Coyote softball announces additions to 2007-08 team

Coyote softball announces additions to 2007-08 team
The University of South Dakota softball head coach Kim Zarling has announced the signings of two student-athletes to National Letters of Intent to join the Coyote program in the 2007-08 school year. Pitcher/infielder Mel Johnson of Sioux Falls, and catcher/third baseman Jessica Lussman of Storm Lake, IA will begin their collegiate careers next year as freshmen, and join pitcher Courtney Heim as members of the Coyote softball recruiting class of 2008.

Johnson has been a three-time first team all-state selection at Washington High School the past three years, including leading the Warriors to a perfect 17-0 record last season. She boasts an excellent track record with her summer team as well as helping the Sioux Falls Fusion post a 51-14 mark last year while batting .379, boosting that mark to .470 with runners in scoring position. Johnson pitched in six tournament championship games for the Fusion last summer, allowing only one earned run in 31 innings of work for a 0.23 ERA.

"It's exciting to have Mel join the Coyote softball program both as a student and an athlete," said Zarling. "Mel has had great softball playing experiences with the Sioux Falls Fusion and Washington High School. It is this competitive experience that will allow Mel to play and succeed at the college level. She possesses a tremendous work ethic and has a passion for the game of softball."

Lussman has earned a myriad of honors during her playing days with the St. Mary's High School team. Following her junior season, in which she batted .367 with three home runs, six triples, seven doubles, 27 RBIs and a .722 slugging percentage while also throwing out 18-of-27 would-be base-stealers, Lussman was named to the all-conference, Pilot Tribune all-area and Storm Lake Times all-area first teams as well as earning all-state honorable mention recognition. She was an all-conference second team and Pilot Tribune All-Area First Team selection following her sophomore season, in which she batted .390 with four homers, three triples, eight doubles, 25 RBIs and posted a .727 slugging percentage.

"I am excited to have Jessica be a part of our program," said Zarling. "Defensively, I'm pleased, as she can offer us versatility at third base and behind the plate. Offensively, I think that she will only continue to mature, get stronger and more aggressive, which will naturally improve her hitting."

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