Dustin Combs plans on signing seven players who will have an immediate impact on his William Jewell College softball team.
Miami's Emily Cline was one of the seven, inking an NAIA letter of intent with the Liberty, Mo., school Friday morning.
“I am very happy to get Emily,” said Combs, a 1993 graduate of Commerce High School who played baseball at Northeastern A&M. “I'm bringing in seven kids who I think can help us immediately. They can play at high level right away. Emily is one of those players.”
“They are good at softball and academics, too,” said Cline, who wants to become a doctor. “They treated me real well. What is nice is my parents can still come and watch me play.”
Cline batted. .284 while stealing 20 bases as a senior.
She started three years in the outfield and moved into the infield to take over at shortstop as a senior.
Cline was named to the all-Verdigris Valley and all-Region 3 teams.
She's also a starter on the MHS girls' basketball team.
Cline was among three players Combs signed Friday during a big sweep through the area.
He also got the signatures of Carl Junction, Mo., pitcher Amanda Storm and Taylor Brown, an all-state third baseman from Broken Arrow.
“I tell a lot of these girls that I have seen play in the past that I didn't like playing them when I was at the high school level - that's why I am getting them now,” Combs said. “Emily is capable of doing really great things.”
Combs is starting his second season at William Jewell after seven seasons as head coach at Springfield Glendale High School.
While at Glendale, he regularly brought his teams to the Miami Invitational Tournament. That's how he saw Cline.
“She is coming from a great program,” Combs said. “Her athleticism gives her an opportunity to help us in a lot of ways. I like her speed. I think I can put her in the infield or outfield and it will give us a chance to be successful.”
“She has a lot of speed and great work ethic,” Miami coach Chris Mercer said. “You can't ask for anything more as a player or a person. She started 4 years on some really good teams. Any time you can come in and start as a freshman, that says a lot right there.”
The Cardinals finished fourth in the Heart of America Conference post-season tournament while finishing with a 26-24 record last spring.