Ashland University head softball coach Sheilah Gulas has announced five recruits for the 2015-16 school year – pitchers Abbie Sgro and Hannah Stroe, outfielders Kayla Troyer and Katie Mitchell and first baseman Katie Manahan.
Sgro is a soon-to-be four-year letter winner from nearby Lexington High School. As a junior in 2014, she was second-team all-Ohio, first-team all-Northwest District and first-team all-Ohio Cardinal Conference. She also was the Pitcher of the Year in the OCC, and named as such by both the Mansfield News Journal and Richland Source. Sgro also is the Lexington single-season strikeout leader.
Stroe plays at Nordonia High School. She will be a six-time letter winner in softball and basketball. Last spring, Stroe was a second-team all-Northeast Ohio selection, first-team all-Suburban League and Nordonia's Most Valuable Player. She also was part of a district championship team in 2014.
"We're real excited about both pitchers we're bringing in," Gulas said. "This has been a big year for us with Amber (McDermott) and McKenna (Galloway), and Sarah (Alley) will be staying around for another year. We definitely knew that was the top position we were going for. They're both strong, physically strong young ladies.
"Abbie made a commitment to come to Ashland about a year ago. We were lucky that we found her early. She has good movement, and has had a lot of success. Both pitchers are very strong mentally and love to compete. We found out about Hannah kind of late. We just really like a lot of the things she does. Mechanically, they're both solid."
Troyer hails from Waynedale High School, where she will be a four-time letter winner in softball. She was Waynedale's team offensive MVP last spring, as well as second-team all-Ohio and first-team Northeast Ohio. Troyer is a two-time first-team all-Wayne County Athletic League selection. In 2014, she hit .567 with 54 runs scored, six home runs and 32 RBIs, had an on-base percentage of .631, sported a slugging percentage of .944 and stole 18 bases.
Mitchell preps at Southeastern High School in South Charleston, Ohio. She was all-Clark County as a junior, is a two-time all-Ohio Heritage Conference selection and will be a four-year letter winner in softball. Mitchell was part of a regional runner-up team in 2014, and has career totals of a .454 batting average, a .566 on-base percentage, 90 RBIs and 54 stolen bases.
"We've really liked Katie for a number of years now," Gulas said. "Good on the bases, good softball instincts. Solid outfielder. Definitely someone we feel can give us a boost out there.
"We didn't know we wanted to bring in another outfielder, but Kayla is such a good hitter. She is a strong hitter. We're graduating some good, strong hitting. And she's played some infield. She's that versatile player that we can see where she ends up."
Manahan joins her sister, catcher Audrey Manahan, on the Ashland softball team. Both of her parents are AU graduates, as well.
"Everywhere she went, she just felt it was her home," said Gulas. "Katie is just a strong hitter. Hitting is her strength, and she can play the corners. Definitely look forward to having her."
Manahan, from Bishop Watterson High School, has earned all-Central Catholic League and all-district honors, and was part of a league championship team as a sophomore.