December 19, 2003 - by
Seminole Softball Signs Four Players For 2005 Season

Dec. 19, 2003

Tallahassee, FL –
The nine-time ACC champion Florida State Seminoles have added another stellar class for the 2005 season. Head coach Dr. JoAnne Graf announced the four-member class upon receipt of all four National Letters of Intent. Whitney Buckmon, Tiffany McDonald, Brittany Osmon and Melissa Wood are expected to enroll at FSU in the fall of 2004. This class will be asked to help fill the shoes of two departing All-Americans in Elisa Vasquez and Jessica van der Linden who are in their final seasons.

“The group that is leaving (after this season) has obviously been a big key to our success the past four years,” said Graf. “Those two kids (Vasquez and van der Linden) have helped win a lot of ballgames for Florida State and have really been impact players. This class coming in though is very talented and I am really excited about them. I expect all four to get a lot of playing time immediately and really contribute right away.”

The 2002 Gatorade Player of the Year nominee in Georgia, Buckmon is coming off a monster senior season at Chamblee Charter High School where she has served as team captain the last two years. This past fall she hit .577, stole 32 bases, scored 44 runs and struck out just five times in 97 at bats leading off for the Bulldogs. She knocked in 18 runs and recorded 71 hits including seven doubles and three homers her senior year. She is a two-time offensive player of the year and was named All-State first team this past fall. She was also named to the 2003 Seniors All Stars Team and 2003 AAAA Sectional Team. Buckmon is a two-time All DeKalb/Rockdale Team selection and her Bulldogs were 5AAA Area Champions in 2001.

Whitney Buckmon

As a member of Georgia Elite Gold, Buckmon and her teammates were Camfast State Champions in 2003 and placed second at King of the Mountain. They were ASA Sector I 18 & Under Gold Qualifier champions and placed second at the Rush for the Gold Elite Tournament in Garden Grove, CA. Placed first at the Rising Star Showcase in Ft. Lauderdale, FL and at ASA Gold Qualifier in 2002. Also a member of the 2002 Camfast ASA State Champions and Seventh Annual Legacy champions. While a member of the Brownsmill Lady Jackets in 2001, Buckmon won the Rockdale Shootout and Georgia USSSA Spring Fling. Her team was runner-up at the NSA State Tournament and ISA Spring Fling.

“Whitney Buckmon is an outstanding ballplayer and probably the best natural athlete out of this class,” said Graf. “She’ll tryout to gain a spot in the infield but will possibly see some playing time in the outfield as well. She has very good speed and will be one of the fastest players we have had at Florida State. She brings good power, can drop the drag bunt and can steal a lot of bases. She will be in the mode of a Serita Brooks, Shamalene Wilson and Danielle Cox who were all All-American players for us.”

McDonald is coming off a junior season where she went 29-2 and was named 2A/3A Nisqually League Most Valuable Player. The right-hander, who pitched 165 innings for North Mason High School as they won the district championship and finished third at state, struck out 294 batters, threw 11 no-hitters issued just 17 walks and had a miniscule ERA of just 0.30. After posting a 12-2 record for NMHS as a freshman and being named first team all-league, McDonald missed her sophomore season due to injury but has come back as one of Washington’s most dominant pitchers. She has six pitches including a fastball in the upper 60’s and a change-up that she added last year. Her combination of power and movement resulted in her being named Bremerton Sun Female Prep Athlete of the Year, Seattle Times All-State, Tacoma News & Tribune First Team All-Area and player of the week and NMHS’s Wendy’s Heismann Trophy Recepient. McDonald was also first team Pierce County League and an All-Star team pitcher at NMHS.

Tiffany McDonald

A member of the 18U Washington Heat that finished third at ASA state, McDonald went 6-2 at the Aurora Fireworks Tournament and her team was crowned Pacific Northwest Champions in 2003. In 2002, participated in USSSA Nationals and finished third at ASA Gold Vancouver Tournament.

“Tiffany McDonald will come in as a versatile utility player and take over in the role as our number two pitcher,” said Graf. “She will come in and get a lot of experience immediately. We expect Tiffany to get a lot of playing time since she can also play outfield, hit and even play first base.”

Osmon is an excellent left handed first baseman who made the Varsity team at Mt. Carmel as a starting freshman catcher and led the Sundevils to the Palomar League Championship with solid offense and defense. Brittany is a two time ASA Class A Nationals Champion both in the 12U and 14U divisions. She is a four-year starter for the Sundevils and is expected to fill in for Beth Wade at first base upon her graduation. Osmon was a 2003 Coca Cola Gold Glove winner and was awarded the 2003 Sundevil Standout Award.

Osmon has been a member of the Renegades Gold team for three years now. She attended Gold Nationals with the team in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma in 2002 and in Salem, Oregon in 2003. Her two-year team batting average is .375 and she led the team in doubles. Her RBI total in that span ranks as the third-best on the squad. Osmon is an accomplished fielder as well and led the team with fielding percentages of 98% last year and 96% the year before.

“Brittany Osmon is a young lady we expect to play first base,” said Graf. “Beth Wade, who is graduating, has been our starter at first for several years. Brittany is a good left-handed hitter and she brings a little more speed to that position. She is very strong defensively and we expect her to do a great job.”

Wood is a three-time GACA All-State selection at Parkview High School in Georgia. The catcher, who completed her high school career this past fall, hit .435, slugged .710 and posted an on base percentage of .728 as a senior. In 125 at bats she was walked an astounding 54 times and she also had 20 RBIs and four homeruns. Defensively, she threw out 11 of 14 would-be base stealers. The three-time Gwinnett All-County first team selection has been named Gwinnett Player of the Month twice in the last two years and she was named a GACA North All-Star selection as a senior. This past season she was honored with Parkview’s Offensive Award.

Melissa Wood

As a member of the Atlanta Vipers Gold, Wood had a huge summer at the plate. In 248 at bats, she hit .345, slugged .402, smashed 19 doubles and nine homeruns while driving in 56 runs. She was named to the ISF Canada Cup All-Star team as a catcher after her team placed fourth overall and she was also selected a second team ASA Gold Nationals All-American following the Vipers’ fifth place finish.

“Melissa Wood will step in at the catcher position and help us replace E (Elisa Vasquez),” said Graf. “She has great power, can really hit the long ball and is a big homerun threat. She has a really strong arm and is a great competitor. She does not like to lose and will bring a lot to the table in that respect.”

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