PBA Softball to Welcome Nine New Faces for the 2014 Season
September 4, 2013
Written by: Michael Brown, Assistant A.D. for External Operations
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.- Palm Beach Atlantic head softball coach Kimmy Bloemers announced on Tuesday the addition of nine new players for the 2014 season with each expected to make solid contributions to the Sailfish softball program. The large incoming class will look to mesh with a talented returning roster including a number of quality underclassmen returning from last season’s team.
This season’s talented and diverse group of players will join a returning group of 11 players to give the Sailfish and Coach Bloemers one of her deepest rosters during her eight seasons leading the Fish.
“Knowing the solid returners we have and the strong rookies we will add to this program, there is no doubt the 2014 season will be a fun and exciting one for the Sailfish softball team,” said Bloemers. “This big roster will become one unit throughout the fall and will work hard to be ready for a tough schedule.”
A undersized but explosive athlete, Stephanie Garrels is a catcher who will transfer to Palm Beach Atlantic from Chipola College.
An All-Conference first-team selection in both of her seasons playing at Chipola, Garrels would help lead her team to a FCSAA State Championship in 2013 while earning All-Region and All-State first-team honors along the way. She finished her impressive sophomore campaign with a .483 batting average, scoring 58 runs and swiping 45 bases.
Not only an outstanding athlete, Garrels also succeeded in the classroom as she was named to the Dean’s List in all semesters at Chipola while earning her associate’s degree in Psychology.
Before suiting up for the Indians, Garrels played her high school softball at Magnolia West High School in Magnolia, Texas for head coach Sheryl Tamberello.
Stephanie is the daughter of Steve Garrels and Lisa Chiles.
Adding to the team’s depth in the infield and outfield is the addition of Miami native Victoria Gonzalez.
Blessed with a powerful bat, Gonzalez is coming off a terrific prep career at Pembroke Pines Charter High School where she earned Miami Herald Player of the Year honors as well as being named a finalist for the 6A Florida Dairy Farmers Player of the Year award.
Gonzalez competed as a varsity softball starter since the sixth grade and would go on to earn recognition from the Sun-Sentinel and Miami Herald newspapers as an All-County performer in each of her last three seasons with the Jaguars under head coach Tom Fadul.
She is expected to pursue a degree in Pharmacy from PBA.
Elizabeth is the daughter of Rene and Ivette Gonzalez.
Adding to the team’s depth behind the plate will be the addition of Marietta, Georgia product Josie Huddleston.
A graduate of Harrison High School where she competed on the softball diamond for head coach Matthew Jones, Huddleston is a two-time All-State selection for the Hoyas while earning All-League, All-County and All-Region honors at various points in her high school career.
Standing at 5’10”, Huddleston’s athletic abilities are just part of the reason she was such an appealing fit for the PBA softball program. Huddleston’s success in academics as a National Merit Commended Scholar and a member of her high school’s National Honor Society will certainly aide her in being a well-rounded student-athlete.
Josie is the daughter of Porter and Amy Huddleston.
Former Hardee High School standout Kayla Knight is another player added to this year’s team who boasts versatility and athleticism as a big part of her game.
A shortstop and pitcher while playing for coaches Sharri Knight and Leigh Beumel, Knight was named her team’s best offensive player three different seasons while earning Team MVP honors in 2011 and 2013. Her senior campaign saw her also collect District Player of the Year accolades.
Off the field Knight has followed the same academic path as many of her new teammates as she graduated magna cum laude (third in her graduating class) while also being a member of the National Honor Society and Phi Theta Kappa.
The Wauchula, Florida native plans to major in Athletic Training with hopes of pursuing a career in physical therapy.
Kayla is the daughter of Doug and Sharri Knight.
Adding to the team’s pitching depth for the 2014 season will be the addition of former King’s Academy player Aubree Murphy.
Having spent her freshman season at Daytona State College, Murphy will return to her hometown to play for the Sailfish this coming spring.
Before battling injuries at Daytona State, Murphy put together a record-breaking career at nearby King’s Academy where she earned local, regional and national recognition.
Among her honors and awards were Palm Beach Post All-Area first-team and Player of the Year accolades, Sun-Sentinel All-Area first-team and FHSAA All-State first-team recognition.
She was also selected as the National Christian School Athletic Association (NCSAA) National Player of the Year and All-American first-team member.
A varsity softball player for King’s Academy beginning in 2008, Murphy has also been involved as a member of the Key Club and earned the Community Service Silver Award.
Aubree is the daughter of James and Karen Murphy.
Joining the team from Lakeland, Florida will be George Jenkins High School product Britney Powell who competed for coaches Jeff Lang, Jerry May and Mike Powell.
A gifted and athletic shortstop in her time as an Eagle, Powell will be reunited with former high school teammate and rising PBA sophomore Theresa Butler on the Sailfish this season.
Not only a solid performer on the diamond as evidenced by earning her team’s Best Offensive Player award and the team’s Coaches Award in 2011 and 2012 respectively, but Powell was also an impact volleyball player.
Named to the All-County third-team in volleyball, Powell helped guide her team to the 7A state semi-finals as a senior.
She finished ninth in her graduating class while earning an Honors award for having a 4.0 grade-point average during all four years of high school.
Britney is the daughter of Mike and Pamela Powell.
Continuing to stockpile talented infielders, the Sailfish will welcome Brianna Rano as another potential option at second-base for the 2014 season.
Rano played her high school softball at nearby Jupiter High School for head coach Steve Ahern and went on to earn All-Conference first-team honors as well as All-Area second-team recognition.
She helped lead her team to the Florida State finals in softball while preparing her academically to pursue a nursing degree at PBA.
Brianna is the daughter of Jeff and Tina Rano.
North Carolina native Torie Weems is another new Sailfish player who has the ability to play multiple positions on the diamond in 2014.
A product of Southern Guilford High School in Greensboro, N.C., Weems competed for the Storm softball team under head coach John Funderburk. During this time she was named team Offensive MVP and earned the Wendy’s High School Heisman award.
Her softball skills translated into a pair of All-Conference awards while staying involved in other extracurricular activies such as the National Honor Society, the Century Club and the FFA.
She plans to pursue a degree in Pharmacy at Palm Beach Atlantic.
Torie is the daughter of Tim and Angel Weems.
Rounding out the list of signees for this season is Jacksonville, Florida native Shelby Wood.
Considered a premiere hitter during her days as a member of the Bishop John J. Snyder High School squad, Wood competed as a catcher and first-baseman for coaches Michael Young and James Wright.
Named her team’s Offensive MVP as a junior and senior, Wood helped lead her high school team to the 3A state championship game in both seasons while claiming 3A district championships along the way. She earned All-Conference honors in both of her final two seasons
On the academic side, Wood graduated cum laude and plans to pursue a degree in Athletic Training at PBA.
Shelby is the daughter of Raymond and Kelly Wood.