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Saluki softball signs five for 2021

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CARBONDALE (SIU ATHLETICS) -- Southern Illinois University head coach Kerri Blaylock has announced the addition of five student-athletes that have signed National Letters of Intent to join the Saluki softball program in the fall of 2021.
Signing NLIs with the Salukis are outfielder/first baseman Addi Baker (North Manchester, Ind.), outfielder Emma Austin (Brookport, Ill.), pitcher/designated player Alexis Rudd (Greenwood, Ind.), utility player Reagan McGahey (Charleston, Ill.) and outfielder/second baseman Chloe Scroggins (Danvers, Ill.).
Emma Austin // Outfield // Brookport, Ill.
Emma Austin is a senior at nearby Massac County, where she was named to the River-to-River all-conference team after a sophomore season in which she slashed .434/.456/.606 with 12 extra base hits and a team-best 18 stolen bases. The Brookport, Ill. native recorded at least one hit in 21 of Massac's 25 games as a sophomore, which included multiple hits in 13 games. In doing so, Austin earned her team's Defensive Player of the Year award and was selected to play in the Southern Illinois Select All-Star Game. 
On the travel ball circuit, Austin plays for Illinois Force, the same travel team as current Salukis Tori Schullian, Sarah Harness, Danyell Eilers. Austin led her travel team in batting average, hits, runs and stolen bases during the 2020 season.
"Emma is no doubt one of the premier recruits out of the Southern Illinois area in her class," Blaylock said. "She is a fierce competitor and pound for pound one of the strongest and fastest players that will ever suit up in a Saluki uniform.  Emma was a player we identified very young and wanted to make sure she stayed home here at SIU."
Addi Baker // First Base/Outfield // North Manchester, Ind.
Addi Baker attends Northfield High School in Manchester, Ind., where she has earned all-conference honors in three different sports, including back-to-back seasons in softball. Baker was named Wabash County's Player of the Year in 2019 after a sophomore campaign in which she hit .606 with a 1.279 slugging percentage and crushed 11 home runs- the second-most in IHSSA Class 2A. 
She plays travel ball for the Indiana Magic Gold and powered the Magic to third-place showings at Premier Girls Fastpitch Nationals in both 2017 and 2019. A versatile athlete, Baker also starred for Northfield's volleyball and basketball teams. As a junior, the Greenfield, Ind. native recorded her 1,000th career kill and recently earned all-state honors as a senior, while she also claimed the County's Player of the Year honor in basketball in 2020 after she averaged 11.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per contest. In addition to her success on various playing fields, Baker is also an exceptional student as she is a three-time academic all-conference honoree.
"Addi is one of the most impressive hitters this summer for a top ranked club team," Blaylock said. "She's a highly rated recruit and a winner as a multi-sport athlete.  We will rely on her to hold down the middle of our lineup offensively and help run our top-ranked defense from the infield or the outfield if needed.  She reminded the coaching staff of Jenny Jansen when we were recruiting her."
Reagan McGahey // C/3B/OF // Charleston, Ill.
Reagan McGahey is a senior at Charleston High School in Charleston, Ill., where she burst onto the scene as a freshman after she hit .523 with 13 home runs, 14 doubles and eight triples to help Charleston to its first-ever Apollo Conference title and record the most wins in a single-season (27) in school history. McGahey followed up her stellar freshman campaign with a sophomore season in which she hit .566 with seven homers, six triples, nine doubles and 39 RBI to earn All-State honors for the second-straight season.
A two-time All-Area selection and two-time all-conference honoree, McGahey plays travel ball for Premier Fastpitch and was teammates with fellow class of 2025 signee Chloe Scroggins.
"Reagan is another incredibly versatile athlete in this class who can fill so many spots for us – especially defensively," Blaylock said. "We are looking forward to seeing her just about anywhere in the infield including catcher.  Reagan runs really well and can hit anywhere in our lineup. Saluki fans are going to get to see a player who loves to put on a uniform and compete."
Alexis Rudd // Pitcher/DP // Greenwood, Ind.
Alexis Rudd is coming off of a sophomore season at Center Grove High School in Greenwood, Ind. in which she helped the Trojans to a 28-3 record and won the school's first state title since 2015.  The Greenwood, Ind. native hit .376 with 11 doubles and 16 RBI. She also started six games in the circle and went 5-0 with a 2.59 ERA and 43 strikeouts. As a freshman, Rudd helped the Trojans to a 30-2 record and a semi-state championship round appearance. 
Rudd plays summer ball for Indiana Magic Gold, who are coached by her father, James. Rudd was travel ball teammates with fellow class of 2025 signee Addi Baker, and the two combined to help the Indiana Magic Gold take third at the prestigious Premier Girls Fastpitch Nationals in both 2017 and 2019. Rudd will be the second member of her family to play Division I softball as her older sister, Jordyn, is currently a junior on Northwestern's softball team.
"Alexis will give us that power in the lineup that we are always looking to bring in each recruiting class," Blaylock said. "She can pitch and will likely be in our DH spot a lot.  We were so excited to get her on board.  She is Addi's club teammate and it will be great to see them together here at SIU."
Chloe Scroggins // OF/2B // Danvers, Ill.
A native of Danvers, Ill., Chloe Scroggins has been a fixture at second base for Olympia High School. A 2019 All-State Third Team honoree, Scroggins hit .432 as Olympia's leadoff hitter with a team-high 52 hits, 12 doubles and a .482 on-base percentage. Scroggins was instrumental in helping the Spartans advance to the state tournament for the first time since 2009 after they defeated Piasa Southwestern, 4-1 to capture the Class 2A Athens Super-Sectional title in 2019. As a freshman, Scroggins hit .356 with a .457 on-base percentage for a Spartans squad that went 24-8.
A four-sport athlete, Scroggins also played volleyball, basketball and competed in swimming while at Olympia. She plays travel ball for Premier Fastpitch and was teammates with McGahey.
"Chloe will gives us another smart, utility option who will see reps in the middle infield and the outfield," Blaylock said. "Anytime we can get a lefty hitter that plays multiple positions and can run - we are going to take advantage. We were huge fans of Chloe's just watching how hard she plays and how much fun she has out there."

Jason Hurst

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