Softball sweeps individual awards; 6 earn All-SSC honors

Softball sweeps individual awards; 6 earn All-SSC honors

SAINT LEO, Fla. – For the fifth time in Sunshine State Conference history, a team has swept the individual awards (Player of the Year, Pitcher of the Year, Freshman of the Year and Coach of the Year), as the 2017 SSC champion Saint Leo Lions took all four awards announced by the conference office on Tuesday, May 9.

Freshman Kacie Kelly (Jacksonville, Fla.) was named Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year while senior Stephanie Adkins (Orlando, Fla.) was named Pitcher of the Year, for the second consecutive year. Following suit, Erin Kinberger won her second Coach of the Year in a row after guiding her team to back-to-back SSC title with a 17-7 record. The Lions finished with a 37-13 record heading into the postseason. 

Kinberger has guided her Lions to the postseason for the second straight season while this time they made history by receiving the No. 2 seed in the South Region and selected to host the NCAA Division II South Region 2 over May 11-13.

Saint Leo placed four on the All-SSC First Team in Kacie Kelly (second base), Ciera Schumaker (third base), Rachael Heath (outfield), and Stephanie Adkins (pitcher). With four on the first and two on the second team, Saint Leo led in the total number of athletes on the All-SSC teams.

Kacie Kelly, a freshman from Jacksonville, Florida, has been named SSC Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year. Kelly led the SSC in Batting Average (.445), On-Base Percentage (.505) and Hits (77). The infielder was also top 10 in Slugging Percentage (.523), Runs Batted In (34), Doubles (13), and At Bats (173).

Kelly is the fifth Lion – Brooke Samios-Uy (2016), Amber Martyn (2009), Denyve Duncan (2002) and Ashley Hutchison (1995) – to be named SSC Player of the Year and the third to be named Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year during their career. Kelly joins Kristen Frame of Rollins College as the only SSC athletes to be named Freshman of the Year and Player or Pitcher of the Year in the same season.

Adkins, who was the first Lion to be named Pitcher of the Year in 2016, repeats as Pitcher of the Year after posting a 21-7 record for Saint Leo in 33 appearances. The senior from Orlando, Florida led the conference in Earned Run Average (1.47), Strike Outs (163), and Wins. She was second in Opposing Batting Average (.215), Saves (2), and Strike Outs Looking (38). Adkins becomes the seventh athlete to earn Pitcher of the Year twice, the first from Saint Leo.

The first team accolades are the first for Kacie Kelly and Ciera Schumaker. Schumaker adds first team honors to her 2016 second team honors. Rachael Heath is now a two-time first team honoree and a three-time All-SSC honoree, with second team honors in 2014 at third base. Stephanie Adkins and Heath are repeat first-teamers.

Danielle Bottley and Alison Mitts were named Second Team All-SSC following their season for Saint Leo.

Saint Leo continues their season when they host, for the first time in program history, the NCAA Division II South Regional 2 starting Thursday, May 11 at 12 p.m. The Lions kick off tournament play when they take on North Alabama, reigning national champions, at 12 p.m. at University Softball Stadium. 

For more information on the Saint Leo softball program, visit SaintLeoLions.com.  Fans can also stay up-to-date on the latest Lions news by following Saint Leo Athletics on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube.