Nov. 11, 2010
NORMAN, Okla. – University of Oklahoma head softball coach Patty Gasso has announced the signing of five student-athletes to National Letters of Intent. Lauren Chamberlain (Trabuco Canyon, Calif.), Callie Parsons (Pryor, Okla.), Kelley Reeves (Arvada, Colo.), Erica Sampson (Tahlequah, Okla.) and Jessica Vest (Hollister, Calif.) all begin competing for the Sooners during the 2011-12 academic year.
“When I think of this class, I think of athletes,” Gasso said. “They are a very athletic group. They’re going to come in and make an immediate impact and challenge for positions right away. There’s a lot of power and some very good defense. They have the ability for coming up big at the right time, and it’s a class that knows how to win championships. Most of all, I enjoy each one of these athletes as a person and appreciate their families.”
Chamberlain is a member of the United States Women’s Junior National team and led the team offensively at the 2010 Pan American Championship this past summer in Bogota, Colombia. Chamberlain hit .640 (16-for-25), driving in 13 runs while scoring 12. She produced a 1.320 slugging percentage and was a perfect 6-for-6 in stolen base attempts. Chamberlain played on the team with current Sooner Destinee Martinez.
She hit .512 as a junior at El Toro High School in Lake Forest, Calif.She had 42 hits, driving in 39 runs, scoring 35 and pounding out 17 home runs. She was a 2010 UnderArmour High School All-American, a MaxPreps All-American, Cal-Hi Sports All-American and the Orange County Register’s Player of the Year.
“Lauren has absolutely made a name for herself in the sport of softball,” Gasso added. “Right now, she’s one of the best recruits out of the 2011 class and one of the most feared hitters out there. She’s got power and consistency. In the last year and a half, she’s overtaken the travel ball scene. She’s a good leader and going to bring a lot of pop. She’s a franchise-type player.”
Chamberlain played for the Worth Firecrackers 18U GOLD and helped lead the team to a 62-12 record this past summer. The team has won two consecutive Colorado Fireworks tournaments and Canada Cup championships. Chamberlain played with current Sooner All-American Jessica Shults on the 2009 Worth team that finish third at the ASA GOLD Nationals in Oklahoma City.
“I chose Oklahoma because I know when I graduate I will not only be a better player and student, but an overall better person,” Chamberlain said. “Character is a huge part of who I am, and knowing that Oklahoma strives to make their students the best people they can be is why it’s a perfect match for me.”
Parsons was recently named to the Oklahoma all-state softball as a senior at Pryor (Okla.) High School. She hit .458 this past year, driving in 27 runs and stealing 22 bases. Parsons was an all-conference selection all four years of high school and a two-time offensive player of the year. Pryor won the Metro Lakes Conference title in 2010 and the three previous years won the Verdigris Valley Conference championships.
“Callie has been to our camps, so we’ve worked with her for a while,” Gasso said. “She’s very athletic. She has good speed and is a complete-style player. The best days of her playing career are ahead of her, and I think she’ll come on strong in college. She’s a well-rounded, versatile athlete.”
Parsons participated in travel ball with the Wichita (Kan.) Mustangs.
“Oklahoma is a great fit for me academically and athletically,” Parsons said. “I like the coaching staff, felt comfortable with the players and was really impressed with the facilities.”
Reeves hit .544 as a senior at Ralston Valley High School in Arvada, Colo. She scored 31 runs, recorded 37 hits and had 29 runs batted in. Nine of her hits were home runs, and she earned all-Colorado and class 5A all-state honors as a junior. She is a four-time first team all-conference selection and was a 2009 finalists for the MaxPreps Colorado Player of the Year award. Reeves was also a member of the adidas all-state team in 2009.
“Kelly is another player who knows how to play for championships,” Gasso noted. “She’s led her high school team deep into the postseason. She’s known as the clutch hitter – walk-off home run style hitter. She’s another blue-collar, hard-working infielder who has a lot of power at the plate.”
Reeves played travel ball for the Colorado Stampede and hit .451 during summer 2010. She scored 75 runs and had 102 hits, while driving in 64 runs with 16 home runs and 13 stolen bases. She is a three-time Colorado ASA all-state honoree.
“The connection between the coaches, team and community really felt like home to me,” Reeves said.
Sampson was a 2010 Oklahoma all-state selection and large school east all-state honoree at Tahlequah High School. She hit .556 with 65 hits, 39 runs scored and 65 runs driven in as a senior. Tahlequah won the regional championship and was a state semifinalist this past season. She was named regional player of the year and the Muskogee Phoenix’s Player of the Year.
“Erica is a diamond for us,” Gasso added. “We got her late in the process, and she’s one of the best catchers I’ve seen all summer. She’s got a great arm, good bat and great leadership. She’s another one that’s going to come on the scene strong and become an immediate impact player for us.”
Sampson played for Oklahoma Diamond Girls, and the team finished seventh at the 2010 ASA 16U Nationals. She hit .370 last summer, scoring 67 runs and driving in 78 on 83 hits.
“I was born and raised a Sooner,” Sampson said. “I felt right at home the moment I stepped on campus.”
Vest has led San Benito (Calif.) High School to three consecutive CCS championships and earned the team’s most valuable player and defensive player of the year honors as a junior. She was a first team all-state and all-league selection and named Spring Girl Athlete of the Year by the Hollister Freelance. The team captain led her squad to a 25-4 record in 2010 and a 10-2 mark in league play.
“Jessica stood out during the recruiting process because of her blue-collar style of play,” Gasso said. “She has very smooth hands and is very reliable. She’s a gamer who plays to win. She will bring a lot of security to our infield. She’s played in a lot of big games and knows how to win championships. She’s one of the best defenders I’ve seen this summer. I’m really excited for her to bring “sure hands” to our infield.”
This past fall, Vest played for the San Jose Sting 18U GOLD. In 2009, she was a member of the Sorcerer GOLD that won the ASA GOLD National Championship. Vest played on the team with current Sooner All-American Keilani Ricketts. This past summer, the Sorcerer earned a fifth-place finish at Premier Nationals.
“I loved everything about Oklahoma,” Vest said. “I know I will get a great education while playing softball at a highly competitive level.”
Jessica Vest lead photo courtesy of the Hollister (Calif.) Freelance.