Georgia Softball Inks Five To National Letters-of-Intent

ATHENS, Ga. --- Georgia softball head coach Lu Harris-Champer announced on Monday the signing of five student-athletes to National Letters-of-Intent to attend the University of Georgia and play for the Bulldogs beginning in the 2009-10 season.

The newest members of the Georgia softball program are Alison Owen, Katie Rietkovich, Amberlie Saxton, Sara Sikes and Laura Trout.

“We are looking forward to seeing these future Bulldogs in Red and Black,” Harris-Champer said.

 
Owen, a pitcher/utility player from Sharpsburg, Ga., joins the Bulldogs from East Coweta High School where she helped the Indians finish runner up in the Georgia High School Association Class AAAAA state finals in 2008. ECHS made four-consecutive Elite Eight appearances and won three region titles while Owen was a member of the team. She led the Indians from the circle in 2008 with a 12-6-1 record and 0.65 ERA earning her the team’s Pitcher of the Year award. Owen also led the team in home runs as a senior. She was named an All-County selection three times including a first team selection in 2008. Additionally, she was named the ECHS softball Scholar Athlete for both 2007 and 2008. In travel softball, Owen played five years for the Georgia Impact Organization helping her team to ASA “A” National finishes of 25th in 2007 and 33rd in 2008. As a member of the Extreme Mavericks in 2007, Owen helped the team finish fourth at the Fireworks 18U Tournament and to a 6-0 record in the Ronald McDonald Tournament.

“Alison has the potential to contribute in three areas of our program,” Harris-Champer noted. “She can pitch, hit with power and can play strong corner defense. She has a ton of upside and is a very hard worker.”  
 
Rietkovich, an infielder/utility player from South Guyton, Ga., is the first female athlete in the history of South Effingham High School to sign with an NCAA Division I school. Rietkovich holds the South Effingham single season records for batting average (.467 in 2008), hits (46 in 2008), doubles (16 in 2006 & 2008), home runs (3 in 2008), RBI (28 in 2008) and stolen bases (20 in 2008). She also holds the Lady Mustang career records for batting average (.386), hits (151), doubles (37), home runs (5), RBI (66) and stolen bases (56). As a senior in 2008, Rietkovich helped the Lady Mustangs to a ninth place finish in the GHSA Class AAAA playoffs following three seasons (2005-07) of helping SEHS win three GHSA Class AAA Region Three Championships and make three GHSA Class AAA Elite Eight appearances. In 2006 & 2007, Rietkovich earned Georgia Athletic Coaches Association (GACA) First-Team All-Region honors and was named to the All-Greater Savannah Softball Team, and in 2007, she was also named to the GACA All-State First Team. Rietkovich has also a member of the South Effingham Angels Gold Travel Team since its inaugural season in 2000. In 2006, she helped the Angels earn the 16U ASA Eastern National Championship and the USFA 16U State Championship. In 2007, she also played in the 16U USA/ASA Nationals with the Georgia Knockouts, who finished in the top-35 nationally.

“Katie is a utility player with a strong bat,” Harris-Champer stated. “She is a fierce competitor and loves to play the game. She has excellent work ethic and works hard to be the best that she can be.”Saxton, an infielder/utility player from Jefferson, Ga., joins the Bulldogs from Mill Creek High School. As a senior, Saxton helped the Lady Hawks earn the Class AAAAA Georgia State Championship. She also helped Mill Creek earn Region 7 AAAAA Championships in 2005, 2006 and 2007, and the Lady Hawks went on to take third in the state playoffs in 2006 and 2007. Saxton was twice selected to the Gwinnett Daily Post Super Six including being named the Gwinnett Daily Post Offensive Player of the Year in 2008, when she was also selected to the Georgia
 
Dugout Club Senior All-Star Team. Saxton was named the Mill Creek Lady Hawks Offensive Player of the Year all four years of high school as well as being a four-time All-Region selection including being named the All-Region Player of the Year in 2006 and 2007. She earned three All-County honors, two All-State First Team selections and was named the Gwinnett County Offensive Player of the Year three times. She was named All-State Second Team as a freshman as well. In travel ball, Saxton played for the East Cobb Bullets Gold in 2008 finishing ninth at the 18U “Gold” ASA Nationals. She also played travel ball for the Georgia Xtreme Gold in 2007 and the Georgia Xtreme Black from 2004-06. Saxton also played basketball at Mill Creek, helping the Lady Hawks to the Class AAAAA State Elite Eight in 2005 and the Sweet Sixteen in 2006.  

“Amberlie is one of the best power hitters to come out of the state of Georgia this year,” Harris-Champer said. “She is an outstanding athlete and has the ability to play infield, outfield and catcher. She has power, speed and an extremely strong arm.”
Sikes, an outfielder/utility player from Douglasville, Ga., joins the Bulldogs from Chapel Hill High School. As a member of the Screaming Eagles, Sikes was selected among the top-10 in Georgia for the 2008 Wendy’s Heisman Award. As a senior in 2008, Sikes helped Chapel Hill to a Region 4B AAAAA runner-up finish and was named the Douglas County Sentinel Player of the Year after batting .457 with 30 doubles, five triples, two home runs, 30 RBI and 16 stolen bases. She also went 13-1 from the circle and earned the Bobbie Bailey Award for Academic Excellence for Girls. Sikes played on the championship winning Georgia Dugout All-Star Team and earned the team’s Best Offense Award as well. As a junior, she was named CHHS Varsity Softball’s Most Valuable
 
Player, All-State, All-Region 5 AAAA and All-County. As a sophomore, she earned the CHHS Best Offense Award as well as being named All-Region and All-County. That year, Sikes also served as a USA Sports Ambassador. During her freshman year, Sikes played varsity softball helping the Screaming Eagles take ninth at the GHSA Sectionals, and she earned the CHHS Best Offense Award that year as well. Sikes played on the Georgia Elite 18 Gold travel team where she helped her team to a 13th-place finish at the ASA Nationals in 2008. In addition to softball, Sikes played basketball for Chapel Hill and was a standout in track and field. She holds the Screaming Eagles’ school record in the pole vault, and in 2008, Sikes won the state AAAA pole vault championship and was the Douglas County Sentinel Player of the Year. Academically, Sikes holds a 4.0 grade point average and ranks first in her class of 476 students. Furthermore, Sikes, a Douglas County School Superintendent Award winner, is a member of the National Honor Society, the Beta Club, the Key Club and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes

“Sara has the ability to bunt, slap and hit with power. She is a true triple threat,” Harris-Champer said. “In the outfield her read and speed give her the ability to make game winning catches. She is also one of the top academic performers in this year’s class.” 
Trout, an infielder/utility player from Summerville, S.C, will join the Bulldogs as a transfer from Spartanburg Methodist College. In 2008, Trout helped the Pioneers to a National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region 10 Championship and a fifth-place finish on the national level by leading the team in batting average (.492), triples (9), home runs (10) and runs-batted in (33). Her efforts for the Pioneers earned her several accolades including All-Region 10 First Team, All-Region 10 All-Tournament Team and NJCAA All-America Second Team. Prior to attending Spartanburg Methodist College, Trout attended and played softball for Stratford High School and was a member of the Stratford Brakettes travel team.

“Laura is an outstanding middle infielder,” Harris-Champer said. “She has excellent read and range on defense. She brings a strong bat to the plate and good speed on the base paths.
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