JACKSONVILLE, Fla.- Jacksonville University softball head coach Erica Ayers has announced that three members of the class of the class of 2022 will be joining the Dolphins next season. Kristen Sterling, Tori Rodebaugh, and Kayanna Perez signed national letters of intent Monday, and will be taking their talents to the River City, beginning in fall 2018.
"We are thrilled with the addition of Kayanna, Kristen and Tori," Ayers said. "Not only are they great kids from great families, but all three of them have a real knack for hitting. They will instantly provide an offensive spark from the left side of the plate, as well as create havoc on the bases."
Kayanna Perez | OF | Jacksonville, Fla. | Paxon School For Advanced Studies
Perez, a shortstop from Jacksonville, will provide depth in the outfield for the Dolphins. She has been a three year starter for the Paxon Eagles, helping the team to win their district championship the past two seasons. A two-time all-conference selection, She follows in the footsteps of her mother, Lisa, who played softball at Florida State College of Jacksonville from 1991-1993.
She has played club softball for six years, as a member of the Santa Fe Inferno.
Perez has been active off the field as well, participating in Paxson's JROTC program, and volunteering with the Y.E.S. Club. She intends to study graphic design while at JU, with plans to become a neonatal nurse.
Ayers on Perez: "Kayanna has the ability to be a legitimate triple threat at the top of the lineup. She can beat you with her speed and short game, as well as drive the ball gap to gap."
Tori Rodebaugh | IF | Eustis, Fla. | Eustis HS
A versatile infielder, Rodebaugh joins the Dolphins from Eustis, Florida. A two year starter for Eustis High School, she led the Panthers to a 26-2 finish in 2017, and their first-ever 5a State Championship appearance. The team won their district and region least year, and Rodebaugh was named First Team All-State and All-District, leading the region in RBI's.
She has played club softball as a member of the Lake county Tigers for the past two seasons.
Rodebaugh has participated in other extracurriculars while in high school, taking part in Beta Club and FCA. She plans to major in Business while studying at Jacksonville.
Ayers on Rodebaugh: "Tori is a leader, a spark plug and extremely versatile. She will be able to play multiple positions for us on defense, and will be an extremely tough out at the plate."
Kristen Sterling | OF | Jacksonville, Fla. | Baldwin Middle-Senior HS
A native of Jacksonville, Sterling brings experience and success on the field to the Dolphins. A three-year starter at nearby Baldwin Middle-Senior High School, she is a three-time all-conference selection, and has helped the Indians to finish top-two in their conference each of the past three seasons.
She joins fellow incoming freshman Kayanna Perez as a member of the Santa Fe Inferno club softball team.
In addition to her accolades on the field, Sterling has excelled in the classroom as well. A scholar athlete throughout middle and high school, she has been a member of the National Honor Society, and has participated in Youth Leadership Jacksonville and the Jacksonville Association for Governing Students. She plans to study Kinesiology while at JU, with hoped of becoming a physical therapist or athletic trainer.
Ayers on Sterling: ""Kristen is a natural born hitter. She will come in driving the ball gap to gap and eventually grow into a legitimate power threat. She's also sneaky quick in the OF and on the bases."
The Dolphins are currently in the midst of their fall 2017 schedule, and are continuing preparations for the upcoming 2018 season.