Southern Softball signs three for 2013-14

Joplin, Mo. - Missouri Southern softball head coach Bill Gray has announced the signings of three players for the 2013-14 season. The Lions welcome the additions of Jessica Castoe (Glenpool, Okla.), Dana Graves (Humansville, Mo.) and Myranda Stewart (Owasso, Okla.).

"All three of these young women bring something special to the program. Depth, speed and power all aspects that every softball team needs", said Gray.

A 2013 graduate of Glenpool High School, Castoe comes to Southern after being a four-year starter at centerfield/ shortstop at GHS, winning the district championship three times in 2009, 2010 and 2011. This past fall, Castoe was a 2012 Class 4A Oklahoma All-State nominee. A two-time All-Conference selection in 2010 and 2011, Castoe was named Honorable mention All-Metro in 2011 where the Warriors finished the year as regional runner-up.  A four-year letterwinner in softball, Castoe was a member of ESPN RISE magazine in 2009. Castoe also played three years of club softball for Tuff E Nuff and coach Tim Stone and Tulsa Shootout Gold coached by Tim Burton.

In addition to softball, Castoe also lettered in four other sports at Glenpool becoming the only female in Glenpool High School history to letter in five sports. Castoe lettered two years in basketball for coach Tony Blades playing as a freshman and senior. She also lettered two years in soccer as a junior and senior for coach Jason Nussbaum reaching the second round of the playoffs in 2012. A two-year letterwinner in track as a freshman and senior, Castoe went to state as a part of the 4x100m, 4x200m and 4x400m relays a freshman in 2010. Finally, Castoe lettered one year in cross country as a freshman in 2010 reaching the State Championships.

"Jessica has got speed that will help us put pressure on our opponents on the base paths. She is an outfielder that can play in the middle infield. It will be fun to see her on the base next year." said Gray.

Jessica is the daughter of John and Tammy Killer and plans on majoring in kinesiology at Southern.

A native Missourian, Dana Graves comes to Southern from Weaubleau High School where she was a four-year starter at catcher for the Tigers. An All-Conference, All-District, All-Region and All-State selection in each of her four years, Graves holds the school record for career home runs with 26, while allowing only 4 stolen bases in her career.  A three-time Homerun/ Team Power Award selection and two-time Offensive Player of the Year, Graves was named the Conference Most Valuable Player of the Year this fall. In addition, Graves was named All-Region MVP in 2011 and the District MVP in 2011 and 2012. Collecting 128 career RBI's, Graves finished with a career slugging percentage of .891.

"Dana not only adds depth at the catcher position she can hit for average and has power in her swing. With her high school playoff experience she will also add experience as a winner and that is always important," Gray said.

Dana is the daughter of Johnny and Shelly Graves and plans to major in criminal justice at Southern.

A four-year starter at shortshop at Owasso High School in Owasso, Okla., Stewart comes to Southern after helping lead the Rams to the 2012 Oklahoma Class 6 Softball State Tournament, where the Rams fell 2-0 to eventual state champion Edmond North in the quarterfinals. Playing for coach Shane Eicher, Stewart was a first-team All-District selection this fall, while being a three-time all-conference selection in 2009, 2010 and 2011.  In addition to high school softball, Stewart also played club softball for the Tulsa Eagles.

"Myranda is a player. She is a leader on the field and in the dugout. When she is at the plate she has a presence, and when she swings you have to pay attention. She rarely gets fooled at the plate and she makes pitchers pay if they make a mistake," Gray said.

Myranda is the daughter of Debbie Stewart and is undecided on her major at Southern.

"They all have been coached at the highest level in high school and travel ball, we are getting students of the game and quality people as well," said Gray.