Ferris State University softball head coach Keri Becker has announced the program's initial signings for the recruiting class of 2010 as Amy Dunleavy (Canton) and Cara DeLange (Plainfield, Ill.) have each signed a National Letter of Intent.
The two prep student-athletes will begin competing with the Bulldogs in the 2010 fall season.
"Both Amy and Cara will keep Bulldog pitching strong for the next four years and maintain the great competitive tradition of Ferris State Softball," stated Becker, who will begin her 13th season at FSU this upcoming spring and is the program's all-time winningest coach.
Dunleavy, a 5-9 pitcher, was an all-state honorable mention pick in 2009 as a junior at Canton (Mich.) High School in helping lead the Chiefs to a 31-7 overall record. A two-time (2008 and 2009) All-Western Lakes Activities Association conference selection, Dunleavy also earned all-district honors twice (2008 and 2009) and all-region accolades in 2009. A two-time (2008-09) team captain for head coach Jim Arnold's squad, Dunleavy posted a 22-5 pitching mark with a 1.22 earned run average (21 earned runs allowed) in 172.0 innings pitched this past season. She tossed four no hitters and fanned 233 batters while giving up 33 runs and allowing 87 base hits en route to garnering team Most Valuable Player Award laurels for the second consecutive year in a row. At the plate, Dunleavy batted for a .353 average with 30 hits in 85 at bats to go with 24 RBIs, five doubles and triples apiece, and three home runs in 32 contests.
As a sophomore in 2008, Dunleavy produced a 10-7 pitching record in 106.0 innings while registering a 1.78 earned run average (24 earned runs allowed) and striking out 120 hitters. She recorded a .391 batting average on 43 hits in 110 official plate appearances and scored 13 runs. Dunleavy tallied five doubles and triples each while smacking two home runs and driving in 23 runs on the season. Dunleavy notched a 6-2 pitching mark in her 2007 freshman year while compiling a 1.43 earned run average (six earned runs allowed) and garnering 61 strikeouts as CHS concluded the campaign at 28-9 overall. She hurled a no hitter in her high school pitching debut on April 19, 2007. Dunleavy wrapped up her freshman year hitting .274 with 20 hits in 77 at bats. She knocked in 16 runs and scored 14 more while chalking up four doubles to go with a triple and home run apiece.
The daughter of Kevin and Beth Dunleavy of Canton, Mich., Amy will graduate in 2010 and is a member of the National Honor Society.
"Amy is a pitcher who had a great deal of success this past summer playing a very competitive travel circuit," said Becker. "I was impressed with the command of all of her pitches, poise, and presence in the (pitching) circle. We look forward to giving her the ball in the circle next year."
DeLange was tabbed an All-Southwest Prairie Conference selection at Plainfield (Ill.) High School in her junior season under head coach Anne Campbell. DeLange, who missed all of her 2008 sophomore season due to an injury, compiled a 13-6 pitching record and a 1.23 earned run average to go with 143 strikeouts in 114.0 innings of work as the Wildcats not only went undefeated in the conference championships but also were regional finalists. For her efforts, the 5-8 DeLange attained Enterprise All-Area First-Team kudos and Joliet Herald All-Area Second-Team recognition. She's a three-year (2008-10) member of the Wildcat Athletic Leadership Club (WALC) and plays travel ball for the Newlenox Lightning Gold.
Cara, the daughter of Mike and Bonnie DeLange of Plainfield, Ill., will graduate in 2010. Her older brother (Brett) is a current member of the Bemidji (Minn.) State University football team.
"Cara is another pitcher who we loved watching mow down batters left and right this past summer as well," Becker said. "She too brings an impressive attitude and repertoire of pitches. We look for Cara to complete what I think will be one of the best pitching staff's in the league for the 2011 season.
Ferris State concluded the 2009 season at 35-10 overall and has won at least 30 games in a season nine times in the program's history. The Bulldogs, who made their seventh NCAA Division II Tournament appearance last spring, ended the campaign ranked 22nd in the nation by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA).