NORMAN – Oklahoma head coach Patty Gasso has announced the addition of five student-athletes that have signed National Letters of Intent to join the Oklahoma softball program in the fall of 2018.
Signing NLIs with the Sooners are utility player Grace Green (Oakdale, Calif.), infielder Audrie LaValley (Choctaw, Okla.), infielder Grace Lyons (Peoria, Ariz.), infielder Sami Skelly (Lone Grove, Okla.) and right-handed pitcher Brooke Vestal (New Braunfels, Texas).
“This class is versatile and athletic,” Gasso said. “They are very talented and can play multiple positions. Their athleticism and power will help them find their way in our offense because of that.
“With the seniors that we’ll be losing after this year, this class has the right combination we’re looking for. This is the right class to come in and take over for that group.”
A native of Oakdale, Calif., Grace Green currently attends Oakdale High School where she has been named all-league three times in her career. She hit .458 as a junior with 23 runs scored and 23 runs batted in, five doubles, four triples and five home runs and posted a 0.81 earned run average with 55 strikeouts over 52.0 innings pitched.
She has spent the past two seasons playing for the Batbusters Gomes in Stockton, Calif., under the direction of Dennis Gomes. This summer, Green batted .576 with 29 runs scored, 32 runs driven in, 11 home runs and 16 stolen bases.
“I love Grace Green’s versatility,” Gasso said. “She can pitch, she’s played third, she’s played first, I’ve seen her play short and the outfield. She’s got a really powerful swing and can work all fields. She fits our program really well and is just a good, well-rounded athlete that I think can come in as a freshman and help us quite a bit.”
Audrie LaValley is a senior at Carl Albert High School where she has earned four letters in softball, leading her team to four district championships and regional titles, culminating in the 5A state title in her senior season. Spending time at shortstop and in the circle, LaValley hit .528 during her career (.504 or better each year) with a .596 on-base percentage, 218 runs scored, 217 RBI, 52 doubles, 32 triples, 33 home runs, 78 walks to 50 strikeouts and 51 stolen bases. She also threw 204.1 career innings with a 28-10 record, two saves, a 1.98 earned run average and 144 strikeouts.
LaValley, who was named all-district and Big All-City every season, also earned all-state honors as a senior. During the summer, she has played for the Oklahoma Athletics Premier team, which won multiple Top Gun championships, under head coach Brian Madden.
“Audrie is a local athlete and another one that can play a number of positions,” Gasso said. “I’ve seen her elevate her game, especially in the last year and a half. She’s stronger, has developed more range and swings the bat with more authority. With hard work I think she can break into the lineup as a freshman.”
A native of Peoria, Ariz., Grace Lyons led Sandra Day O’Connor high school to the 6A state championship in 2016 as team captain. Playing shortstop, second base and centerfield, Lyons hit .526 in 2017 with 47 runs scored, 35 runs batted in, seven home runs, 14 doubles, three triples and nine stolen bases. She was named an NFCA Second-Team All-Region honoree in 2016 and has been a three-time all-region and all-division selection.
On the travel ball circuit, Lyons has played for Tony Rico’s Firecrackers out of Huntington Beach, Calif., for the past two seasons. This summer, her squad won the 2017 Canada Cup Championship and the 2017 TCS Fireworks Championship.
“Grace Lyons grew up playing baseball and you can see that in her style,” Gasso said. “She’s very smooth at shortstop with good hands and a strong arm. That position is not going to be an easy one to fill next year, but I think Grace could be one of the leading candidates to do just that. She’s very recognizable on the field because she makes those big-time plays look so easy.”
Sami Skelly attends Lone Grove High School in Lone Grove, Okla., and has earned four letters in softball. In her senior season, she was named all-state, all-conference and district MVP as a senior after hitting .512 with 38 runs scored, 58 runs batted in, 10 home runs and 11 stolen bases and leading her team to a state runner-up finish.
She has played for the Oklahoma Athletics Premier under head coach Brian Madden along with fellow signee Audrie LaValley.
“For Sami Skelly I would just say power, power and power,” Gasso said. “When she takes her cuts, it makes people take notice. I look forward to what she can bring to our offense.”
Brooke Vestal is a senior at Canyon High School in New Braunfels, Texas where she has led her team to the regional finals three times during her career. She was named an All-American by FloSoftball three times and by MaxPreps and All-USA twice. In 2017, Vestal recorded a 1.31 earned run average with 244 strikeouts and an 18-6 record in 144.0 innings, and hit .381 with 33 runs batted in and eight home runs, while in 2016, went 25-8 with a 1.73 ERA and 346 strikeouts in 210.0 innings pitched and hit .432 with 41 RBI and 10 home runs.
Vestal has played for the Firecrackers Rico for the last two years in Huntington Beach, Calif., under Tony Rico along with fellow signee Grace Lyons and helped her team to the 2016 PGF National Championship.
“Brooke Vestal is probably one of the most recognizable pitchers from the 2018 class,” Gasso said. “She won the PGF Championship and was the leading pitcher for one of the most prominent teams on the travel ball circuit. She’s another versatile athlete, who has excelled on both the softball field and on the volleyball court. I’m excited to see her compete at this level. When you add her to our current pitching staff, she’s going to win a lot of ball games."