USD women’s softball team signs five

USD women's softball team signs five The University of South Dakota head women's softball coach Kim Zarling signed five outstanding student-athletes to national letters of intent to enroll at USD and participate in the Coyote women's softball program during the 2000-2001 season.

"The addition of these five players to the Coyote program next year should help to strengthen a team that is on the rise," said Zarling, who is in her fifth season at the Coyote helm and is USD's all-time winningest softball coach. "They are a very versatile group that will be called on to help lead the Coyotes to a conference championship."

The 2000-2001 Coyote softball recruits include: Keri Bolte, catcher from Ralston H.S., Ralston, NE; Kaja Martinson, catcher/third baseman from Eastview H.S., Burnsville, MN; Sara Medved, pitcher from Totino-Grace H.S., Shoreview, MN; Mollie Witherbee, third baseman from Omaha Westside H.S., Omaha, NE, and Cara Ellwanger, pitcher/catcher/outfield from Stevens H.S., Rapid City.

The Coyotes are currently 20-25 overall and 2-7 in the North Central Conference.

Bolte led Ralston H.S. to three consecutive Class B state softball championships. She led the team this year in batting average (.386) and will be pursuing an education degree at The University of South Dakota.

"Keri has a very strong accurate throwing arm, she hits with power, and she is a very knowledgeable player," Zarling said.

Martinson was named rookie of the year and co-captain at Eastview H.S. The 5'7" right-handed catcher had a (.985) fielding average in 1999 and will be pursuing a degree in biology with an emphasis in genetics at USD.

"Kaja has a lot of strength that will help the Coyotes, she is very quick, has a strong arm and is just an all-around athlete with a lot of versatility," Zarling said.

Medved led her team to a third place finish in the Minnesota State Class AA state tournament in 1999. She had a record of 22-4 on the mound with an ERA of (0.43) and 199 strikeouts. She pitched 61 consecutive scoreless innings. Medved was a three year All-Conference and All-Region selection and was named to the All-State team in 1999 and will be pursuing a biology degree at USD.

"Sara will be a strong asset to our program. She has very strong pitching skills, is a solid defensive player and can also make a large impact offensively," Zarling said.

Witherbee led Omaha Westside to a second place finish this past fall in the Nebraska State Class A Softball tournament. She was a member of the 1998 state tournament team and was an honorable mention All-Conference selection in 1997. She holds the Class A record for most RBI's in a game during the '97 and '98 seasons.

"Mollie is a very smart defensive third baseman with lots of natural leadership abilities. She will also be a threat at the plate for the Coyotes with the ability to bunt or hit with power," Zarling said.

Ellwanger led Rapid City Stevens to several state and national tournaments and competed in the 28 and under National Softball Tournament in Sioux Falls with team Eclipse. Her pitching record over the past two years is an impressive (32-10). She led her team in batting average (.452) in 1998 and (.389) in 1999.

"Cara is a very well-rounded player with all skills needed to excel at the next level," Zarling said.

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