BEMIDJI, Minn. - First-year Bemidji State University head softball coach Jeremy Popp today announced eight commitments to his program for the 2010 season. Brittany Black (Bemidji, Minn.), Crystal Bowen (Duluth, Minn.), Sara Brodeur (Cass Lake, Minn.), Chelsea Cardinal (Brooklyn Park, Minn.), Kaitlin Hill (Dayton, Minn.), Emma Neumann (Winsted, Minn.), Stephanie Rossman (Menomonee Falls, Wis.) and Kelsey Saralampi (Esko, Minn.) will be on campus beginning this fall and will dawn the green and white for the Beavers next spring.
The incoming class brings a balance of skill and experience to all aspects of the BSU roster. The committed players are made up of two catchers, two pitchers, two infielders an outfielder and a utility player, each proven abilities offensively, defensively as well as in the classroom.
“This is one of the largest and most talented recruiting classes in recent memory for Beaver softball,” commented first-year coach Popp of his inaugural recruiting class. “Coach (Sara) Anderson and I put a lot of time and effort into this class and we are really proud of the new faces we are bringing into the program. These girls join a young returning team that is anxious to hit the field next fall. The expectations have been set high for those who are returning and I believe this class is willing and able to help meet and exceed them.”
Bemidji, Minn, native Brittany Black returns to her hometown as a junior to play for Bemidji State after two years at Itasca Community College (ICC). A proven winner, Black comes in with championship experience. In 2008 her 18U “B” team out of Grand Rapids, Minn. won the state championship on the way to winning a national championship. At the collegiate level, her ICC team won the 2009 Minnesota College Athletic Conference (MCAC) State Championship. In addition to being named to the 2008 all-state and all-academic team in 2008, she was 16th in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) in home runs and was 35th in RBI. As a prep at Bemidji High, she was a volleyball letterwinner in addition to playing softball.
Popp on Black: “Brittany is a hometown girl that is returning from a very nice career at Itasca Community College. Her experience at the junior college level will most definitely benefit our young roster. She is athletic and versatile, able to catch and play in the outfield. We are very excited and happy that she has chosen to come home to finish her collegiate career as a Beaver.”
Duluth native Crystal Bowen comes to Bemidji State after a successful prep career at Duluth’s Central High School. A three-sport athlete, Hill earned five letters in softball, four in volleyball and lettered for the Trojan’s basketball team on two occasions. A captain and two-time team Most Valuable Player, Hill garnered All-Lake Superior Conference and all-section accolades at the conclusion of her junior and senior seasons. This spring she posted a .400 batting average while leading the Trojans to their most successful season in 10 years (13-9). She has also had her share of success in the classroom. A member of the National Honor Society, she was a regular on the Central Honor Roll, earned four academic letters and was tabbed a recipient of the Presidential Award and National Merit Scholar.
Popp on Bowen: “Crystal is a well-rounded player for a good high school program that gives us a nice utility option. She’s been a perennial conference and section award winner and we are excited to bring her into the program.”
Sara Brodeur, a left-handed, switch-hitting first baseman, comes to Bemidji State from Cass Lake, Minn. A 2009 graduate of Cass Lake-Bena High School played both softball and volleyball for the Panthers. On the diamond she was a four-year letterwinner and captained Cass Lake-Bena each of the past two seasons. Brodeur is an All-Upper Mississippi Conference honoree and has been named as the Panthers’ Most Valuable Player. A consistent member of the Cass Lake-Bena High Honor Roll, Brodeur won four academic letters, was a member of the National Honor Society and was named as the valedictorian of her senior class.
Popp on Brodeur: “Sara is a solid defender at first base with potential power at the plate. Another local signee, we know she is ready to work hard and play at the collegiate level.”
A native of Brooklyn Park, Minn., Chelsea Cardinal comes to BSU from Champlin Park High School. A captain as a senior, Cardinal led the Rebels to their first wining record and first section victory in five years in 2008. She accounted for 12 of the team’s 13 wins with a 2.73 ERA while holding opponents to .263 at the plate while posting a 3.29 strikeout/walk ratio in over 128 innings of work. Offensively, she hit .328 en route to being named All-NW Suburban and earning team Most Valuable Player honors. As a sophomore, she paced the Rebels in wins, innings pitched and strikeouts and was named All-NW Suburban Conference Honorable Mention. A member of the Rebels Club team since 2006, she has helped the team qualify for United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) and/or Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA) nationals in each of the last three summers, highlighted by a 2006 trip with the 16U “A” team during which she posted two shutouts. Most recently she led the 18U “A” squad in wins, innings pitched, and strikeouts, while ranking fourth on the team in batting average and second in RBI.
Popp on Cardinal: “Chelsea is a versatile pitcher that will look to fill a spot in our rotation next year. She also has the skills to fill a hole in the infield for us when needed, which is a nice bonus. We know Chelsea has worked hard to prepare her game for a jump to the next level and are confident she will be a nice addition to our staff.”
Kaitlin Hill, a high school teammate of Cardinal at Champlin Park, calls Dayton, Minn. home. The middle infielder was a three-sport athlete for the Rebels also active in volleyball and basketball. Has been among the offensive leaders of her team since making the varsity roster in 2007. She batted .357 with a .423 on-base percentage and a .929 fielding percentage at shortstop in 2008 en route to All-NW Suburban Conference Honorable Mention accolades.
Popp on Hill: “Our infield took a beating losing four regulars to graduation this spring. Players like Kaitlin can really take advantage of that next season. Kaitlin is an athletic and heady infielder that has impressed us already. She is equally aggressive with her bat and we are excited to see what she can do at the next level.”
A five-year letterwinner hailing from Winsted, Minn., Emma Newman is one of two catching prospects the Beavers have committed for 2010. Named the Outstanding Female Athlete at Holy Trinity High School in for 2008-09, Newman helped lead Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity to a 19-7 overall record in 2009 while posting a 9-1 recording within Minnesota Christian Athletic Association (MCAA) play to finish second. In addition, she is a member of the National Honor Society, is an academic letterwinner and a regular on the honor roll.
Popp on Neumann: “Emma is a versatile player who can play the catcher position. She is coming off of a successful senior season and we hope she will bring that with her to BSU.”
Stephanie Rossman comes to Bemidji State after a standout career at Hamilton High School in Sussex, Wis. A two-sport athlete, Rossman was a four-year starter on both the Chargers’ softball and basketball team. Entering her senior season on the diamond, the 2008-09 Hamilton Female Athlete of the Year and Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletics Association (WIAA) Scholar Athlete, had piled up three All-Greater Metro Conference awards backstopping the Chargers to the regional finals in three consecutive seasons. As a junior, the catcher/corner infielder batted .491 with 15 RBI and six home runs on 27 hits in 55 at bats en route to being named as the team’s most valuable player for the second consecutive season. Her softball experience also extends beyond high school. She is an active member of the Wisconsin Bandits squad that captured 16U National Softball Association (NSA) and ASA Wisconsin State Championships. In addition, she captained the HSH basketball team during each of the past two seasons and was named as the team’s most outstanding player following her junior season. In the classroom, Rossman is a member of the National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society, High Academic Honor Roll and was a 2009 recipient of the Women’ Sports Advocates of Wisconsin Award of Excellence.
Popp on Rossman: “Stephanie’s many accolades, both on the athletic field and in the classroom, speak for themselves. She is a great example of the type of athlete we are recruiting for our program. A strong offensive threat and is a natural leader at the catcher position; she is an outstanding player who comes from one of the strongest softball areas in the country. We couldn’t be happier she chose to be a Beaver.”
Kelsey Saralampi recently completed her high school career anchoring the pitching rotation at Esko High School. The All-Polar League pick helped lead the Eskomos to a perfect 8-0 record in league competition and a 16-7 overall mark, which included an eight-game wining streak to cap the regular season and extend into the Section 7AA Tournament. While at EHS, the three-time softball letterwinner was a member of a 2007 squad that captured a Section 7AA title en route to a consolation championship at the Minnesota State Tournament. In addition to her performance on the field in the spring, the lefty was also a two-time letterwinner on the Eskomos’ basketball team. Her skills and talents extend far beyond the diamond or hard court, she is a member of the National Honor Society, honor roll, has been a Polar League Academic All-Conference selection, a First-Team Minnesota Fastpitch Coaches’ Association (MFCA) All-State Academic honoree and was tabbed academic all-state following her senior basketball campaign.
Popp on Saralampi: “We are really excited to add Kelsey to our pitching ranks. She has a proven prep career and comes from a great high school program. She is also a dedicated student-athlete in the classroom and we are looking for Kelsey to have a big freshman season for us. Her height and repertoire are nice compliment to our young pitching squad.”
Bemidji State capped the 2009 campaign with a 8-28 overall record and a 3-21 mark in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference play.
Bemidji State University, located in Bemidji, Minn., competes at the NCAA Division I and II levels and is a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC), the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) and College Hockey America (CHA).