Jan. 22, 2016
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The 2016 Purdue softball team features 19 players, combining seven newcomers with 12 returning players. The roster includes 10 underclassmen, including six freshmen, who are expected to contribute.
Each week leading up to the season, we will introduce you to a class, beginning with our freshmen. The group hails from six different states spanning the country from Arizona to Virginia and Texas to Minnesota. Collectively, they have earned 13 all-state accolades and two Miss Softball honors. Meet Mallory Baker, Maddie Damon, Lexi Huffman, Emily Kenny, Heather Knight and Lauren Stewart.
Knight, a catcher/infielder from Saddelbrook, Arizona, led her Canyon del Oro team to the state final four three times, including a championship and 33-5 mark as a freshman. The two-time all-star selection helped her team to the Division II runnerup spot as a junior and a third place finish at state her final season. The three-time honor roll member was an honorable mention Arizona Daily Star all-star selection and all-southern Arizona second team honoree in 213. As a senior, Heather earned All-Southern All-Star first team accolades, Arizona State Division II, section VI second team honors and was her team's MVP and captain. The prospective agriculture science major played travel ball for the Arizona Killer Bees.
Here's a little bit about Heather, including some of her favorite things.
Sweet or salty: Sweet
Dogs or cats: Dogs
Cooking or eating: Cooking
Vacation: To the quiet country or to the big city: To the quiet country for sure!!
Coolest place I've ever been/or most unique locale: Guam
Person I look up to most & why: My brother Michael because we are super close and we've been through everything together
Best feeling in the field (defensively): Squatting behind home plate waiting for the first pitch of the game to be thrown
Three words that describe me: Humble, competitive, and motivated
My most memorable sports moment: In travel ball I hit a grand slam to tie the game up 12-12 so we could get the berth for nationals in the bottom of the 10th inning.
Person I would like to have dinner with: My Grandpa who passed away two years ago. He was my best friend and we were really close. I would love to go bird hunting with him one last time like we always used to do.
Favorite sweet treat: Apple Crisp
Favorite sports team: Atlanta Falcons
Favorite TV show: Beverly Hillbillies
Favorite Musical Artist: Randy Travis and George Jones
Favorite Food: Steak! And Barbeque
For more about Heather and her favorite things, click here.
Stewart, an outfielder from Alpharetta, Georgia, was a two-time Region 7AAAAA Player of the Year and a four-time all-region honoree. She also earned first team all-state honors as a junior, becoming the first athlete from Cambridge High School ever to receive all-state accolades. Her final two seasons at Cambridge, Lauren led the Lady Bears to the Sweet 16 of the state playoffs followed by a runner-up finish at the GHSA Class AAAAA state tournament. As a sophomore, she was the team's Defensive Player of the Year and a first team all-region honoree as Cambridge played its inaugural softball season. As a freshman at Alpharetta High School, she helped that team qualify for the state playoffs for the first time in school history as the offensive player of the year and an all-region selection. The National Honor Society member and also track and basketball competitor played travel ball for the Georgia Force and East Cobb Bullets.
Here's a little bit about Lauren, including some of her favorite things.
Sweet or salty: Sweet
Cooking or eating: Eating
Vacation: To the quiet country or to the big city: Big City
Place I dream of visiting someday: Barcelona, Spain
Person I look up to most & why: Mom because of her strength and faith
Favorite thing about my position: Have control and can see the entire field
Three words that describe me: Family-oriented, warm-hearted, driven
One word to describe my game: Raw
Best non-athletic talent: Dancing, playing the saxophone
Dream job: Being a sports broadcaster and journalist for ESPN
Favorite sweet treat: Banana Pudding and Peach Crunch
Favorite sports team: Atlanta Braves, Hawks, and Falcons
Favorite Athletes: Allen Iverson & Michael Vick
Favorite Food: Gumbo
Favorite class at Purdue: African American Studies 271
For more about Lauren and her favorite things, click here