Illinois softball signs four

Illinois Head Coach Terri Sullivan announced the Class of 2006 signing class
Illinois Head Coach Terri Sullivan announced the Class of 2006 signing class

Nov. 9, 2005

Urbana, Ill. - Illinois Head Coach Terri Sullivan has announced the signing of four players for the Class of 2006. They are Jenn Brock, a 5-10 pitcher from Arvada, Colo., Vicki Brown, a 5-7 pitcher-outfielder from Thousand Oaks, Calif.; Hope Howell, a 5-6 outfielder from Lithonia, Ga.; and Ashley Wright, a 5-9 left-handed pitcher/first baseman from Santa Rosa, Calif.

Head Coach Terri Sullivan on the Class: "Pitching was a priority in this class, and we are thrilled with the signing of Ashley, Jenn, and Vicki. We wanted pitchers that we feel will complement one another and be two-way players. Besides their physical abilities and the movement all three have on the ball, they have great presence on the mound. This will allow them to become leaders on our team and to develop throughout their collegiate careers. In Hope, we have added a very exciting triple-threat player who Illini fans will love to watch over her career! Ashley, Jenn, Hope, and Vicki are serious on the playing field and in the classroom as well; we know they will be top-notch student athletes at the University of Illinois. In addition, the Brocks, Browns, Howells, and Wrights are families who are major softball fans and quality people. We are very excited to have all of them joining our Illinois softball family."

Jenn Brock 5-10 Pitcher/First Base Arvada, Colo. (Pomona High School)
Jenn Brock is a three-time Jeffco All-Conference and Colorado 5A All-State team member playing for Head Coach Jim Biddle. Last year Brock was named Pitcher of the Year by the Metro North Newspapers. Brock has maintained honor roll every semester and was named to the Academic All State team in 2003 and 2004. This past summer Brock's club team, Colorado Comets (coached by Dan Burns) qualified for the 18U ASA Gold Nationals. Brock just completed her high school season, where she earned Jefferson County League MVP and was repeated as a Colorado 5A All State and All-State Academic honoree.

Coach Sullivan on Brock: "We're excited about the athleticism of Jenn Brock as a pitcher and as a hitter. Jenn is coming off of an outstanding high school senior season, but we believe her best innings yet are going to be in an Illinois softball uniform. Jenn consistently keeps hitters off balance and her winning attitude is contagious!"

Vicki Brown 5-7 Pitcher/Outfield Thousand Oaks, Calif. (La Reina High School)
A southpaw from sunny California, Vicki Brown comes to Illinois with an already impressive resume. Each year Brown has helped La Reina High to the CIF SS Division V Playoffs, winning three conference championships in the process. In her junior year Brown was named to the Tri-Valley League first team and league MVP. Brown also received All-CIF SS Division V first team honors for the second consecutive year. During the summer, Brown plays for the So Cal Pumas Gold team that placed fifth at ASA 18U Nationals in Columbus, Ga., this past summer. A six-time honor roll student in high school, Brown was a part of the Chess Club and the Girls Athletic Association. She works with the same pitching coach (Don Sarno) as did Illinois' all-time wins leader Amanda Fortune.

Coach Sullivan on Brown: "We learned of Vicki from Don Sarno, one of the most respected pitching coaches and softball minds in the world. Vicki moves the ball well and has pinpoint accuracy. We expect her to make immediate contributions on our pitching staff."

Hope Howell 5-6 Outfielder Lithonia, Ga. (George Walton Academy)

Howell comes to Illinois after garnering All-State, All-Region and All-County accolades her freshman through senior years at George Walton Academy, playing for Head Coach Marlene Snow. In her junior year she earned Most Valuable Player honors and was named Gatorade Player of the Year. Howell maintained a batting average of .500 and higher each season and was named Best Offensive Player accordingly each consecutive year. Not only does Howell have a strong bat but a good eye and speed as well. She holds her high school's batting average, stolen base, and on-base percentage records. In high school, Howell was member of the Beta Club and National Honors Society. In her just completed senior season, Howell batted .525 with five doubles and two triples for a .635 on-base percentage during the regular season and a .429 batting average during the post-season.

Coach Sullivan on Howell: "Hope is an exciting offensive player who presents a triple threat from the left-hand side. She was the leading hitter on an extremely talented travel team, Coach Jody Bailey's Georgia Titans, loaded with collegiate players. I believe that Hope is also a player that clearly is developing in every game she plays, and she is going to excel and thrive on the competitiveness of softball in the Big Ten. Hope is very serious about winning, and away from the field she is sure going to make a lot of people laugh."

Ashley Wright 5-9 Pitcher/First Base Santa Rosa, Calif. (Ursuline Catholic)
Ashley Wright has been called one of the top five pitchers in the country by several high-level coaches. Wright throws five different pitchers and has been clocked at 64 MPH. Wright was a First Team All-State performer as a junior and earned the North Bay League Most Player of the Year award. She led the conference in batting average (.509) and slugging percentage (.698) and totaled 248 strikeouts while posting a 0.55 earned-run average in 151 innings pitched. Wright helped Ursuline (coached by Mark and Mary Cooper) to back-to-back North Bay League co-championship and to second place in the NCS Finals in 2005. Wright plays for the Nor Cal Shockers Select Gold team (coached by Paul Buccaletto). She plans to major in psychology or sports medicine.

Coach Sullivan on Wright: "Ashley was the first player to commit to us in this class, and our coaching staff was ecstatic. We have seen Ashley pitch for some time, and she is a competitor! Ashley is a left-hander who has a great repertoire of pitches and is very strong. She is a powerful hitter, and while we believe she is going to make huge contributions to our team on the mound, she also the opportunity to do good things for us at the plate."