Big Rapids, Mich. - First-year Ferris State University softball coach Marie Foster has announced her first incoming group of recruits as the Bulldogs recently inked five prep student-athletes during the fall signing period. All five will join the program next fall and be freshmen in eligibility during the spring 2014 season.
The group of incoming recruits incldues Casey Bias (Livonia/Churchill), Sydney Hasselbach (Clarkston), Megan Hiler (Stevensville-Lakeshore), Sarah Johnson (Mattawan) and Hallie Utter (Howell).
"I'm excited about this class of recruits and believe they'll be tremendous additions to our program and what we are trying to build at Ferris State," Foster said. "They have the skills and ability to compete at our level and we expect them to be outstanding student-athletes in our program."
Hiler has been a top-notch pitcher at the prep level with Bias serving as a catcher/utility player at the high school level. Meanwhile, Hasselbach, Johnson and Utter have all been all-state caliber infielders at their respective schools.
Their additions next year will help offset the loss of seven players who will be seniors during the spring 2013 season for the Bulldogs.
Foster takes over a Bulldog program that posted a 31-24 overall record during the 2012 campaign. FSU won 15 of its final 21 contests en route to reaching the championship round of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Tournament and narrowly missing an NCAA Division II National Tournament bid.
Ferris State is tentatively slated to open the spring 2013 season in March. FSU opens GLIAC play on March 23 at Ashland with the first league home dates set for March 29-30 against Lake Erie and Walsh, respectively.
Below are biographical sketches on all five recruits:
Bias is a catcher/utility player from Livonia who attends Churchill High School. A four-year starter for the varsity softball team, she also is a two-year starter on the volleyball court. She has competed in travel softball for Finesse 18u out of Wixom. Bias is a four-time Scholar Athlete award winner, two-time all-conference pick, a two-time First Team All-Observer selection along with a member of the National Honor Society. In 2012, she batted .403 and hit eight home runs while totaling 34 RBI's, 34 runs scored and a .987 fielding percentage.
The 5-8 Hasselbach has played first base, third base and catcher at Clarkston High School under head coach Don Peters. A 2012 Division I All-State First Team selection, she has also played competitive travel softball for the Finesse, CompuWare and Sidewinders programs. Hasselbach has claimed both all-district and all-region accolades along with all-state recognition. In addition, she's been a volunteer for a variety of organizations such as Relay for Live, Turri Race & Benefit Children's Miracle Network and an active participant in the St. Joseph Mercy Hospital and Flint Hurley Medical Hospital American Heart Walk.
A pitcher, Hiler has compiled a 51-7 career record with a 1.39 earned run average and 455 strikeouts in 346 innings pitched at Stevensville-Lakeshore. She also posted 57 hits at the plate in 2012, which ranks among the school's top 10 in a single-season. Hiler has posted a MHSAA state tournament career record with a 10-0 mark and two saves, including a no-hitter against Coldwater in the 2011 regional round. A two-time state champion on the prep level, she also helped the Great Lakes Lightning to the Michigan ASA U16 "A" State Championship in 2011. She's a three-time all-conference pick and both a two-time all-district, all-region and first team all-state honoree. Hiler has three career no-hitters and also has been an all-conference basketball player.
The 5-10 Johnson was a member of Mattawan's 2012 MHSAA Division I State Runner-Up Team. She picked up all-conference, all-division, all-region and all-state accolades for the second year in a row as a third baseman in 2012. Johnson hit .434 on 43 hits with 31 runs and a .485 slugging percentage in 2011 when she led Mattawan to a state championship. She's also competed in the ASA Nationals and twice won a Michigan ASA State Championship. A four-year varsity player, she's also seen action at left field in her prep career and has been involved in the school's leadership program along with earning honor roll accolades.
The 5-4 infielder claimed league Player of the Year accolades in 2012 and was a first-team all-conference selection. She helped Howell High School to back-to-back district and regional championships in 2009-10 and holds statistical averages of .370 in batting, .469 in on-base percentage and .970 in fielding percentage. Additionally, she's competed in travel softball for the HangTuf Fastpitch and Michigan Outlaws teams where she's won two state championships and finished ninth at the NSA Nationals. Utter has also been an all-conference basketball pick on the prep level and a National honor Society inductee along with a High Honors Award student.