Mari Stokes and Chris Donovan Highlight Productive Senior Seasons for Future Fish

Written By: Michael Brown, Palm Beach Atlantic University SID

CHRIS DONOVAN (Photo Coutesy of: Brandon Kruse, The Gainesville Sun)CHRIS DONOVAN (Photo Coutesy of: Brandon Kruse, The Gainesville Sun)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.- With the high school softball season now completed and only a month or so left before they report for their first semester in college, the incoming class for the Palm Beach Atlantic University softball team appears to be shaping into a special one.

Highlighted by two PBA recruits being named their area’s Player of the Year, head coach Kimmy Bloemers has compiled an impressive group of incoming players.

"I am so proud of these girls,” said Bloemers. “It is nice to know for any coach that you recruited great athletes with such tremendous talent to build your program. The best part is knowing that such great talent is coming to PBA. I am anxious for next year and to see them wear that Sailfish uniform,” continued Bloemers.

Named the Scripps News Tribune Player of the Year as well as a member of The Palm Beach Post 1st Team, Mari Stokes comes to PBA with not only a long list of accolades but also an obvious passion for the game. A tremendous athlete on the field with the ability to play just about anywhere on the field, Stokes also found success in the classroom as she was awarded the President Scholar Award while graduating with honors from St. Lucie West Centennial High School.

The other PBA player honored as her area’s Player of the Year hails from Gainesville as Chris Donovan helped lead her team to a District Championship as well as taking home numerous personal accolades. Tops on that list of accomplishments most likely sits the honor of being named the 1A-3A Player of the Year in The Gainesville Sun.

A talented right-handed pitcher, Donovan finished her senior campaign with a record of 13-5 with a 1.09 earned-run average while striking out 163 batters in 134 innings pitched. Donovan will give the Sailfish a solid starting rotation in 2009 as she joins juniors Ashley Jones and Heather Laird as potential pitching standouts.

Joining Stokes and Donovan as incoming freshmen next season are a few other talented performers who have also been recognized in their local area for athletic and academic success.

Erica Walters, a tough and athletic catcher from West Nassau High School in Callahan, Florida, gives Bloemers yet another durable backstop to add to the Sailfish roster.

A solid all-around player, Walters was awarded a Golden Glove and Golden Bat award as well as being named to the First-Team for All-Area and All-County at WNHS. For her success on the field, Walters took home the WNHS Female Athlete of the Year as well as the Powerade Sportsmanship award.

Adding to the list of accomplishments for this impressive group is incoming outfield and first-base prospect Jaime Robinson who earned distinguished academic honors during her time at Sarasota High School.

With preseason practice just around the corner, these young ball players will be joining their new teammates very soon.

Special thanks to The Scripps News Tribune, The Palm Beach Post, and The Gainesville Sun for their contributions to this article.

Click Here for the The Scripps News Tribune article on Mari Stokes

Click Here for The Palm Beach Post article on Mari Stokes

Click Here for The Gainesville Sun article on Chris Donovan

Click Here for The Gainesville Sun video on Chris Donovan

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