STARKVILLE, Miss. – Following the announcement of Holly Ward on Wednesday afternoon, Mississippi State softball head coach Vann Stuedeman announced the signing of California prep star Claire Stucker Thursday morning. Stucker is a three-year starter for Bullard High School in Fresno, Calif., and broke the school’s home run record as a sophomore.
“People ask what position Claire plays and I say, 'Hitter,'” Stuedeman said. “She is a pure hitter with a good head on her shoulders. They committed in the most unique way, which I think her dad was behind. During the fall of her junior year in high school, she sent me a birthday cake that said, ‘Have a Vanntastic birthday, from your 2014 commitment.’ It was really a unique way to commit.”
Stucker enters her senior season ranking second on the program charts in career walks (47) and stands third in career doubles (30), runs batted in (102) and batting average (.440). She was a first-team all-league selection as a freshman and sophomore and earned The Fresno Bee Outstanding Hitter of the Year accolades as a junior. She also was placed on the MaxPreps 2013 California Large Schools All-State Softball Team and Cal-Hi Sports All-State Softball Underclass First Team after her standout junior year.
In 2013, Stucker guided the Knights to a 26-8 record, the County/Metro Athletic Conference (CMAC) title and a trip to the Central Section Division I final, when she was the CMAC co-MVP. During the campaign, she hit .528 with a program single-season record nine home runs and contributed 11 doubles, two triples, 23 runs and 41 RBI with a .653 on-base percentage.
“She’s just a flat-out hitter,” MSU assistant coach Beth Mullins added. “I've never watched her play when she hasn’t crushed the ball.”
As a sophomore, she was named to The Fresno Bee All-Area Team after batting .412 with eight doubles and eight home runs. Stucker also chipped in with a 16-8 pitching record with a 1.29 earned-run average and 119 strikeouts in 152.1 innings.
Stucker played summer travel softball with the So Cal Athletics and head coach Mike Smith. In the summer of 2011, the squad finished ninth at the ASA 18 Gold nationals. One year later, the program placed third at the ASA 18 Gold nationals and also claimed the Brenda Marsh Memorial Tournament championship for the third consecutive campaign.
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