The Mount Vernon Nazarene College women's fastpitch softball team recently signed two softball standouts from perennial power Colonel Crawford High School to join the Lady Cougars for the 2002 season.
Shannon Rachel and Tiffini Pinion led the Eagles to three North Central Conference crowns, four sectional and district titles, three regional championships, and three trips to the state tournament that included a runner-up finish in 1999. During their four years, Colonel Crawford posted a 95-23 overall record (.805 winning percentage) that included a 47-2 NCC mark (.959).
"I am really excited to have signed both Shannon and Tiffini," said MVNC head coach Jeana Howald. "They are both very talented athletes who will be able to help us right away. Shannon has proven herself as a quality pitcher, and she will fill a big need for us on the mound. Tiffini is a good hitter, who can play both in the infield and the outfield."
"Shannon and Tiffini also know what it takes to play winning softball," Howald added. "They come from a very strong high school with a great tradition. They are very personable young women who have done well in the classroom as well. I am looking forward to coaching them for the next four years."
Rachel, a pitcher/infielder from Galion, Ohio, posted a 17-1 record on the mound as a senior with a microscopic 0.49 earned run average. In 113 1/3 innings of work, she allowed just eight earned runs with 14 walks and 100 strikeouts. She also batted .310 with 16 runs scored and 20 run batted in. For her efforts, she was named to the NCC and All-District First Team as well as being a First Team All-Ohioan.
For her career, Rachel compiled an outstanding 37-9 record with a 0.63 ERA. In 320 innings of work, she struck out 313 batters and issued just 49 walks. In addition to her senior season honors, she was selected to the NCC First Team and the All-District Second Team as a junior. She also pitched all 19 innings of a victory over top-ranked Archibald High School in the regional tournament as a junior.
"There were several reasons why I chose to attend MVNC," said Rachel of her college choice. "I really liked the campus when I visited, and I like Coach Howald. I have also heard that MVNC has a great education program and that is my intended major."
Pinion, an infielder/outfielder from Bucyrus, Ohio, recorded a .378 batting average as a senior with 34 hits in 90 at bats. She led the team with eight doubles and 28 RBI, and she also registered 27 runs scored and 13 stolen bases. For her efforts, she was named to the NCC and All-District First Team.
For her career, Pinion posted a .374 batting average with 101 hits in 270 at bats. She also recorded 80 runs scored, 18 doubles, 77 RBI, and was 27-for-29 in stolen base attempts. She was a three-time All-Conference selection and a two-time All-District First Team choice.
"Several factors influenced my decision to attend MVNC," said Pinion, who may major in business. "I thought that the campus was beautiful when I visited. I really like Coach Howald, and all the staff at MVNC was very friendly."
The Lady Cougars are coming of a 20-18 season in which they posted a 12-11 record in the highly competitive American Mideast Conference. MVNC will be losing 10 of the 16 players from this year's team due to various reasons ranging from graduation, getting married, attending nursing school, and student teaching. However, with two top-notch recruits like Rachel and Pinion, the future looks bright for the Lady Cougars.