MISSOULA, Mont. - University of Montana softball is under a year from fielding its first team in program history. With a calendar year full of firsts, the program has now officially announced its first ever player commits.
Signing last week were Delene Colburn, a middle infielder from Auburn, Wash.; Tori Lettus, a middle infielder from Bothell, Wash.; Ashlyn Lyons, a first baseman from Walla Walla, Wash.; Gabby Martinez, a second baseman/outfielder from Redlands, Calif.; MaKenna McGill, a centerfielder from Claremore, Okla.; and Carli Riordan, a right-handed pitcher from Spokane Valley, Wash.
UM head coach Jamie Pinkerton says he was impressed with the quality of athletes he was able to ink in this early signing session. He added that many of these players are adept at more than one position.
"That versatility is going to be really key for us because most players you put in a position might only be able to play one position but out of these six probably four of them can play multiple positions," explained Pinkerton. "I think that is going to be really key in piecing this together because for one we've still got to get out and find the Montana players that are Division-1 athletes if and when we can sign those and then try to put together a junior college class signing to balance the classes and the spring signing period."
Pinkerton was unable to sign any Montanan players during the early period; the recent Iowa State coach didn't arrive in Missoula until September, giving him little to no chance of catching in-state players in action.
The Grizzlies will begin playing their nontraditional season in just 10 months. The rest of the 2014 class will be added during the late signing period that opens in April.