April 17, 2013
Whitney scholarship players will have big cleats to fill

Whitney softball coach April Steele has a large crop of scholarship players this season but they will have big cleats to fill by those who have come before them, even though the Rocklin school is only in its seventh varsity season.

Whitney seniors Taylor Cotton (Cal), Megan Mello (Humboldt State) and Kayli Shaw (Cal State Bakersfield) will play at the next level come the fall while junior Madi Galuszka already has committed to Loyola Marymount.

They will follow former Whitney standouts Tegan and Alyssa Schmidt and Stephanie Nippert.

Tegan Schmidt is a senior second baseman at Stanford, who overcame two serious knee injuries her first two seasons in Palo Alto.

This season Schmidt is hitting .273 and has played in 28 games for the 28-12 Cardinal. A biology major, Schmidt was an All-Pac-12 Academic honorable mention selectee last season.

Younger sister Alyssa, a sophomore shortstop at Princeton, leads the Tigers in hitting with a .394 average. She batted .284 as a freshman.

Alyssa has twice been named the Ivy League Player of the Week, once last year and once this season.

"It's good to see that Tegan is finally healthy and able to play, and that Alyssa is starting and an impact player at Princeton," Steele said. "They were fun to coach because they were like having coaches on the field. They were really bright kids. Both were valedictorians."

Nippert, a senior outfielder-first baseman at Corban University in Salem, Ore., is on the verge of tying the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics career home run record of 76.

She hit number 75 - her 22nd on the season - against College of Idaho on Saturday.
"That's an amazing feat," Steele said. "She's going to be a four-time NAIA All-American."

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Bee staff writers Joe Davidson and Bill Paterson provide news, analysis and insight on the area high school sports scene in their Prep Blog. Have a question to ask them? Send them an email any time at jdavidson@sacbee.com or bpaterson@sacbee.com.

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