NORMAN, Okla. The Oklahoma softball program signed three athletes to National Letters of Intent, announced head softball coach Patty Gasso on Thursday. Joining the Sooners in the fall of 2006 will be Amber Flores (El Centro, Calif.), Iver McDonald (Houston, Texas) and Lindsey Vandever (Stroud, Okla.).
“This is probably one of the smallest classes we have signed during my tenure here,” Gasso said. “However, it is a highly touted group with three players who were some of the most sought after players in the country. I believe they will make a significant impact to our extremely youthful team that we already have.”
“I believe all three of these players can come in and play right away and be constant contributors in the starting lineup. What I’m most excited about is how well all three of these girls just seemed to fit in with our program. They are all from incredible families and it was such a pleasure to build relationships with all of them. I’m looking forward to the future of these girls at the University of Oklahoma.”
Flores will become the 10th California native to join the Oklahoma squad since 2000. The two-time Imperial Valley Player of the Year led her league in batting average (.600), RBI (43) and home runs (10). Flores, an infielder, has a dominant presence while only standing 5-4 and brings the most power at the plate of the three future Sooners.
“Amber has a significant background in baseball and you can tell when you watch her out on the field because she is so natural,” Gasso said. “She is one of the most dominating hitters in the country. I see her as someone who can lead our squad in RBI and be a dominating force in the Big 12. She also has the ability to play pretty much anywhere in the field for us.”
McDonald was one of the most sought after players in the country, choosing the Sooners over Florida State, Baylor and Texas A&M, where her sister, Sharonda is the Aggies’ leadoff batter. The two-time Offensive Player of the Year at J. Frank Dobie High School has garnered all-district honors the last two seasons while leading her high school to the Bi-Distirct finals last season. The 5-3 utility player is on pace to have an even more impressive senior season this spring.
“Iver is a sparkplug both on the field and off the field,” Gasso said. “She has tremendous speed and power at the plate. In addition, she can often bat lefthanded which gives Iver a lot of opportunities to utilize her speed. She has an incredible upside to her and has a lot of room for growth. I can see her roaming the outfield for us and mixing well with the great speed we have out there already.”
Vandever is the lone Oklahoman of the 2006 recruiting class, but is no stranger to the OU softball program where she has attended camps since she was in junior high. The all-state catcher led Davenport High School to three state titles, four regional titles and four district titles during her four-year career. The three-time all-conference selection was impressive a the plate, batting .522 during her high school career.
“Lindsey is one of the best players to come out of Oklahoma in a long time,” Gasso said. “Her characteristics remind me of former Sooner All-American Heather Scaglione. She has an incredible arm and strong power at the plate. She’s been coming to our camps since she was in junior high, so it was a great fit for both sides. It worked out perfect that she was a catcher and we were wanting to sign one.”
Oklahoma only loses pitcher Nicole Denes and All-American outfielder Kristin Vesely after the 2006 season.
The Sooners will begin the 2006 season in pursuit of their sixth trip to the Women’s College World Series with the UNLV Alexis Resort Kickoff Classic (Feb. 10).
SS/2B, 5-4, R/R
El Centro, Calif. (Southwest H.S.)
Two-year starter at El Centro High School where she will complete her senior season this spring ... Served as team’s captain as a junior ... Two-time Imperial Valley Player of the Year in 2004 and 2005 ... Two-time all-district selection ... Honored as a two-time All-CIF member ... Named the team’s Outstanding Hitter as a sophomore and a junior ... Led Imperial Valley League as a junior (Spring 2005) in batting average (.600), RBI (43) and home runs (10) ... Also third in the league in stolen bases with nine ... Selected as a 2004 and 2005 All-League first team member ... Named to the San Diego Union Tribune 2005 all-selection second team ... Played freshman season at Calexico High School where she earned Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year honors for her squad ... Plays club ball for the Delong Outlaws Gold coached by Bobby Pena ... Will be one of four Sooners from California on the OU roster in 2006-07.
Daughter of Alex and Diana Flores ... Has one older brother, Eric (18) ... Also a member of the El Centro High School honor roll ... Chose Oklahoma over Arizona State, San Diego State and Illinois ... Born August 4, 1988.
UTL, 5-3, R/R
Houston, Texas (J. Frank Dobie H.S.)
Four-year letter winner at J. Frank Dobie High School under Coach Robin Rackley ... Set to complete senior softball season this spring ... Two-time first team all-district ... Two-time Dobie H.S. Offensive Player of the Year ... Led high school to Bi-District Finals in 2005 ... Named to the PISD all tournament team in 2004 ... Selected as the Student-Athlete of the Year as a junior ... Named to the all-greater Houston second team as a sophomore ... Member of 2004 Regional Quarterfinal squad ... Played on 2003 Area Finalist team as a freshman ... Multi-sport athlete who also lettered in volleyball and track... Competed on the South Houston Mystixx Club team for Coach Ricky Garza .... Led the Mystixx to 17th place at ASA Gold Nationals in 2004 and 2005 ... Guided Mystixx to second-place honors in 2005 ASA Gold Qualifier.
Daughter of Darrell and Rhonda McDonald ... Has two older sisters: Krystal (23) who played softball at San Jacinto Junior College and Sharonda (20) is a junior outfielder on the Texas A&M softball team ... Served as president of her school’s chapter of Fellowship of Christian Athletes ... Chose Oklahoma over Texas A&M, Florida State and Baylor ... Born March 4, 1988.
Catcher, 5-6, R/R
Stroud, Okla. (Davenport H.S.)
Four-year letterwinner at Davenport High School where she was coached by Gary Cook ... Led high school squad to three state titles, four regional titles and four district titles during her four-year career ... Batted .522 during her high school career ... Selected as an all-state member during senior campaign ... Three-time all-conference selection ... Stole 41 of 43 bases in her career ... Also competed for the Tulsa Eagles club team under Coach Dave Simmons ... Led the Eagles to a 15th place tie at ASA Gold National in 2004 ... A standout basketball player entering her final season ... Named to the 2005 preseason all-state list in basketball ... Selected to the basketball all-conference squad as a junior ... Guided squad to district and regional championships as a junior ... Named high school’s basketball offensive player of the year as a sophomore.
Daughter of Mike and Annita Vandever ... Has two sisters, Ali (10), and Nikki (20) who plays softball at the University of Central Oklahoma ... Committed in April 2005 to the Sooners ... Three-time memeber of the Superintendent’s Honor Roll ... Born Sept. 17, 1987.