January 19, 2016

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – The John A. Logan College softball team has added to its strong base with the announced signing of eight incoming freshmen next fall. Five of the eight are from Southern Illinois, four from within the college district.

Local products include: Sarah Aldridge of West Frankfort (pitcher/outfielder); Taja Dedecker of Carbondale (outfielder); Chelsea Gooden of Carterville (infielder/outfielder); Taylor Reichert of Murphysboro (catcher); and Lynnsay Wilson of Christopher (catcher).

Other signees include: Taylor Rogers of Gibson Southern in Indiana (catcher); Madison Ruppel of Tecumseh High School in Indiana (outfielder); and Courtney Klueppel of Lyon County in Kentucky (infielder/outfielder).

“As a group, we have added power and speed,” said Logan head coach Angie Jilek. “It will be interesting to see them compete in practice with the talent we will have returning.  It's nice to have picked up some really good kids from the area. They will learn quickly this level is tough and they will be competing against teams with more talented players than they are used to, but I am confident they will make the necessary adjustments.”

Aldridge was a River to River All-Conference performer for two years in softball and an All-Conference and All-South performer in track.

“Sarah is quick and can make things happen on the bases,” Jilek said. “Defensively, she can get to balls in the gap. As a pitcher, she has improved considerably. Her change up has been effective, which helps set up her fastball. She is a very coachable player who continues to get better.”

Dedecker missed much of her junior season with a broken hand. She bounced back this past fall to compete and excel in a home run derby at a tournament hosted by Logan.

An All-Conference player, Dedecker was also a state champ in the 100 and 200 meter dashes in junior high and played basketball.

“Taja has the speed to cover the outfield very well for us and the power to make a difference for us offensively,” Jilek said.

Gooden was selected River to River All-Conference last spring following her junior season. She is described by Jilek as a “utility player who gives the Vols flexibility by playing several different positions.”

Reichert should provide Logan with a power bat and steady glove behind the dish.

“Taylor is another power bat who could push for a starting spot right away,” Jilek said.

Wilson is a three-year All-Conference performer in the Black Diamond.

“Lynnsay is a power hitter with a strong arm,” Jilek said. “She also handles pitchers very well.”

Ruppel was part of a Class 1A runner-up at the state meet her freshman season; batted .300 plus both as a freshman and sophomore and above .400 as a junior. She is an All-Conference performer.

“Madison is very fast, a leadoff-type hitter for us,” Jilek said. “She will take the extra base when it’s there and should be a high on-base percentage player for us.”

Rogers was an All-Southwestern Indiana performer like Ruppel and Klueppel was All-District in Kentucky.

“Taylor has a strong build with a strong arm and good power at the plate. She is also a cousin to our own Kelsey Rogers.”

Klueppel has hit for a high average and will work the pitchers, Jilek said.

“And when she gets on, she will run.”