JONES NAMED SLC PLAYER AND HITTER OF THE YEAR, HEDRICK COACH OF THE YEAR AND FORTENBERRY FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
May 8, 2007
FRISCO, Texas - Junior Katie Jones was named 2007 Southland Conference Player of the Year and Hitter of the Year today, as the Southland Conference announced its 2007 All-Southland Conference Softball Awards and Teams.
Jones, who hit .442 with 13 home runs, 65 hits and 34 RBI during the regular-season, is UT Arlington's first Player of the Year and the school's second Hitter of the Year, joining Brenda Woodard in 1985.
Texas State's Ragan Blake won Pitcher of the Year, after posting a 23-13 record, 1.64 ERA and a league-best 10 shutouts, as the school won the honor for the second-straight year. Blake also claimed Newcomer of the Year honors, after transferring from Mississippi State, becoming the second Bobcat to win the honor, joining Ryan Stukel in 2003.
Utility Player of the Year went to McNeese State's Jenny Clay, as she becomes the first Cowgirl to win the honor. Clay hit .322 this season with 33 RBI.
Freshman of the Year honors went to UTA's Heather Fortenberry, as she becomes the second Maverick to win the honor, joining Katy Cox in 2001. Fortenberry hit .303 and also posted a 13-3 record and 2.31 ERA in the circle this season.
Coach of the Year honors went to Mav's Head Coach Debbie Hedrick, who wins her second honor, first earning the award in 2003. Hedrick led the Mavericks to a 34-14 overall record and 19-5 league mark this year, as the school won its third-regular season title, earning the No. 1 seed in the SLC Softball Tournament, which begins Thursday.
Overall, Sam Houston State placed a league-high seven players on All-SLC teams, while UTA and Nicholls State each placed six. McNeese State placed five, while UTSA and Southeastern Louisiana each had three. Northwestern State had two All-SLC selections, while Texas State had one.
Joining Jones on the first-team is teammate and first baseman Dee Jay Nelson, who hit .373 with 12 home runs and 40 RBI.
UTSA third baseman Jessica Rogers, who led the league with 17 home runs, 65 hits and 49 RBI, earned her fourth career first-team selection, as she earned first-team honors in 2003, 2004 and 2005, while teammate and outfielder Leanne Risberg, who hit .310 with 15 home runs and 40 RBI earns her first career-honor.
Nicholls State shortstop Kat Harrell, who led the league with a .474 batting average, is the only player to repeat as a first-team selection this season, while teammate and outfielder Kodi Butler also earns first-team honors, after hitting .321 during the regular-season.
Two Sam Houston State players, catcher Casie Everitt and designated player Mandy Collier also earned their first-career All-SLC first-team honors, as does McNeese State first baseman Brooke Broadhead. Collier hit a team-best .340 with 35 RBI, while Everitt hit .338. Broadhead led the league with 44 runs scored and hit .368.
Blake and Southeastern Louisiana's Rachel Ray were the two pitchers on the first-team. Blake led the league with a 1.64 ERA, 23 wins and a .191 opposing batting average, while Ray placed second in the league in ERA (2.02) and wins (21).
Five Bearkats earned second-team honors, including shortstop Tanya Hooser, outfielders Stephanie Mosley and Lauren Burns and pitchers Brandi Crnkovic and Morgan Mikulin.
Two Nicholls State players, first baseman Amy Thibodeaux and third baseman Leah Peterson and two McNeese State players, catcher Jenny Clay and designated player Rachel King, also garnered second-team honors.
Southeastern Louisiana second baseman Arica Rodriguez and Maverick outfielder Kristin Moore rounded out the second-team.
On the third-team, the Mavs placed three players, including outfielder April Clougherty, pitcher Laura Jones and shortstop Amanda Swofford. Two Northwestern State players also made the squad, first baseman Amanda Jameson and designated player Amanda Glenn. Nicholls State also placed two players on the third-team, second baseman Danielle Clayton and catcher Jacqueline Pacheco. McNeese State outfielder Meghan Beard and pitcher Jana Jones also made third-team, while UTSA outfielder Rudi Cantu and Southeastern Louisiana third baseman Heather Sherrill, who led the league with 17 doubles, rounded out the team.
The SLC Softball Tournament begins Thursday, as the Mavericks look to win their first league title since 2003. UTA will face No. 6 seed Nicholls State in the opening game of the tournament. No. 2 seed and tournament host Sam Houston State opens against No. 5 seed McNeese State in game two, while No. 3 seed Texas State meets No. 4 seed UTSA, the defending tournament champions in game three. The losers of game one and two will meet in game four, in the first elimination game of the tournament.