MACOMB, Ill. - Western Illinois softball head coach Holly Van Vlymen is excited to announce the addition of five to its 2013 signing class. Utility player Alexis Ensminger, pitcher/utility player Holly Hoelting, infielder Nina Maggio, catcher Taylor Messer and outfielder Alex Ward will all join the Leathernecks in the fall.
"I am thrilled about our incoming 2013 recruiting class," Van Vlymen said. "It is very important that we bring in positive, hard-working student-athletes who can produce in a number of ways on the field, while also excelling in the classroom. We have several multi-sport athletes who are versatile, powerful and speedy. This class will raise the bar within our team, which will make us even stronger as a unit."
High School: West Central
Alexis Ensminger, a four sport athlete (softball, basketball, volleyball and track) out of West Central, is set to join the Leatherneck softball family in 2013. She picked up All-State and All-Conference honors following her junior campaign where she posted a batting average of .658, the highest batting average in the history of the Lincoln Trail Conference, a fielding percentage of .976 as a shortstop and a pitching record of 11-3 with a 1.6 ERA. She is also a two-time All-Hawkeye Softball Player of the Year.
Ensminger earned All-Conference accolades in basketball as well, was the long jump conference champion and owns five high school track records (long
jump, 200 meter dash, 100 meter dash, anchor on 4x200 meter relay, and anchor on 4x100 meter relay).
Head coach Holly Van Vlymen: "Alexis caught our eye with her speed and ability to read the ball in the outfield. We love how she plays an aggressive outfield and has the ability to play in the infield if needed. She will add speed to our line up putting a lot of pressure on our opponents."
High School: Pleasant Valley
Holly Hoelting joins the Leathernecks following a successful playing career at Pleasant Valley where she earned four softball varsity letters. In 2012, the Bettendorf, Iowa native picked up All-Conference First Team and All-Metro Second Team accolades after setting the school record with a 45 RBI season, hitting .403 and knocking 10 homeruns. In the circle, she posted an overall record of 6-2 with a 1.53 ERA.
In 2011, she was named to the All-State Third Team, All-District First Team, All-Metro First Team, All-Conference Second Team and earned All-Academic honors. Hoelting was also an All-Conference Second Team selection in 2009.
In addition to softball, Hoelting was also a member of the basketball, swimming and volleyball teams. She was named to the All-Conference Second Team in basketball as a junior after averaging 8 ppg and 3.2 rpg.
Head coach Holly Van Vlymen: "Holly caught our eye with her bat. She has a keen eye at the plate, a tremendous work ethic and can play several positions well. Holly is a great player who will add a dimension of athleticism and power to our team."
High School: Plainfield East
Nina Maggio comes to Western Illinois following a successful multi-sport athletic career at Plainfield East, earning three varsity letters in softball and basketball. As a member of the softball team, she was a four-time Joliet Herald All-Area Team selection, three-time All-Conference honoree and was named team captain as a sophomore.
In 2011, she was named to the All-State Team for her efforts at the USSSA Illinois State 16U Championship and was elected the team's MVP after posting a squad best batting average. She was also a four-time recipient of the Golden Glove award.
Head coach Holly Van Vlymen: "Nina is the type of player that will do whatever it takes to get the job done. She has great versatility and game sense on defense and will make things happen at the plate and on the base paths. Nina plays with tons of passion and is a tenacious competitor."
High School: Plainfield East
Taylor Messer signed on to join the Leathernecks following a successful catching career at Plainfield East and travel playing time with the Lemont Rockers. At Plainfield East, she posted a batting average of .289 with an on-base percentage of .426 and a slugging percentage of .447. She started 31 games at the catcher position and was voted All-Conference and Defensive Player of the Year in 2012.
In 57 starts with the Lemont Rockers, the Plainfield, Ill. native hit .336 with an on-base percentage of .439 and a slugging percentage of .551. In 116 at bats she tallied 39 hits including eight doubles, four triples and three homeruns.
Head coach Holly Van Vlymen: "Tayor caught our eye with her strong arm and catching abilities. She is a hard worker both on and off the field and has a lot to offer with her bat and catching skills that will only get better throughout her career as a Leatherneck. Taylor works well with her pitchers and is a student of the game."
High School: Sherrard
Alex Ward signed on to join the Leathernecks squad in 2013 following a high school career at Sherrard and a travel team stint with the X-Treme Havoc. As a junior, she earned Third Team All-State and First Team All-Conference honors after hitting .374 on the season. She posted 29 RBI and tallied seven doubles, two triples, three homeruns and 43 runs scored.
During her freshman campaign, Ward posted an average of .407 with 14 doubles, six triples which ties the school record, and two home runs. The USSSA also named her the World Series MVP Award during her time with the X-Treme Havoc.
Head coach Holly Van Vlymen: "The thing that caught my attention with Alex was her hustle and dedication. She is the first one on the field and the last to leave. She is a true team player and it is obvious that she loves this game. She may be small but she packs a lot of power and speed and will take our opponents by surprise."