Nov. 27, 2001
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Head softball coach JoAnne Graf announced Florida State's 2003 signing class Tuesday afternoon. The three-player class of 2007 features the 2000 Gatorade High School Player of the Year from Oklahoma, a member of the 2000 ASA 18U Gold National Champion Katy (TX) Cruisers and the first-ever Lincoln High player to sign with the Seminoles.
"I think this will be a good class for us," said Graf. "It will definitely fulfill some needs for this team and they will help us in our ultimate goal of winning a national championship."
Pitcher Julie Hauck is the reigning Gatorade Player of the Year in Oklahoma and is coming off of a stellar junior campaign. The Yukon, OK standout pitches for the same high school that produced 2000 Women's College World Series MVP Jennifer Stewart and she is living up to the Oklahoma Sonners' high school legacy. Hauck led Yukon to its fourth state title by pitching her team past Broken Arrow 1-0 in the state final and finished her junior season 22-4 with a 0.34 ERA, 162 strikeouts and just 10 walks in 186 innings. She was named the Big All-City 2000 Player of the Year, 2000 Metro Conference Most Valuable Player, Inside Oklahoma Sports' 2000 Softball Athlete of the Year and she is a National Merit Scholar who currently ranks in the top three percent of her class.
"She is a big strong kid who will compliment Jessica (van der Linden) and Casey (Hunter) upon All-American Leslie Malerich's graduation," said Graf. "She will immediately step into our rotation and begin to work her way up. The way we handle our staff, she should get a lot of playing time immediately. She can also provide us with depth at first base where we will get her some work."
Coppell, TX native Natasha Jacob helped lead Coppell High School to its first-ever Texas State Title and the Cowgirls finished third in the final USA Today/NFCA Poll. The switch-hitting outfielder batted .468 and scored 26 runs while posting a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage during her junior season. She is the reigning and two time offensive MVP at Coppell and was named 1st Team All-Area by the Dallas Morning News. She was also a member of the 2000 ASA 18U Gold National Champion Katy Cruisers. During a 47-5-3 campaign with the Cruisers, she posted a .397 batting average, a .437 on-base percentage, a .998 fielding percentage and she stole 46 of 54 bases she attempted to steal. She is a member of the National Honor Society and is in the top 10% of her class.
"She has a lot of speed and she will help us replace Mo (Marier) and Kimmy (Carter) who both play in the outfield but not usually at the same time," said Graf. "We expect her to jump in right away and get a lot of playing time. She played for the National Champion Katy Cruisers so I think she has the experience of winning at a top level, which is something that is important to us as we continue to try and capture a national championship."
Billie Anne Gay becomes the first Lincoln High student to sign a softball scholarship to play at FSU. The 5'7" catcher was named to the Tallahassee Democrat's All-Big Bend first team after hitting .439, recording 22 RBIs, 10 doubles and scoring 17 runs last season. Gay was also named a 6A 1st Team All-State catcher after setting a single season record at Lincoln with 296 putouts. Gay was named both Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year for the Trojans and she is currently in the top 6% of her class academically. She was the recipient of the 2000 Principal's Award for students with a GPA of above 4.2 and the 2000 Trojan Achievement Award.
"BillieAnne will come in and immediately help our depth at catcher behind Elisa (Velasco) and Julie (Jordan)," said Graf. "We will really need to add depth in that area and with her offensive success at Lincoln we believe she will provide that for us immediately."
The Seminoles begin their season February 3, 2002 with a doubleheader at home against Georgia Southern. Florida State is coming off of its best regular season since 1995 and posted a 58-12 record in 2001. The Seminoles also came within one strike of advancing to the College World Series for the first time since 1993.