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Dec. 11, 2002

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – University of Virginia head softball coach Cheryl Sprangel has announced that five players have signed national letters of intent with Virginia during the early signing period. The five student-athletes who will enroll at Virginia for the 2003-04 academic year are: second baseman Elea Crockett (Tucson, Ariz./University High School), catcher/outfielder Amy McKean (Kent, Wash./ Kentlake), catcher Michelle Salmiery (San Jose, Calif./Westmont), first baseman/outfielder Brooke Sorber (Alexandria, Va./ Mount Vernon), and pitcher Coty Tolar (Marietta, Ga./ Lassiter).

Crockett is a 5-3 second baseman from Tucson, Arizona. In 2002, she was a member of the Class 4A Arizona State Championship team and a Wendy’s High School Heisman nominee. She was also named to the Tucson Citizen All-Star First Team as well as the Arizona Daily Star All-Southern Arizona First Team. She was named to the Daily Star First Team and the Tucson Citizen Second Team in 2001 as well. In 2001, her team won the ASA 18U Gold Arizona State Championship, the 18U Gold Colorado Fireworks Championship, and the 18U Gold Rocky Mountain Regional Championship. Crockett is also a National Student Leadership Conference Invitee and made the 2002 National Honor Roll. She is a member of the Tucson Junior Strings Chamber/Orchestra as well.

“Elea is a very exciting player. She will work at either second base or shortstop. She has an outstanding arm, is a vacuum in the infield, and has explosive speed. Elea will help lead off our offense in either the one or two position. Elea reminds me of David Eckstein, the shortstop for Anaheim Angels. She will do whatever is necessary to help her team win,” stated Sprangel.

McKean is a 5-7 catcher and outfielder from Kent, Washington. In 2002, she was named All-South Puget Sound League catcher. She was also the recipient of the Kentlake High School “Miss Hustle” award. In 2001, she set the Kentlake record for triples and RBI and was a first-team South Puget Sound League pick as an outfielder. She helped Kentlake capture the South Puget League Championship in 2001 and earn runners-up honors in the Washington 4A Fastpitch Championships. McKean helped lead her summer team, the Washington LadyHawks, to a 17th place finish at the ASA 18U “A” Nationals. In 2001, the team finished second in the NSA Western World Series. McKean is a member of National Honor Society.

“Amy is an excellent catcher and outfielder with a very strong arm. She also has great speed, which makes her a well-rounded outfielder. Offensively, Amy is a power hitter with speed on the bases. She is the type of player that will work very hard because she lives and loves to play softball,” she said.

Salmiery is a 5-10 catcher from San Jose, California. She has been a four-year starter and letterwinner for Westmont High School. Salmiery was a first team All-League pick as a junior in the Mount Hamilton Division of the Blossom Valley Athletic League in 2002. She has helped lead Westmont to two top four finishes in the last four years in the Central Coast Section playoffs. Salmiery is also the starting catcher for the Strike Zone 18U ASA Gold team. Salmiery is a member of the California Scholarship Federation as well as the Associated Student Body.

“What I love about Michelle is her ability to pick runners off base and/or throw them out when they attempt to steal. She has a really strong arm and a quick release. She also has good strength and should be a power hitter for us,” remarked Sprangel.

Sorber is a 5-8 first baseman and outfielder from Alexandria, Virginia. During her junior year, she was named a Northern Region Scholar Athlete for softball for the third consecutive year, and received the same award three straight years for volleyball. In 2001, Sorber was named the National District Player of the Year and the Mount Vernon Female Athlete of the Year. She was also named to the All-District team for the third consecutive year as well as to the 2002 Virginia Northern Regional Softball team after batting .532 as a leadoff hitter. The Journal Newspapers All-Area selection also served as Mount Vernon’s softball team captain last season. Sorber is also a two-time captain and All-District performer in volleyball. She led her 18U Gold Shamrocks to the PONY National Championship in 2002, as well as five other invitational titles. Sorber is a member of the National Honor Society and Future Business Leaders of America. She is ranked in the top two percent of her class of 369 students.

“Brooke can play the outfield and first base. What is exciting about Brooke is that she is a power hitter with speed, which is a combination you don’t see very often. Her speed will also be an asset in the outfield as she should contribute to the team there immediately,” said Sprangel.

Coty Tolar is a 5-7 pitcher from Marietta, Georgia. She was named both the Cobb County and Atlanta Journal Constitution Pitcher of the Year in 2002. Tolar was also a Marietta Daily Journal first-team All-County and second-team All-State selection. She was named Lassiter’s softball MVP in 2002. Tolar was a Marietta Daily Journal and Atlanta Journal Constitution Player of the Week. Tolar also plays for the East Cobb Bullets and steered her team to a ninth-place finish at the 18U Gold Nationals. In the 2001-2002 season, her team took second place at the 16U ISA National competition and seventh place at the ASA Nationals. Tolar received the Scholar Athlete award at Lassiter High School and is a member of the Spanish club.

“Coty is a top-notch pitcher with excellent speed. Coty can throw in the mid sixties and has great movement. She has total command of her pitches and is a great competitor on the mound. Coty should make an immediate impact on our team. Coty is the type of pitcher that raised our eyebrows the first time we saw her,” commented Sprangel.

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