VIDEO: Michael Graves Interview
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman head softball coach Michael Graves has announced the signing of seven student athletes for the upcoming 2019 campaign.
Along with the additions of Natalie Lankster and Leslie Dixon, the Eagles will have nine fresh faces for the upcoming season.
Those joining Lankster and Dixon are Lindsey Ward (Decature, Tenn.), Morgan Baker (Kentfield, Calif.), Grace Laws (Palmersville, Tenn.), Abby Hicks (Knoxville, Tenn.), Sarah Knight (Seymour, Tenn.), Carmen Holt (Lawrenceburg, Ky.) and Allison Rager (Elkview, W.Va.).
Lindsey Ward – R/R – 5-6 – OF – Decatur, Tenn. – Meigs County - @lindsey_ward29
Ward makes her way to Mossy Creek from Meigs County High School. While starting for coach Jeff Davis with the Tigers, she batted .365 over the course of her four-year career with 130 RBI and 31 homers.
She was a three-time all-region and all-district selection. Ward broke the state record for most home runs in a state tournament with four. She helped the Tigers to a trio of state championships.
The daughter of Bob and Kristy Ward, her mother played basketball at UT-Chattanooga. Ward graduated fourth in her class.
Morgan Baker-Celis – R/R – 5-8 – P/1B – Kentfield, Calif. – Redwood - @celismo15
Baker-Celis makes the trek across country after starring for Emily Atkinson for the Redwood Giants. As a senior, she posted a 1.2 ERA with 139 strikeouts in 82 innings. She allowed 14 earned runs across 12 games started.
She was twice named MCAL All-League, earning the recognition as a junior and as a senior. Baker-Celis helped Redwood to a spot in the NCS title game in 2015 as a freshman.
The daughter of Tina Celis. She plans to study biology at Carson-Newman. Herr mother ran cross country and track for Nevada. Her older brother had a collegiate football career that bridged Nevada and Wagner. Baker-Celis received the Honors Society Award upon graduation from high school.
Grace Laws – L/L – 5-6 – OF – Palmersville, Tenn. – Dresden - @gracebrigance14
Laws comes to Carson-Newman after hitting .528 as a senior with an OBP of .609. She tallied four doubles, four triples and eight home runs as a senior for Scott Killebrew at Dresden. She helped the Lions to District runner-up as a freshman.
Laws received Dresden High School's Silver Slugger Award.
The daughter of Joe David and Jackie Laws, she plans to study exercise science at Carson-Newman. She received numerous academic accolades in high school, including being recognized as a student of distinction in science, a Tennessee Scholar and a member of the National High School Honor Society.
Abby Hicks – R/R – 5-6 – P – Knoxville, Tenn. – Gibbs – Chattanooga State - @abbyhicks13
Hicks transfers to Carson-Newman from Chattanooga State. She tallied a 1.87 ERA in 48.2 innings as a sophomore. She gave up less than a hit an inning and had 29 strikeouts against just eight walks. She was 6-2 with a save as a sophomore. Helped Chat State to an NJCAA national tournament appearance.
In high school, she played for legendary Carson-Newman pitcher Carol Mitchell (ne' Zachary) at Gibbs. She helped the Eagles to a trio of state tournament appearances. She was named all-state, all-district and her district's most valuable player in 2016.
The daughter of Rick and Libby Hicks, she plans to study nursing at Carson-Newman.
Sarah Knight – B/L – 5-3 – OF – Seymour, Tenn. – The King's Academy - @sarahgknight17
Knight comes to Carson-Newman after playing for Marc Weekly at The King's Academy. She hit .376 with 29 doubles, three triples and eight home runs. She tallied 125 RBI through her high school career. Knight was named all-county three times and helped the Lions to a pair of state titles.
The daughter of Kristi Knight, she plans to double major in psychology and Spanish at Carson-Newman.
Carmen Holt – R/R – 5-3 – UTIL – Lawrenceburg, Ky. – Anderson County - @carmenholtt
Holt hit .360 her senior year playing for Brent Aldridge and Jeff Hawkins at Anderson County. She also had a trio of homers and 26 RBI her final go around with the Bearcats.
She earned all-district, all-state and academic all-state as a junior and senior. On three occasions, she helped take the Bearcats to the Kentucky State tournament.
The daughter of Matt and Robyn Holt, she plans to study biology at Carson-Newman. She was presented the Hollie Warford Jr. award in high school,, which goes to the top female athlete who exhibits excellence in athletics and academics. She finished her high school career with a 4.25 GPA.
Allison Rager – R/R – 5-8 – P/3B – Elkview, W.Va. – Herbert Hoover – Morehead State - @alnicole22
Rager will have one year of eligibility remaining after a stellar three-year career at Morehead State. She earned All-OVC first team accolades, CoSIDA Academic All-District honors, OVC All-Tournament Team and a slew of OVC Pitcher of the Week accolades while with the Eagles.
In high school, Rager was named to the all-conference and all-state four times. She participated in the state's North-South All-Star Game and was MVP of the series. She earned the 2014 Rachel E. Taylor/West Virginia Sports Writer's Player of the Year accolade. Rager recorded a .500 batting average, .564 on-base percentage, 53 runs, 20 doubles and 10 home runs as a junior in 2014. In the circle, she managed a 24-5 record, 0.95 ERA and 178 strikeouts in the circle.