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Dec. 9, 1997

Florida State Softball Signs Five

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Head Coach Dr. JoAnne Graf announced the signing of five players to National Letters of Intent to play for the Lady Seminoles next fall.

Leslie Malerich, a 6-0 righthanded pitcher from Merrillville, Indiana, LaTanya Mitchell, a 5-7 outfielder from Fort Myers, Kimmy Carter, a 5-4 catcher/outfielder from Palm Beach Gardens, Dana Vickery, a 5-5 second baseman/utility from Clearwater and Jackie Hirschfeld, a 5-5 shortstop/third baseman from Tampa have all committed to wear the Garnet and Gold in 1998-99.

Malerich, an Indiana state first team selection last year, went 25-4 last season, helping to lead her Merrillville High team to a 27-7 record and the state championship. Also solid at the plate, she batted a team-leading .420 last season on her way to team and conference MVP honors.

Mitchell has been a three-year starter at Riverdale High School. A centerfielder, Mitchell batted .382 last season and was a second team all-state selection. A two-time all-conference honoree, she has earned best defensive and most valuable player honors for her team.

Carter has led her King's Academy team in batting and stolen bases the past three seasons. The two-time team captain and MVP was named to the first team all-area and all-state teams.

An all-county selection, Vickery has lettered in softball the past three seasons at Clearwater High. The recipient of the school's All Coaches Award, Vickery earned MVP honors at the Canadien International Fastpitch Challenge in Montreal this summer.

Hirschfeld, who has played one season at Tampa Catholic, has played summers with the Tampa Mustangs. She led the team with a .449 batting average last season.

"I'm real pleased with this recruiting class," Graf said. "I think we filled some specific needs that we were trying to address; one being to sign a big-time power pitcher and I feel confident that Leslie (Malerich) has the ability to keep us at a national level. I also think we did a good job with in-state signings. It's a credit to Florida's high school and summer league coaches who have been able to develop players to a level where we can have them in our program."

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