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App State Softball Adds Four Transfers to Program

App State softball has finalized the 2023-24 roster with the addition of four transfer student-athletes, head coach Shelly Hoerner announced Friday.

“We are excited to add these four individuals to our App State softball family,” Hoerner said. “They all are proven winners and will bring a competitive mindset to our program. Their collegiate softball experience will continue to elevate what we are building here in Boone, immediately. With our returnees and incoming freshmen, these four will be a great addition. As we went through the recruiting process with them, we quickly found out that their values, on and off the field, align with what we believe in for our program.”

Olivia Cook
Junior Infielder / South Carolina / Sharpsburg, Ga. / East Coweta High School
Cook spent the first two years of her collegiate career at South Carolina, where she made 41 appearances and scored 15 runs as a pinch runner with three stolen bases. She capped off her sophomore season with a run after a stolen base to help the Gamecocks earn their second of three wins in the NCAA regionals. She also started one game at third base during her freshman year.

In the 2023 Florida Gulf Coast League, Cook led all players in RBI throughout the summer and finished second in the league in doubles.

Prior to joining the collegiate ranks, Cook shined at East Coweta High School in Sharpsburg, Ga., lettering all four years on her way to being selected to the All-Region Team in 2019 and an honorable mention in 2018. She helped lead East Coweta to three state championships. Cook was an FCA Leader in 2019 and 2020, and attended the Chick Fil A Leadership Academy in 2018. She ranked as the 49th-best infielder in the class of 2021 by Extra Inning Softball.

“Olivia has been around some of the best softball in the country the past two years and has made an impact in the FGCL this summer,” Hoerner said. “Offensively, she produced an abundance in Florida and we look for that to continue adding more power to our lineup. Her experience in the infield will elevate our program, whether it’s behind the plate, or on the corners.”

Peyton Darnell
Graduate Catcher / USC Upstate / Fort Mill, S.C. / Indian Land High School
The 2022 Big South Player of the Year is coming to the High Country after playing at USC Upstate for four years. Darnell has racked up a plethora of honors, including, 3x Big South All-Conference First Team, 4x Big South Player of the Week, 2022 2x NFCA Top Performer, 2022 NFCA DI Southeast All-Region Third Team, 2021 Big South All-Tournament Team, 2021 Big South All-Freshman Team, and was a 4x Big South Freshman of the Week.

Darnell helped the Spartans to a winning record in all of the last four years while also going three games deep into the Big South tournament in every season except for 2020, when the season was cut short due to Covid-19.

“Peyton had a terrific career and was one of the best to have played at USC Upstate,” Hoerner said. “We feel blessed that she chose App State and Boone to play her fifth year. She will make an immediate impact with her big bat and leadership skills behind the plate. I remember watching her years ago, and her fierce competitiveness was one of the things I loved about her.”

Neveah Hildebrandt
Junior Outfielder / Kirkwood Community College / Sabula, Iowa / Northeast High School
In her freshman season at Kirkwood, Hildebrandt helped lead the Eagles to a third place finish in the NJCAA DII World Series after recording 44 runs and 44 hits in 43 appearances. With a .328 batting average, she registered 10 home runs and 35 RBI while stealing 19 bases.

In her sophomore year, Hildebrandt improved across the board, tallying 60 runs, 58 hits, 12 home runs, 11 doubles, three triples and 43 RBI. She also doubled her stolen base count to 38 while batting .307 in 62 games played. Kirkwood finished the 2023 season with a top-8 placement in the NJCAA DII World Series.

“Neveah will bring immediate speed to our team and will cover a lot of ground in the outfield,” Hoerner said. “Her blue-collar work ethic and softball IQ make her a complete player, both at the plate and in the outfield. She can hit for average and for power, which will blend in nicely with our lineup.”

Killian Roberts
Junior Infielder / Volunteer State / Murfreesboro, Tenn. / Blackman High School
Roberts started 51 games for the Pioneers during the 2023 season, totaling 70 hits, 66 runs, 21 home runs, 11 doubles and two triples. She also amassed 72 RBI, 33 walks and stole 13 bases. Roberts batted .427 with a slugging percentage of .902, earning a spot on the all-conference team.

Prior to her time at Volunteer State, Roberts spent her freshman year at Belmont. In high school, she received the 7-AAA All-District Award, was named to the AAA All-State Middle Tennessee Team, and was a member of the TNSCA All-Star Team.

“A true utility with a powerful bat,” Hoerner said. “Killian will be a great addition to our program. She comes from a winning program where her success at the plate stood out this season. We look forward to her bringing that confidence she plays with daily to the mountains.”