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Signing day: Softball receives five letters of intent for 2013

Breeden signs three in-state recruits in first class

November 14, 2012 · Athletic Communication

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Head coach Jeff Breeden has announced that five student athletes, including three from in-state, have signed national letters of intent to continue their playing careers at Middle Tennessee. Marinna Shadley (INF), McKena Miller (OF), Beth Breeden (INF), Austyn Whaley (INF) and Lauren Riddell (P/1B) will join the Blue Raiders in fall of 2013.

"We are very anxious to get to work with the recruiting class of 2013," Breeden said. "We feel like each of them could make an important impact on our team in their freshmen years. We have upgraded the caliber of athletes in our program in 2013. We signed power hitters, speedsters, and good pitching in 2013. We are looking for big things from this signing class."

Complete profiles (listed alphabetically) of signees are below:

Beth Breeden is the lone junior college transfer in this season's recruiting class and comes to MT after winning the 2012 NJCAA Division I National Championship at Chattanooga State Community College and being inducted into the Chattanooga State Hall of Fame. Last season, Breeden hit .615 and notched a .984 fielding percentage. She grew up in Sweetwater, Tenn., and is the daughter of Gregg and Lorene Breeden.

"Beth comes to us with a national championship under her belt," Breeden said. "Her Chattanooga State team won the NJCAA National Title in 2012. Beth was selected as an All-Tournament player in the Nationals. She is a true power hitter who will be depended on to drive in runs and get extra base hits. She is a very capable corner player."

McKena Miller is a left-handed slap hitter from Batavia, Ohio who plays at Clermont Northeastern High School. Miller was named to the Cincinnati Enquirer First-Team in 2012 and the Courier Journal Athlete of the year in 2012. Miller played travel ball with the Beverly Bandits of Chicago, Ill., coached by Bill Conroy.

"McKena comes to us from the Beverly Bandits travel softball organization," Breeden said. "She brings speed and range to our outfield. Any time we can take a player from Bill Conroy's Bandits organization it is a positive for us. McKena will come in and hit for average and compete for a starting outfield role from day one."

Lauren Riddell comes to MT after attending the University School of Jackson, where she played under Brian Dunn and won two state championships in the past three seasons (2010 and 2012), with a runner-up finish in 2011. Last season, Riddell went 25-4 with a 0.82 ERA and 214 strikeouts in 33 games. She is 81-14 all-time in high school with a career ERA of 0.87. At the plate, Riddell hit .437 last season with 14 doubles and 36 RBI. She is the daughter of Ken and Laura Riddell and planning on majoring in physical therapy.

"Lauren is an in-state player who comes to us with a state championship background and numerous awards," Breeden said. "She brings not only great pitching skills to the circle, but can rip the cover off the ball at the plate. Her state titles will lend themselves well as she will most definitely become a leader on our team. We are excited to get Lauren on our campus and begin working with her."

Marinna "Dirt" Shadley, a native of Naples, Fla., is a two time National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-American. As a junior, Shadley hit .524 with 29 RBIs and 47 runs to earn Third-Team NFCA honors. Her sophomore season, Shadley was a First-Team NFCA All-America selection after leading the nation in batting average (.744) and finishing second in stolen bases (70). While Shadley is not expected to pitch at MT, she was 7-5 with a 0.85 ERA and 71 strikeouts in 66 innings last season.

In three years at Golden Gate High School, Shadley has broken 46 school records, been named the Naples Daily News Player of the Week six times, been named to the Florida High School Athletic Association All-State Team three times (2010-12), voted All-Conference three years in a row and was voted the 5A District 18 Player of the Year in 2012.

"We are very fortunate to get a player of 'Dirt's' caliber," Breeden said. "She is a high school All-American with all the tools. She can run, hit for power, has range, and a good arm. We feel that she will make an immediate impact on our team."

Austyn Whaley, a Lewisburg, Tenn., native played ball at Marshall County High School. She was a District 12AA All-District selection from 2010-12 and the All-District offensive player of the year in 2012. In addition, Whatley was honored as a First-Team Middle Tennessee Softball Coaches Association selection after hitting .501 with 10 home runs and 36 RBI her junior season. Whatley played travel ball for Team Worth and TN Xplosion Gold.

"Austyn is a Marshall County native that will compete for a corner spot from the start," Breeden said. "She has a great arm and quick release. Austyn also is game smart and softball savy. She plays the game with a sense of urgency and enthusiasm."

Middle Tennessee kicks off its 2013 campaign on Feb. 15 in Athens, Ga., at the Georgia Softball Classic.

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