Four High School Seniors Sign NLIs To Play Softball At ECU
Dec. 4, 2005
GREENVILLE, N.C. --- Four high school seniors, including three from the state of Hawaii, have signed National Letters of Intent to play softball at East Carolina, head coach Tracey Kee has announced. Cristen Aona (Kapolei, Hawaii), Toni Paisley (Lakewood, Calif.), Charina Sumner (Kailua, Hawaii) and Kaui Tom (Kailu, Hawaii) are scheduled to enroll at ECU in the fall of 2006 and make their debut on the field in 2007.
"This signing class is loaded with disciplined student-athletes who have a strong desire to compete," said Kee. "They are the true epitome of utility players. Their athleticism will complement our returning classes as well. They are driven in the classroom and understand the importance of giving back to their community. Their impact at ECU will be felt immediately and for years to come."
Aona is first team all-state first baseman from Punahou High School in Honolulu who is expected to blend in nicely with Kee's philosophy and style of play.
"Cristen is one of those athletes who does all the small things correctly," stated Kee. "Her attention to detail and ability to lead on the infield will give us that much needed energy. Her power complimented with her quickness will blend in well with our lineup."
"It was a difficult decision because ECU is so far from home," explained Aona. "However once I stepped on campus, home didn't seem so far. The atmosphere and Greenville community was so welcoming and the campus was beautiful. The team accepted us and made us feel a part of the program immediately."
Paisley, a two-time all-city selection, is a pitcher from Lakewood High School whose persona on the mound and versatility in the field are expected to give the Lady Pirates an added dimension.
"Toni is one of those pitchers who wants the ball in the toughest situation," said Kee. "She's a fierce competitor with the whole repertoire of pitches to go to when needed. Her ability to swing a strong bat and play multiple positions in the infield and outfield will give us a luxury we haven't had before."
"I chose ECU because the coaches and staff were wonderful and it seems like a well developed program with a big future," said Paisley. "The girls were incredible and made me feel like I was one of them. I was the perfect choice for me."
Sumner is a second team all-state outfield from Kamehameha High School in Honolulu. A renowned track and field athlete, her speed is expected to pay dividends both along the base paths and in the outfield.
"Rina has an uncanny ability to run down balls in the outfield or anchor the right side on an infield," Kee stated. "Her speed from the left side will allow her to pressure defenses. Her pure athleticism will work well in our program."
"I decided to sign with ECU after my first visit because I realized it was my type of school," said Sumner. "The girls on the team, the coaches, the parents, and everybody I met were absolutely awesome. I was overwhelmed by the beautiful facilities and the comforting atmosphere of the campus."
Tom, a high school teammate of Sumner, is an all-state player that has helped her team to a pair of Interscholastic League of Honolulu championships. She is expected to strengthen the middle infield in the future.
"Kaui is a gifted middle-infielder with unbelievable range," said Kee. "Never before Have I seen an athlete so light on her feet. Her arm strength, quickness and glove skills are indeed ready for collegiate ball."
"I signed with ECU because all the players made me feel welcome and the coaches showed me that they cared about me as a student-athlete," Tom said. "Being so far away from home I knew I had to be comfortable with all players and coaches before I committed and each and every one of them made me feel at home."
East Carolina opens the 2006 season on February 10 against Bethune-Cookman in Boca Raton, Fla.