Canisius College softball coach Mike Rappl announced today that Sarah Andrews (Cienega High School/Vail, Ariz.), Taylor Decker (Cactus Shadows High School/Phoenix, Ariz.), Samantha Sharkey (St. Thomas Aquinas/Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) and Lindsey Silfer (Cicero-North Syracuse High School/Cicero, N.Y.) have all signed their National Letters of Intent and will join the school's softball program for the 2013-14 academic year.
Andrews is in her senior year at Cienega High School, where she's won three varsity letters as a pitcher for the Bobcats' softball team. In 2012, she hit .406 with 24 runs batted in, three triples and two home runs en route to being named All-Arizona honorable mention and the Cienega High School Offensive Player of the Year. She was also honored as an All-Southern Arizona First-Team selection after her sophomore campaign. The daughter of Keith and Betty, Andrews plans on majoring in accounting at Canisius.
"Sarah has been able to get some great experience against some top-level competition as a member of her club team, the Arizona Storm," Rappl said. "She does an excellent job of changing speeds and she has an outstanding change-up that keeps hitters off balance. As a pitcher, she understands how to set-up hitters, and as a batter, she hits for a very high average."
Decker is currently in her senior year at Cactus Shadows High School, where she's been on the varsity team since her freshman season. A catcher that can also play in the outfield, she hit .484 with doubles, 17 runs scored and 16 RBIs in her junior season. She also plays with Andrews as a member of the Arizona Storm club team. The daughter of Butch and Taylor, she plays on majoring in criminal justice and psychology at the College.
"Taylor is a hard-hitting catcher and outfielder that has a great arm and she is an offensive threat every time she steps to the plate," Rappl said.
Sharkey plays outfield and middle-infield at St. Thomas Aquinas High School, one of the top high school programs in the state of Florida. A three-time all-county selection and an all-state honoree in 2009, she also plays for the Gold Coast Hurricanes club team, where she hit .375 in the summer of 2012. The daughter of Brian and Juliana, the National Honor Society member plans on majoring in health and wellness at Canisius.
"Samantha is a solid hitter with a great on-base percentage that should help our offense right away," Rappl said. "Defensively, her ability to play in the outfield and the infield will provide us with a great deal of depth to an already strong defensive team next year."
Silfer is in her senior year at Cicero-North Syracuse High School, where she's already earned three varsity letters as a member of the Northstars' softball program. She boasts a career batting average of .428 with 15 doubles, three triples, a home run and 31 RBIs, and she earned league Player of the Year honors after her junior campaign. A first-team all-league and an all-state selection as a softball player, she also has three varsity letters as a setter and right-side hitter on the Cicero-North Syracuse volleyball team. A member of the National Honor Society, she is the daughter of Jeff and Beth, and plans on majoring in biology at Canisius.
"Lindsey can play a number of positions, she can catch, she can play first base and she can play in the outfield and she has a great understanding of the game," Rappl said. "She's very athletic and she has a great ability to execute bunts and slap-hits, but she also has the ability to drive the ball into the gaps when she's swinging away."Canisius returns 12 letterwinners and seven regular starters from last year's team. The Griffs went 20-30 overall and 11-5 in the MAAC last season and qualified for the MAAC Softball Championship Tournament for the 21st time in the last 23 seasons. The 2013 team will open the year Feb. 16-17 at the Cleveland State Indoor Tournament in Cleveland, Ohio.