Nov. 17, 2003

Linda Kalafatis, Ohio State head softball coach, announced the signing of Liz Caputo and Brittany Vanderink to the 2004 recruiting class. The pair will both be freshmen next fall for the Buckeyes.

“We’re losing only three seniors to graduation so we knew going into this year, we were going to have a small recruiting class,” Kalafatis said. “What we don’t have in size, we sure have in talent. Liz and Brittany are two very exciting players and I believe they will be able to challenge for playing time right away. They both bat from the left side of the plate and are very speedy. These two players will be able to be triple threats for us because they will be able to bunt, slap or hit-away up to bat. Playing in the ASA (American Softball Association) Gold division has allowed these two players to face the stiffest of competition, which will make their transition to the college game much smoother. Brittany, Liz and their families really value what being a Buckeye is all about. They want a great education, they want to compete at a high level in softball and they want to be successful at both while enjoying their college experience. Our coaches and players are excited to have these ladies sign letters of intent to Ohio State. They will be tremendous additions to our Buckeye program.”

Caputo is an outfielder from Riverside, Calif. A three-year starter for Riverside Poly High School, Caputo has earned numerous awards throughout her career. Caputo, the co-captain last season, has led Riverside Poly to three consecutive Ivy League Co-Championship titles. A three-time Ivy Team All League selection, Caputo was selected as a 2002 and 2003 First Team All Riverside County member and earned second team all-county accolades as a freshman. Caputo earned a myriad of honors last season, including a spot on the La Times All Star Team and placement on the All Inland Empire squad for the second consecutive season. A three-time scholar-athlete and a three-time honor roll student, Caputo was selected to the 2002 All-American Scholar Program. Caputo has played travel ball since 1997 and notably, in 1997 her Gordon’s Panthers 16U team captured the California State Championship and placed third at ASA Nationals.

“Liz comes to us from the Gordon’s Panthers, one of the top youth teams in the country, so she will come in as a very developed player. We’ve watched Liz over the last couple of years and we knew she had the kind of speed and athleticism to compete in the Big Ten, but what I like most about what I’m seeing out of her now, is she has the competitiveness to excel in our conference. She’s been on our radar for so long and we’ve been high on her list because of family ties to Ohio, it’s just so neat to see it all come together now as she signs with Ohio State. Liz will have every opportunity to do extremely well in the classroom and on the playing field for Ohio State. She’s a great fit for our softball program. “

“It has always been my dream to attend Ohio State University,” Caputo said. “I am honored to have the opportunity to receive an exceptional education and play softball with such an outstanding and spirited team. Go Bucks!”

Vanderink is an infielder from Hiram, Ohio. Vanderink was a starter for the 2003 Division II State Champion Crestwood Red Devils. As a freshman, Vanderink earned her squad’s most valuable player and best offensive player awards as well as a spot on the all-county first team. An injury prevented Vanderink from competing in softball as a sophomore, however she did participate in track. A success in the 100- and 200-meter dashes as well as two relay teams, Vanderink made it to the Division I Track and Field regional and district competitions. Returning to the softball diamond her junior season, Vanderink tallied a .528 average, 64 hits and 51 runs scored. She was named the team’s best offensive player and garnered first team all-county and first team all-district honors. Vanderink was named a 2002 ASA Second Team All-American after the 18U Gold National Tournament and represented the state of Ohio when she was chosen as one of 46 student-athletes invited to the Junior Olympic Softball Tryouts in Salem, Oregon. A three-year member of the student council, Vanderink is a cheerleader at Crestwood and was on the homecoming court last year.

“Brit is a special player,” Kalafatis said. “There are certainly a lot of softball fans in Ohio that can tell you that. When we saw Brittany play three years ago, we knew she would develop into the kind of player that we would want as a Buckeye. We always try to get the best players from Ohio and I believe Brittany Vanderink is Ohio’s finest softball player this year. Brittany has always been the spark plug on her team. We saw her have that kind of an impact on her high school team as they won a state title and on her summer team, the Maddogs, as they competed across the country. We see her doing the same for us at either second base or in the outfield. Brittany was an All-American at the junior Olympic level and we’re excited to help her be an All-American at the collegiate level. “

“I have always wanted to go to Ohio State,” Vanderink said. “I am excited to become a Buckeye because of the great academics and the team. It is such a wonderful opportunity to be a part of the Buckeyes, to learn from the coaches and to better myself as an individual and a softball player.”