HUNTINGTON - Had they to do it over again, many NCAA Division I softball coaches likely would have offered a scholarship to Haleigh Christopher out of high school, but she earned one to Marshall University the hard way.
The former Spring Valley star has become a force at NCAA Division II University of Charleston, where her powerful bat and versatile glove has made her a premier player in the Mountain East Conference. The junior catcher/third baseman who said she will transfer to Marshall, smashed 16 home runs, drove in 51 and batted .372 this season. She threw out 13 of 51 (25.4 percent) of attempted base stealers.
Christopher was named first-team All-MEC as a catcher. She is one of several local players on college softball rosters. Following is a look at a few more:
n Kalle Coleman, Wheelersburg H.S., Morehead State softball. A sophomore infielder, Coleman batted .231, second-best on the team, to go with six home runs and 12 RBI. She homered twice in a game against Eastern Illinois. She stole six bases, slugged .484 and reached base at a .271 clip with an OPS of 755. Coleman smacked one double and two triples. She started 36 of 38 games.
n Kasey Murphy, Coal Grove H.S., West Virginia State softball. Murphy's freshman season was outstanding in the circle and at the plate. She went 7-2 with a 1.65 earned run average as a pitcher, starting in nine of her 13 appearances. Murphy threw three shutouts and surrendered just 40 hits in 59 innings. Foes batted .180 and she struck out 33, with nine walks. As a hitter, Murphy blasted six home runs and drove in 28 as she batted .368. Murphy's on base percentage was 373 and she slugged .676. She also stole two bases and made only one error.
n Amber Null, Hurricane H.S., University of Charleston softball. A junior outfielder, Null appeared in 14 games, staring 13 last season. She batted .143 and had a .393 OPS. She walked three times.
n Mackenzie Riley, Fairland H.S., Shawnee State softball. A senior outfielder, Riley played in 28 games, starting 18. She hit one home run, drove in 14 and batted .247, with a .329 slugging percentage and .257 on-base percentage. Riley went 2-for-2 on stolen bases.
n Taylor Webb, Symmes Valley H.S., Rio Grande softball. The freshman outfielder turned in a sensational season, starting 47 of 48 games and hitting one home run, with 30 RBI and a .366 batting average.She scored 33 runs and slugged .503 with a .369 on-base percentage. Webb struck out just 11 times in 153 at bats and stole three bases.