Kalafatis adds two California natives to join Ohio State in 2008-09

COLUMBUS, Ohio Linda Kalafatis, Ohio State head softball coach, has announced the signing of two high school seniors to National Letters of Intent to play for the Buckeyes. Southern California natives Alicia Herron (Cypress, Calif.) and Vanessa Spears (Brea, Calif.), who are teammates on the Fresno Force Gold travel ball team, will join the program in Sept. 2008.

Herron, a 6-foot shortstop, batted .463 last spring for Cypress High School and is a three-time all-conference selection. At 5-feet-8-inches, Spears plays outfield and first base for Brea Olinda High School and hit .459 last season with a school-record five triples.

“Alicia Herron and Vanessa Spears are outstanding softball players who also perform exceptionally well in the classroom,” Kalafatis said. “It’s a small recruiting class, but a very good one because of what these two young ladies will bring to our program. Alicia has great size, a terrific arm and the ability to hit for average and power. Vanessa, a true lefty, also has a good arm and good speed and she also hits for average and power. It’s extra exciting because these two players will be the first class to play their entire careers in our brand new softball stadium.”

Herron was named her high school team’s offensive most valuable player as a freshman and is a three-time scholar athlete. Spears, who is also a three-time scholar athlete, was named her team’s MVP as a freshman and sophomore and comes from a program that won state championships in 1998 and 1999. Together, Herron and Spears helped lead their former travel ball team, the So Cal A’s, to a seventh-place finish at the 2006 ASA Nationals,

“Coach Ali Viola did a tremendous job in recruiting these two fantastic student-athletes and Kenny Moore was instrumental in their development as young players,” Kalafatis said. “We’re very grateful for his help during our recruiting efforts and we’re looking forward to seeing Vanessa and Alicia in a Buckeye uniform a next year. We know they’ll represent Ohio State in the very best way.”

The Buckeyes went 40-18 last year and won the Big Ten regular-season and tournament championships. Ohio State has five starters back this season and opens the 2008 campaign Feb. 8 at the Stetson Tournament in Deland, Fla.

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Contact: Tim Stried,