PROVO -- Five softball standouts have signed letters of intent to play for BYU. Lauren Watson, Marie Western, Milli Jones, Katie Barnes and Aaron Layns, will be part of the Cougar program next year.
"We are excited about the quality of the kids coming in and expect them to contribute immediately," said BYU coach Mary Kay Amicone.
Watson, from Castaic, Calif., was a four-year starter at Valencia High School where she earned first team All-Foothill League honors in each of her four years, while compiling a .424 batting average. She was a first team All-American at the 2000 18-Under Gold Nationals. She was a member of the American Softball Association's Valley Breeze Gold team that finished fourth at the 2000 Gold Nationals.
Western was the 1998 Freshman Player of the Year at Buchanan High School in Clovis, Calif. She was on the 1999 first team All-League squad and was first team All-Valley. She was the offensive MVP and a member of the Firecracker Gold Team.
"Lauren and Marie are not only good defensively, but also offensively. We tried hard to recruit offensive talent," Amicone said. "They (Watson and Western) have played at a high level of softball and that will really help us."
Jones, from Draper, Utah, was a 5A second team All-State selection at Alta High School with a .328 batting average during her high school career. She also played with the four-time ASA State Champion Utah Bullets. She is a two-time ASA Regional Champion and has played in four ASA national tournaments.
Barnes, a native of Riverton, Utah, was a two-time All-Region player at Riverton High School where she had a .96 ERA. She plays ASA for the Utah Bullets and has been on the honor roll all four years with a 3.9 GPA.
Layns, from Redondo Beach, Calif., was the 1998 Freshman of the Year at Mira Costa High School and was a second team All-League selection. She is also a three-year scholar athlete.
"All these girls are extremely athletic," Amicone said. "We will lose a lot of leadership after this season and we need this group of girls to come in and help lead the team."