HARROGATE, TN -- Lincoln Memorial University first year head softball coach Natalie Layden has announced the early signing class of fall 2013, as Payton Bruce, Meredith Johnson, Kristin McAndrew and Jennifer Moose have signed National Letters of Intent to join the Railsplitters starting with the 2013-2014 season.
"All four of these athletes will truly represent LMU softball," stated coach Layden. "They all bring in a solid academic foundation, athletic talents and wonderful families that will represent the three letters with pride."
Payton Bruce is a 5'10 corner infielder hailing from Maiden, North Carolina that hits for power from both the right and left side. She has a proven reputation as an athletic and versatile competitor, as Bruce played three sports for her high school (North Lincoln High). She received many awards throughout her career including All-Conference and All-District while compiling a .432 batting average in her prep career. Bruce has accrued a tremendous amount of success for her competitive travel ball team, the Catawba Valley Storm.
Bruce is the daughter of Ryan and Christi Bruce.
"Payton will provide a great deal of power in the middle of our lineup," commented LMU head softball coach Natalie Layden. "I feel that she will have an immediate impact on our program and I'm looking forward to the great things she has to offer us in our 2014 season."
Meredith Johnson is the daughter of Ken and Rhonda Johnson and she will be joining the LMU softball program by way of Kenly, North Carolina and North Johnston High School.
Johnson is a left-handed first baseman that will provide a great deal of skill at first-base with power hitting from the left side. She brings a solid reputation as an athlete and as a student, carrying a 4.12 grade point average while being named Athlete of the Month for the Coastal Credit and 99.5 The Fan, en route to garnering All-Conference and All-District honors.
"Meredith will be a great asset to our team both defensively and offensively," said Layden. "Her game awareness and skill set defensively will add much-needed depth to our corners."
Kristin McAndrew is a utility player residing in Belmont, North Carolina that has played competitively for Team NC. Team NC boast a very challenging schedule and McAndrew has been a stable force in the middle of the lineup throughout the year. During her time at South Point High School, she has been a four-year starter and a four-year scholar athlete, while playing three positions and compiling a .350 batting clip.
McAndrew is the daughter of Kim and Tim McAndrew.
"McAndrew is known for her hard work and being a great team player," stated coach Layden. "She has had great success playing for Team NC and I'm looking forward to bringing her talents to LMU."
Jennifer Moose, a catcher/shortstop combo from Statesville, North Carolina, has played for the Carolina Comets Gold travel organization from the beginning of her competitive playing career. While faced with a tough schedule nationally, she has notched a .403 batting average and swiped 14 bases this fall. She is a great athlete who will bring very good speed and an aggressive base-running mentality to the LMU softball program. Moose is no stranger to winning as she was a part of the 2011 16u ASA State Championship team. Moose also competed as a three-sport athlete in high school and served as a captain in two sports. Moose was also a NC Scholar Athlete.
She is the daughter of Kathy Moose, Ricky Moose and Amelia Harris. She will complete her prep career at West Iredell High School this spring.
"Moose is a dynamic infielder who will provide a great deal of athleticism, versatility and mental toughness to our lineup," said Layden. "She appealed to me immediately with her skills behind the plate and aggressiveness on the field. I'm excited to see how she will help us next season."
The Lady Railsplitters are primed to open the 2013 campaign on February 2nd, as they head to Milledgeville, Georgia to compete in the Georgia College & State Tournament. Lincoln Memorial will be heading into the season under new direction as Natalie Layden takes the helm for her first season guiding the LMU softball program.
Visit lmurailsplitters.com for the latest news and info on Lincoln Memorial University Athletics.