Shawnee State softball just got better.
The Bears struggled to a 10-13 season this year but signed four players from Scioto County on Friday that could make a difference.
The newly -signed recruits are Green's Ali Thompson, Clay's Cami Groves and the duo of Wheelerburg's Jaime Clevenger and Danielle Hall.
Groves and Thompson are two of the top pitchers in the SOC I while Clevenger plays center field and Hall plays third base for SOC II Lady Pirates.
Shawnee State head coach Ralph Cole commented on the skills of each player but one statement came up each time.
These girls know how to win.
"They come from a winning program," Cole said. "You can't really teach what these kids are going to bring (to Shawnee State)."
Cole spent most of the morning and afternoon traveling to signings, starting at Wheelersburg.
Clevenger, a center fielder, was a four-year letter winner in softball. She accumulated a career batting average of .360 and was a twice named All-SOC.
"Jaime was the last player left from the Little League World Series team six years ago," Wheelersburg coach Gary Bailey said. "Jaime has been a leader for us."
Hall, a third baseman, lettered four-times in softball. Clevenger and Hall both helped lead their team to four SOC Championships and to an overall record of 90-17 so far in four years at Wheelersburg. The Lady Pirates are 19-2 this season.
"(Hall) brings some leadership,” Bailey said. “She is fundementally sound and her hitting has improved."
Groves earned first-team All SOC recognition twice. She helped lead Clay to regional championships twice and to the state semi-finals as a sophomore. She also is a four-year letter winner in volleyball and a three-year letter winner in basketball. She has also earned all-district honors in volleyball twice.
"We really have high expectations for Cami," Cole said. "She comes from a great high school program."
"I'm thrilled to have had the opportunity to work with her and to have the opportunity to continue to work with her," Clay coach Teresa Ruby said.
Ruby is in her final year at Clay and plans to become an assistant at SSU.
Ali Thompson, a pitcher from Green High School, was named SOC Player of the Year twice. She earned first team All-Ohio recognition as a junior and honorable mention All-Ohio as a sophomore.
"Ali is an outstanding student and a very hard worker who will have the opportunity to pitch her freshman year," Cole said.
All four players will have the chance to earn playing time as freshmen.
JOHN STEGEMAN can be reached at email@example.com