Illini Add Talented Trio

Head coach Terri Sullivan signed two pitchers and a catcher/utility player to the class of 2009.
Head coach Terri Sullivan signed two pitchers and a catcher/utility player to the class of 2009.

Nov. 12, 2008

URBANA, Ill. - Fighting Illini head coach Terri Sullivan welcomed three additions to her squad for the class of 2009, as announced Wednesday morning. The newcomers include utility player/catcher Stephanie Cuevas (Sylmar, Calif/Bishop Alemany), pitcher Pepper Gay (Atlanta/St. Pius X Catholic) and pitcher Jackie Guy (Buena Park, Calif./Orange Lutheran).

Coach Sullivan on the class: "The skills Pepper and Jackie bring in the circle will complement our current pitchers to create what we believe can become one of the strongest pitching staffs in the country. Coupled with Stephanie's work ethic and leadership, this class brings all the assets necessary to excel at the collegiate level and to compete for championships."

Stephanie Cuevas • Utility/Catcher • Sylmar, Calif • Bishop Alemany H.S.

Cuevas led Bishop Alemany to the CIF Division IV quarterfinals for three consecutive seasons from 2006-08. She was a four-year scholar-athlete, making the honor roll each year of her high school career. In 2008, The Daily News selected her as all-area honorable mention. Under head coach Paul Garziano, Cuevas and the So Cal Diamonds finished 17th at the 2008 U18 Gold Nationals.

Coach Sullivan on Cuevas: "Stephanie is a workhorse on both sides of the ball. She's an aggressive player who brings a strong presence and vocal leadership to the field. Her passion to understand every aspect of the game has instilled in her a drive to do whatever it takes to help her team win."

Pepper Gay • Pitcher • Atlanta • St. Pius X Catholic H.S.

Gay has been the force in the circle for St. Pius X Catholic the past two seasons, raking in impressive statistics including a 0.37 ERA. Gay averages just over 14 strikeouts per game (304 K's/149 innings), while holding her opponents to a .084 batting average. Under head coach Joe Winland, Gay and the squad advanced to the 2008 Final Four after an Elite Eight appearance in the 2007 season where she was named to the all-state second team. The Atlanta native is also a member of the National Honor Society at St. Pius X Catholic. The future Illini has been coached by Dick Vallery, with the Atlanta Vipers Gold. Gay and the team placed ninth at the 2008 ASA Gold Nationals.

Coach Sullivan on Gay: "Pepper commands respect from opponents with her intensity and fearlessness in the circle. Her ability to paint the corners and take control of the count makes her an intimidating pitcher to face. She is ready to lead her team every time she steps onto the field."

Jackie Guy • Pitcher • Buena Park, Calif. • Orange Lutheran H.S.

Guy was the ace for Orange Lutheran last season under head coach Steve Miklos. She fanned 163 batters through 122 innings of work while opponents hit just .178 against her. Guy also played travel ball for the Bomb Squad out of Southern California.

Coach Sullivan on Guy: "Jackie is a player that exudes confidence, and that confidence extends beyond the circle to her teammates. She has maturity in the circle that is rare for a young pitcher and also is very athletic at fielding her position. Jackie can aggressively attack all areas of the strike zone, and therefore keep hitters off balance."