’s helped her team to 45 wins and the school’s first two sectional titles.  A three-time all-conference performer, Kotter was named Evansville Courier Southwest Indiana Player of the Year in 2011 and Vincennes Sun Commercial Player of the Year in 2010 and 2011.  She was named McDonald’s Softball Player of the Year in 2010 and 2011.

The talented shortstop helped the INDY Dreams Gold to the 2011 ASA Gold Nationals, where the team tied for 14th.  She batted .500 during the national tournament and .527 for the year.  She’s currently playing for Indiana Magic Gold.

“Alex is a tremendous athlete!  She has a great feel for the game and how it should be played at the shortstop position,” noted Hall.  “She brings tremendous range and skill to our infield.  At the plate, she is a deep threat, but can also bunt for a hit.  We are very excited to have her join our roster next year.”  

Conover is a three-year letterwinner at Brownsburg, where she led the team in stolen bases, runs scored and on-base percentage.  She’s played for Team Akadema Gold during the summer and last year posted a team-high .431 batting average.  She also led her summer team with a .621 on-base percentage.

“Speed, speed, speed.  That’s what Chelsea will bring to the table for us,” said Hall.  “She is a prototype outfielder who has great range and reads the ball well.  A slapper from the left side of the plate, we look for Chelsea to be a table-setter for our big hitters.”

East, who batted .489 with eight home runs and 47 runs batted in for 22-7 New Palestine last season, has helped her high school team to conference, sectional and regional titles and to the 2009 state championship.  She’s earned all-conference, all-county and All-State recognition and been selected team MVP.  She led New Palestine in home runs, RBI’s, doubles (14), walks (16), on-base percentage (.563) and slugging percentage (.902) last spring.

“Audrey comes from a very successful high school program, and we she brings a winning attitude and tremendous work ethic with her,” stated Hall.  “She is one of the premier power hitters in the state.  We look for her to be a big RBI threat at the plate, while being able to play multiple positions in the field.”

Lockwood, a gifted pitcher, helped Southport to a 22-4 record last year and a three-year 64-14 mark.  She’s posted a 17-4 record with 169 strikeouts over her last two prep seasons.  A three-year varsity letterwinner, Lockwood earned all-conference and all-county honors last spring, and she was named to the 2011 Indianapolis Star Super Team.  She also helped the Indy Crush to the 2011 18U ASA-USA National Championship.

“Taylor will join our already successful pitching staff, and I’m confident she will work hard to help continue our success in the circle,” said Hall.  “She has had great success at the high school and travel ball levels, and she will fit right in with our pitching staff.  Taylor has great control and presence as a pitcher, and she will also be able to help her own cause at the plate when needed.”

Gutierrez has been a dual threat with her arm and her bat at Highlands Ranch.  She led her high school conference in strikeouts (127), while also leading the league in hitting (.542).  She’s a three-time, first team all-conference pick, and she was named first team All-State.  She further has earned 2011 ASA All-State recognition and 2011 Triple Crown All-America honors.  Gutierrez also has been a standout in the classroom, where she’s a two-time scholar-athlete nominee.

“Kristin (Sid) gives us a different look in the circle.  Being a left-handed power pitcher, she’ll give us the ability to mix and match against different lineups,” stated Hall. “Sid also swings a good stick with gap power, so adding another lefty to our lineup is always a good thing.”

The Bulldogs will open the 2012 campaign on Feb. 18 with a doubleheader against Lipscomb and Samford at Lipscomb.  Butler’s 2012 home-opener will be against IPFW on March 19.