UO Welcomes Stellar Softball Signee Class

EUGENE – University of Oregon softball head coach Kathy Arendsen proudly announced one of her top recruiting classes on Tuesday in the first week of the fall signing period.

The sixth-year Duck mentor welcomes four incoming freshmen, including two of the top Pacific Northwest's pitching prospects and Gatorade Players of the Year – Sam Skillingstad (Spokane, Wash.) and Mikayla Endicott (Roseburg, Ore.) – along with the talented pair of twins Kelsey and Lindsey Chambers (Concord, Calif.).

"All four are excellent students and great additions to our team, the athletic department and campus," Arendsen said. "All four have been excited about becoming Ducks for a long time, and they fit into our program amazingly well."

Kelsey Chambers, Clayton Valley High School, Concord, Calif.
In 2007, Chambers was a first-team All-Bay Valley Athletic League (BVAL) pick and hit .388 with a .738 slugging percentage to go along with 30 RBI and 27 runs scored. In her career, she was a three-time All-BVAL selection, and earned a spot on the All-Metro First Team in 2007, and was a second-team choice in '06. Among team honors, she was picked as the team's Best Offensive Player in '07, Best Defensive Player Award in '06 and MVP in '05. Other Contra Costa Times newspaper honors last season included Athlete of the Week, All-Time Capsule and a spot among the Top 100 Prep Athletes of the Year.

Lindsey Chambers, Clayton Valley High School, Concord, Calif.
The two-time All-BVAL choice Chambers was an All-Metro First Team choice in 2006 and second team pick in '07. Among team awards, she was the team's Best Defensive Player in 2007, Best Offensive Player in '06 and the Coaches Award winner in '05. In March, she was a Comcast Player of the Game selection, and as a sophomore, the Contra Costa Times picked her as an Athlete of the Week and All-Times Capsule. Lindsey and her twin sister Kelsey owned 3.5 GPA's and also starred on the basketball team.

"The twins are ultimate team players who are great athletes and incredibly hard workers," Arendsen said. "They're native Oregonians that moved to California and have dreamed of coming back to play here. Their versatility means they can play almost anywhere and are equally willing for the sake of the team. Lindsey would be someone we could look at for replacing for Joanna Gail at third base, and Kelsey could play second base or the outfield, or potentially the left side, too. They run well, and hit with surprising power. They're from a great family, and from well-known, respected programs, including the Sorcerers club from Northern California."

Mikayla Endicott, Roseburg High School, Roseburg, Ore.
In 2007, the 6A state and Gatorade Oregon Softball Player of the Year Endicott went 22-2 with a 0.26 ERA for Roseburg which advanced to the state quarterfinals. The 5-8 pitcher struck out 306 batters and walked just 20 in 162.1 innings as a junior. She is a two-time Pitcher of the Year in the Southwest Conference.

"Our goal is to keep the best players from Oregon in-state, so having a Gatorade Player of the Year like Mikayla on our team is important," Arendsen said. "She throws hard and has great location and is a great worker. She comes from excellent high school and club programs, not to mention a great family who we're proud to have join our Duck softball family."

Sam Skillingstad, Shadle Park High School, Spokane, Wash.
Last year, the state MVP and Gatorade Player of the Year Skillingstad compiled a 28-1 pitching record with a 0.24 ERA and also hit .433 with 33 RBI. She was a 2007 EA Sports First Team All-American as a utility player, and was a first-team all-region pick last season and the team and league MVP. Last year she pitched seven shutouts in the postseason for the Washington 4A state champions that also finished No. 11 in the Fab 50 national rankings. As a sophomore in 2006, the first-team all-state pitcher went 19-0 in league play with a 0.18 ERA, and in her 115 innings, she struck out 285 and posted 19 shutouts.

"Sam was a premier pitcher in the Northwest last fall as a Gatorade State Player of the Year and recruited by all of the top area collegiate programs," Arendsen said. "She has a great riseball which you don't see in a lot of high school pitchers. She's a mature and poised competitor and will make a difference for us. Her high school team was a state champion and one of the best in the country, and her club was one of the top teams in the Northwest. We're excited to coach such a motivated student and athlete."

The Oregon program looks ahead to its fifth season under Arendsen, and opens the 2008 spring campaign at the Cathedral Kickoff on Friday, February 8 vs. Colorado State and Mississippi State – the latter of which was her last coaching stop.

In 2007, the Ducks enjoyed their fourth postseason trip in Arendsen's first five years as the UO head coach and 10th in program history. The Ducks racked up a record 44 victories thanks to a program-record 24-3 start that included an 18-game winning streak.

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