Two former Marshalltown Community College softball infielders: Courtney Fudge (Pleasant Hill, IA/ Des Moines East) and Lexie Valentine (Des Moines, IA/Saydel) have signed a National Letter of Intent to join the Bethany University Swedes for the 2018 season.
Bethany University, a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) posted a 20-31 record in 2017 under the guidance of Head Coach Laura Moreno.
A pair of excellent infielders, both were named to the ICCAC All-Region Team in 2017, with Fudge on the 1st team and Valentine on the 2nd team respectively. The duo who comprised the left side of the infield for the Tigers, led the team to its best record since 2014.
Fudge started every game at shortstop for the Tigers, and was second only to All-American Shaena Robinson, in batting average (.394), on base percentage (.481), slugging percentage (.628), hits (54) and runs (44). She led the team in stolen bases (9), doubles (18) and walks (19) in the leadoff position.
"We are very happy for Courtney Fudge to have chosen Bethany College and our Swedes Softball program," said Bethany head coach Laura Moreno. "Courtney has had proven success at the collegiate level after two very solid years at Marshalltown Community College. We are excited for the leadership and guidance she can bring to our program. We think Courtney makes consistently good contact offensively, and has some pop off her bat. Defensively, we feel Courtney is very agile, adaptable, and has good range. In our interactions with her, Courtney has shown both high focus and dedication to her sport and education."
Valentine appeared in 41 of 42 games at the hot corner for the Tigers. She posted a .371 batting average in 105 at bats. She also tallied 6 doubles, 2 triples, and 4 round trippers while batting in the number 5 slot for the majority of the season. Defensively, she was challenged 145 times while only making 10 errors for a .931 fielding percentage at the challenging third base position.
"We are thrilled to have Lexie Valentine join Bethany College and Swedes Softball!" said Moreno. "Lexie had a very good sophomore year at Marshalltown Community College. She moves extremely well at third base. We really like her aggressiveness, and her ability to both move laterally as well as dive for balls. Offensively, Lexie displayed quality pitch selection and has the ability to make good, consistent contact in the box. We think Lexie can bring some leadership and experience to our young squad with the commitment and priority she puts towards both school and softball, which will greatly benefit our program."
"Fudge is the player I built the team around when I was hired at MCC," MCC head coach Garland Shirley stated. "I knew she had the grit, poise and toughness to develop around. Lexie quickly developed into an incredible leaders and defensive minded player that solidified our team.
Together they made the left side of our infield as tough as any I've seen. I can't wait to see what they will do together at Bethany."