Leesburg, Fla. – The Lake-Sumter State College softball program is excited to announce their 2019 recruiting class.
This group will have big shoes to fill after the departure of 14 sophomores from the 2019 team who left the program tied with the most wins in a two year period in program history. The following 11 freshman and one sophomore transfer have been handpicked to join the nine returning players in an effort to take the program to the next level.
Bailee Sims – C, Forest High School
Sims was the first commit the Lakehawks received in the 2019 class. A standout catcher from Ocala, Sims wanted to be a part of what Head Coach, Jay Miller and staff have been building in Leesburg and jumped on board early. The tall lanky ctacher typically throws to second under 1.90 seconds and can swing the bat as well. "Catching was a priority for us when we started recruiting the '19 class," Miller said. "We knew we were going to replace two sophomores and to find an impact catcher right away was a huge relief." Sims will be competing for time behind the plate with several other players.
Kayla Reichardt – RHP, Forest High School
Pitching is the name of the game and Reichardt was just what the doctor ordered. Discovered by assistant coach, Butch Miller, the righty is able to hit her spots with all of her pitchers whenever necessary. "Kayla was a happy accident to find to be honest," Miller said. "We needed an arm and to have a pitcher of her caliber still available when we found her was just crazy." Reichardt will join sophomores Cissy Doolittle and Brandi Davis along with a couple other freshman expected to take the circle next season.
Payton Chestnutt – RHP, Lake Mary High School
Speaking of pitching, Chestnutt may end up being the best kept secret in the 2019 class. A hard throwing righty from Lake Mary, Chestnutt was not active on the travel ball circuit and for the most part, only competed at the high school level. "This kid has untapped potential for sure," Coach Miller said. "Payton could be the real deal and it is all up to her and the work she puts in. We have high expectations for her." Chestnutt will look to fill the void with the departure of All-Conference pitchers Abbey Primavera and Allie Geier and their 230+ innings pitched in 2019.
Cameryn Maga – OF, Tarpon Springs
A table setter at the top of the lineup, Maga springs lightning fast speed and an aggressive approach at the plate to the Lakehawks. The slapper hit .361 with an astonishing .524 on-base percentage during her senior season. "You cannot teach speed, it's that simple," says Miller. "Cam is one of those kids we look at to hopefully make an impact the moment she steps on the field in the fall." Maga will have some big shoes to fill with the Lakehawks graduating all three starting outfielders in Taylor Dotson, Taylor Turner and Jenna Curtis.
Alyssa Woolums – C/Util, Scott Co. HS (Ky.)
Committing to a college is a very hard decision. It gets even more complicated when you commit to a college more than 800 miles away from your home. Woolums is a catcher by trade, but has the ability to play almost anywhere on the field. "Alyssa is an extremely smart softball player who knows the game in and out," Miller said of the Kentucky native. "Knowledge is key and if you know how to play multiple positions it makes you extremely valuable to any team." Woolums will compete for time behind the plate as well as second base and first.
Emily Kolwicz – SS/3B/OF Springstead HS
With 34 hits in 26 games, Kolwicz had an exceptional senior year at Springstead High School with her .410 batting average being one of the highest in her district. The top of the lineup hitter was successful in 25 of 26 stolen base attempts in her career. You can bet she will be looking to run a lot more for the Lakehawks. "Very excited to see this one hit the field and just let her go," said Miller. "She's a natural athlete who can just flat out play the game wherever you put her." Miller's teams have finished top 10 in the country in stolen bases in 2 of the last 3 years. Kolwicz will be getting looks at several different positions starting in the fall.
Genesis Aviles – SS Montverde Academy
The most highly touted recruit in the 2019 class is certainly, Genesis Aviles. Several of the top junior colleges in the state along with several four year institutions were after the middle infielder who finally settled on Lake-Sumter. A solid hitter at the plate and a defensive wiz up the middle, Aviles will look to make an impact her freshman season. "Genesis was always the talk of the showcases wherever I would go," Miller said. "I think she will be a big part of our success this season and it will also be fun just to watch her play." Aviles will compete for the vacant shortstop position left behind by two year starter, Nini Underwood.
Brittany Shirley – OF Montverde Academy
Another local prospect, Shirley brings knowledge of the game, a great attitude and tenacity to the field of play. Overlooked by most schools, Assistant Coach Butch Miller emphasized the need to bring Shirley into the program. "Coach Butch was adamant that she had all the intangibles, the things you can't teach to go along with the skills it takes to play this game," Miller said. "We've known her for a couple years and all she had done is gotten better through hard work and dedication. Those are the kind of kids we want representing our program." Shirley looks to compete for one of the three open outfield spots.
Katie Johnson – C/1B Eustis HS
Johnson was at the top of Coach Miller's wish list from the start. The Eustis native has had a decorated high school career including a trip to the state championship game in 2016. In 2018, Johnson hit .329 splitting her time between catching and first base. "Katie brings a winning attitude to our program," said Miller. "Her skills behind the plate and at the plate are undeniable. She was a big addition for us." Johnson looks to be in the mix for playing time behind the plate and possibly at first base.
Kierstyn Kohlmaier – 1B/OF Belleview HS
This year marks the fourth straight season a former Belleview HS softball player will be on the Lake-Sumter roster, following in the footsteps of Rachel Phelps and Lucia Esposito. Kohlmaier was a late addition to the 2019 class, but brings a solid resume with her. The former Rattler hit just under .400 (.398) her senior year with 33 hits in 28 games, including 12 doubles and two home runs. "This kid is flat out born to hit," Miller stated. "It's kind of crazy to think her bat was still available this late in recruiting. She could do big things here in the next couple of years." The Lakehawks saw a revolving door at DP in 2019 and will also need to find a replacement at first base for Ashlyn Allen who graduated this past May.
Skyler Gill – RHP A.P. Leto HS
Coach Miller has been known to carry up to six pitchers on his roster and Gill makes number five for the 2019-20 year. They righty was another late find, but does not come with the eye popping statistics like Kohlmaier. "Skyler is very raw, but the talent and work ethic to become a great pitcher is there," Coach Miller said. "It's another case of she will become what she allows herself to become. The ceiling is certainly high." Gill will be in competition with four other pitchers for innings starting in the fall.
Nicole Smith – 1B Northwest Florida State/ Forest High School
This team is beginning to look like a Forest High School softball reunion with the addition of transfer, Nicole Smith. Coach Miller's top recruit from the 2018 class, Smith chose to attend Northwest Florida State College for her freshman year. The Ocala native will play her final year of JUCO ball as a Lakehawk. "Nicole is a game changer," Miller said. "Not only on the field, but her leadership and experience are invaluable assets that she brings to the team." Smith hit .420 during her final season at Forest HS with 34 hits and 25 RBI's.