Colby Wittman (St. Joseph) and Michelle Tononi (Clinton Township/L'Anse Creuse) (pronounced Ta-no-nee) are the latest new additions to the Ferris State University softball program as the two in-state prep recruits have signed a national letter-of-intent to play for the Bulldogs starting in the 2011-12 season. The announcement was made by FSU softball head coach Keri Becker.
Wittman, who will begin her fourth and final year as the starting catcher for St. Joseph (Mich.) High School under head coach Jeff Luckritz, was a member of the state's top-ranked team in Division III this past 2010 campaign. The 5-9 backstop registered a .340 batting average as a starter in all 34 contests a season ago with 34 base hits in 100 official plate appearances for the Lady Bears, who posted a 28-6 overall record. A right-handed batter, Wittman tallied seven doubles, one home run, 16 RBI's, 28 runs scored, a .440 slugging percentage, a .416 on-base percentage, and a .989 fielding percentage.
Wittman has played for the Great Lakes Lightning Club Travel Team under head coach Tony Hamann the last two summers at the catcher position.
"She's the general of our field," stated Luckritz. "She has done a great deal motivating our players."
Wittman has been a four-year member of both the school's Key Club and Spanish Club. She also spent one year on the school newspaper staff and was selected as the state of Michigan's 2010 National Council of Teacher of English Writing Award winner.
"Colby has displayed an exceptional potential to be a great mainstay behind the plate," said Becker, who will be entering her 14th year this spring directing the Bulldogs' softball program. "She defends well, is confident in calling her own game, and will provide additional power to the hitting order."
The daughter of Mike and Susan Wittman of St. Joseph, Mich., Colby will graduate in 2011 and will study communications at Ferris State. Her father was inducted into the University of Miami (Fla.) Athletics Hall of Fame for basketball and was drafted by the National Basketball Association's (NBA) St. Louis (Mo.) Hawks in 1967. Colby's older sister, Alex, will be a freshman on the 2011 Ferris State softball team.
A utility player, Tononi was the 2010 All-Macomb Athletic Gold Conference's (MAC) Most Valuable Player as a junior at L'Anse Creuse High School in Harrison Township, Mich. The 2010 team captain attained All-MAC Gold and All-Macomb County accolades along with receiving all-district and all-regional laurels this past season. Tononi batted a squad-leading .469 average with 38 base hits in 81 at bats for head coach Lisa Downey's team while driving in a team-best 26 runs and scoring 18 more. The two-time (2009 and 2010) team Most Valuable Player Award winner also amassed a team-high five home runs, 11 doubles, and four triples while generating an .888 slugging percentage and a .500 on-base percentage en route to helping the Lancers claim the MAC Gold Conference Division Championship in 2010.
Tononi garnered All-MAC Gold Honorable Mention honors and was the 2009 team's Most Valuable Offensive Player in her sophomore season after she batted .476 with 20 hits in 42 official plate appearances. Tononi, a three-time (2008-10) MAC Gold Conference All-Academic Team member, also produced five doubles, one triple, one home run, 12 RBI's, seven runs scored, a .750 slugging percentage, and a .550 on-base percentage for the 2009 campaign. As a freshman in 2008, the 5-3 right-handed hitter batted .376 (44-117) with 21 RBIs and 19 runs scored. Tononi would conclude her first varsity season (2008) by being named to the honorable mention squads for the MAC Gold Conference and Macomb County.
A two-year (2010-11) National Technical Honor Society member, Tononi has competed in travel club softball for head coach Jeff Damore's Vengeance Fastpitch team since its inception in 2007.
"There isn't anything Michelle can't do on a softball field," said Becker, who's the program's all-time winningest coach. "She is an exciting player to watch defensively and she will hit the ball a ton!"
The daughter of Steven and Denise Tononi of Clinton Township, Mich., Michelle will graduate in 2011.
Wittman and Tononi join utility player Allison "Ali" Amodeo (Crown Point, Ind.) and outfielder Symone Millett (Ypsilanti/Belleville) as current Bulldog softball program early signees.
"This recruiting class will be a great compliment to our already young and talented squad," said Becker. "We have increased our speed and depth in many positions giving me options to put together a great starting line up."
Ferris State posted a 26-16 overall record for the 2010 season, which included a 17-9 mark in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC).