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Bemidji St. softball: Popp draws 10 in recruting class

Bemidji State University head softball coach Jeremy Popp recently announced eight commitments to his program for the 2010 season.

Brittany Black (Bemidji) Crystal Bowen (Duluth), Sara Brodeur (Cass Lake), Chelsea Cardinal (Brooklyn Park), Kaitlin Hill (Dayton), Emma Neumann (Winsted), Stephanie Rossman (Menomonee Falls, Wis.) and Kelsey Saralampi (Esko) will be on campus beginning this fall and will play for the Beavers next spring.

"This is one of the largest and most talented recruiting classes in recent memory for Beaver softball," commented first-year coach Popp of his inaugural recruiting class. "Coach (Sara) Anderson and I put a lot of time and effort into this class and we are really proud of the new faces we are bringing into the program. These girls join a young returning team that is anxious to hit the field next fall. The expectations have been set high for those who are returning and I believe this class is willing and able to help meet and exceed them."

- Brittany Black: Black returns to her hometown as a junior to play for Bemidji State after two years at Itasca Community College (ICC). A proven winner, Black comes in with championship experience. In 2008 her 18U "B" team out of Grand Rapids, Minn. won the state championship on the way to winning a national championship. At the collegiate level, her ICC team won the 2009 Minnesota College Athletic Conference (MCAC) State Championship.

- Crystal Bowen comes to Bemidji State after a successful prep career at Duluth Central High School. A three-sport athlete, Hill earned five letters in softball, four in volleyball and lettered for the Trojan's basketball team on two occasions. A captain and two-time team Most Valuable Player, Hill garnered All-Lake Superior Conference and all-section accolades at the conclusion of her junior and senior seasons.

- Sara Brodeur, a left-handed, switch-hitting first baseman, comes to Bemidji State from Cass Lake. The 2009 graduate of Cass Lake-Bena High School played both softball and volleyball for the Panthers. On the diamond she was a four-year letterwinner and captained Cass Lake-Bena each of the past two seasons. Brodeur is an All-Upper Mississippi Conference honoree and has been named as the Panthers' Most Valuable Player. She was also named the valedictorian of her senior class.

- Chelsea Cardinal comes to BSU from Champlin Park High School. A captain as a senior, Cardinal led the Rebels to their first wining record and first section victory in five years in 2008. She accounted for 12 of the team's 13 wins with a 2.73 ERA while holding opponents to .263 at the plate while posting a 3.29 strikeout/walk ratio in over 128 innings of work.

- Kaitlin Hill, a high school teammate of Cardinal at Champlin Park, calls Dayton, Minn. home. The middle infielder was a three-sport athlete for the Rebels also active in volleyball and basketball. Has been among the offensive leaders of her team since making the varsity roster in 2007.

- Emma Newman, a five-year letterwinner, is one of two catching prospects the Beavers have committed for 2010. Named the Outstanding Female Athlete at Holy Trinity High School in for 2008-09, Newman helped lead Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity to a 19-7 overall record in 2009.

- Stephanie Rossman comes to Bemidji State after a standout career at Hamilton High School in Sussex, Wis. A two-sport athlete, Rossman was a four-year starter on both the Chargers' softball and basketball team. Entering her senior season on the diamond, the 2008-09 Hamilton Female Athlete of the Year and Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletics Association (WIAA) Scholar Athlete, had piled up three All-Greater Metro Conference awards.

- Kelsey Saralampi recently completed her high school career anchoring the pitching rotation at Esko High School. The All-Polar League pick helped lead the Eskomos to a perfect 8-0 record in league competition and a 16-7 overall mark, which included an eight-game wining streak to cap the regular season and extend into the Section 7AA Tournament.

Bemidji State capped the 2009 campaign with a 8-28 overall record and a 3-21 mark in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference play.