Nov. 26, 2014
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - A busy, but successful signing period has come to a close for Marshall University’s softball program, which announces the addition of six new players to coach Shonda Stanton’s team. Marshall has added Summer Collins (Chapmanville, W.Va.), Brianna Daiss (Clermont, Fla.), Hayden Ellis (Ashville, Ohio), Samantha Loose (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) Cheyenne Meyer (Port Republic, N.J.) and Abigail Tolbert (Barboursville, W.Va.) to its squad for the class of 2019.
“I appreciate all the time invested by my assistant coaches Chanda and Kendall to help secure a tremendous 2015 recruiting class,” Stanton said. “This group truly reflects what Herd Softball is about from their work ethic and character to their commitment to excellence, both academically and athletically.”
Collins, a 5-4 outfielder, comes to the Herd after playing for Logan High School and with the travel team, the West Virginia Dusters. Collins plans on majoring in business and finance during her time at Marshall.
I have always wanted to play Division One softball, and Marshall plays at a high level of competition in Conference USA,” Collins said. “It is truly a blessing and such an honor to represent my home state.”
Stanton said Collins provides tools such as speed and depth with her play.
“Collins adds speed to our offense and a strong arm in the outfield,” Stanton said. “She is the right fit for our aggressive style of play. Having played for the Dusters and the Spurlocks makes her familiar with how we run our program, which helps in the transition to the next level.”
Daiss, a 5-7 utility player, signs with the Herd from East Ridge High School in Clermont, Fla. She also has played for the Windermere Wildfire Stutsman club team. She hit 21 home runs in one individual travel softball season and was a member of her varsity team in all four years of high school. Daiss was the only freshman on the varsity team in 2012. Daiss can hit, but also provides plate patience, with only 18 strikeouts in one season with 282 total at bats.
Daiss said she took a liking to the Marshall community and campus instantly.
“I chose Marshall University because I love the coaching staff as well as all the girls on the team, they welcomed me with open arms and treated me like I was already a part of the family,” Daiss said. “I love the environment in and around the campus, everyone is incredibly friendly and is always there to help you out whenever you need it. The campus and surrounding environment is warm and welcoming, like I have another home and I know that wherever I go, Marshall will be forever a part of my life from this point forward.”
Stanton said Daiss is the kind of power hitter Marshall will need in its future.
“Daiss swings a big bat and we will look for her to drive in runs in the heart of our lineup,” Stanton said. “She can change the game with one swing of the bat. We expect her to help absorb some of the power we will lose in our 2016 class.”
Ellis, a 5-6 utility player, attends Teays Valley High School, where she was a three year starter and played for the Ohio Nightmare Gold 18 and under club team. With the Nightmare, Ellis has also been named to the Adidas Futures team and posted a .988 fielding percentage overall at Teays Valley, along with 44 total walks and is second all-time with 14 home runs.
Ellis said she has been around Marshall before and loves the campus, coaches and community.
“I chose Marshall University because of the feeling that I get when I am on campus and around everyone down there,” Ellis said. “I have been coming down to Marshall every year since I have been in eighth grade and every time I do, I fall in love all over again with the community, people, and campus. Coach Stanton and her staff have had a big impact on me coming to Marshall and I am looking forward to finally becoming a Herd member, as well as working hard to pursue my dreams academically and athletically.”
Stanton said Ellis has been around the program before, attending camps at Marshall. Stanton also said she is excited for the athleticism Ellis provides.
“Hayden is as athletic as they come behind the plate with good footwork and blocking skills,” Stanton said. “We have known Hayden since she first came to our camp in 8th grade and it has been exciting to continue to watch her grow and develop.”
Meyer, a 5-10 1B/P from Cedar Creek High School in Port Republic, N.J. and has played club softball for the Jersey Intensity for the last five seasons. She was named all-conference in the Cape Atlantic League as a pitcher in three seasons. Meyer has also been named a first team Atlantic City Press All-Star in her sophomore and junior years, as well as being named to the the Philadelphia Phillies Carpenters Cup team for New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania in both her sophomore and junior years. She has hit for a career .596 batting average with 22 home runs, with 130 RBIs, all of which led the Cape Atlantic League. Her career pitching stats are a 41-13 recorded with 529 strikeouts and 1.12 ERA.
Meyer said that the family atmosphere at Marshall played a key part in her decision to sign with the Herd.
“I picked Marshall University because I love the tradition and history of the school,” Meyer said. “Along with the feeling of being a part of the Marshall family from the first moment I stepped on the campus really made my decision an easy one.”
Stanton said that Meyer brings plenty to the table, both offensively and defensively.
“Meyer has competed at the highest level in the travel ball circuit having played for Kevin O'Donnell's Intensity,” Stanton said. “She provides a consistent and dependable bat. Chey also adds depth in the circle and defensively.”
Loose currently attends El Modena High School in Orange, Calif. and also plays for the Morgan Explosion club team. Loose was named as a Scholar Athlete from 2012-2014 with a 3.75 GA. She has been named Second team all-league for 2013-14 season and batted .400 last season. She plans to major in broadcast journalism and business.
Loose said she felt welcome from the moment she stepped onto the Marshall campus, which greatly influenced her decision to attend.
“Growing up I always wanted to be a Division One athlete,” Loose said. “When I visited Marshall I could not find one thing that I did not like, and I felt completely welcomed. I fell in love with the school, coaches, and the whole team in general. The new facilities were also a big selling point. When I was asked if I wanted to become a part of The Herd, I knew that is what God had in store for me.”
Stanton said that Loose provides a hard work ethic that every team needs.
“We were thin up the middle and addressed that need with the addition of Loose,” Stanton said. “She is a fiery and scrappy ballplayer and will provide a spark on both sides of the ball for us. We will look for her to make an immediate impact in our line-up.”
Tolbert, a pitcher/.infielder, signs on to Marshall from Cabell Midland High School and, like Collins, played club softball for the West Virginia Dusters. She won a 2014 National Tournament in Myrtle Beach and bats and throws right-handed.
Tolbert said she chose to attend Marshall to play for her local team.
“I chose to go to Marshall because I wanted to represent my hometown,” Tolbert said. “As a little girl it was my dream to go to Marshall for sports, and now I have the privilege of making that dream a reality.”
Like Ellis, Tolbert has been around the Marshall program before as a camper. Stanton said Tolbert provides strong intangibles as a pitcher and as a team leader.
“Tolbert will provide us depth in the circle and will complement our current pitching staff,” Stanton said. “She is an outstanding individual and a natural leader by example with her maturity and service. Having grown up so close to our program she understands the pride in wearing the green and white.”
The Herd is coming off of three consecutive appearances in the Conference USA Championship (winning in 2013) and will start its season on Feb. 6.