In a season in which 12 team or individual school records were tied or broken, it is only fitting for the Lady Royals softball squad to land four players on the All-ODAC First Team, the most ever for the program.
Junior Lisa Lee (Buckingham, Va./Buckingham County) headlines the foursome, as she was also named Old Dominion Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year. EMU had three players named All-ODAC First Team in 1990, the first year of softball in the league, and have only had multiple players on the First Team three times in previous 21 years.
Lisa Lee (top left) was named the ODAC Pitcher of the Year, with Jessica Sullivan (top right), Molly Smith (bottom left) and Sara Jenkins (bottom right) joining her on the All-ODAC First Team.
Lee took a step up from her consecutive Second Team nods, as well as being named the ODAC’s top pitcher. She broke school records with her 19 victories and 165-2/3 innings pitched. Lee led the ODAC in both categories and is tied for eighth in the nation in wins. She finished the year 19-7 with two saves and a 2.24 ERA with 118 strikeouts. Her numbers against ODAC competition were equally as impressive. In 15 appearances (ODAC high), Lee won a conference-best 12 games in 77 innings, also an ODAC-high. She was second with a 1.82 ERA and fanned 47 batters.
Lee was also a threat at the plate, with a .339 batting average. She led EMU with a record-tying 42 runs, 18 walks, and 15 stolen bases and was second with seven homeruns.
Jessica Sullivan (Midlothian, Va./Manchester) grabbed the First Team stop for first basemen after being named to the ODAC All-Tournament Team. The senior batted .339 with 28 RBIs and the first three homeruns of her career. Sullivan also had a stellar .982 fielding percentage while breaking the EMU record with 314 putouts. She also graduates with the career mark for putouts.
Local products Molly Smith (Elkton, Va./Spotswood) and Sara Jenkins (Stanley, Va./Page County) round out the First Teamers for the Lady Royals. Smith named as an outfielder, but she made an impact both there and from the pitcher’s circle. She was second on the team with a .414 batting average, along with team highs of 40 RBIs, 14 doubles and 55 hits. She was close to EMU records in all three categories. Smith also had an 8-6 record as a pitcher.
Jenkins caught fire late in the season, smacking all four of her homeruns in the final four days of the regular season. She finished with a .364 batting clip to go with her four homers and 21 RBIs.
Eastern Mennonite also had two women named to the All-ODAC Second Team, catcher Rasheeda Crews (Brookneal, Va./William Campbell) and freshman shortstop Brooke Hensley (Elkton, Va./Spotswood). After missing all of last year, Crews impressively took over behind the plate and was third on the team with a .395 batting average. She scored 26 runs and had a .975 fielding percentage.
Hensley, who was also named EMU’s team MVP, led the women in hitting at .441 and was second on the team with both 31 runs and 31 RBIs. She led the league’s shortstops in fielding percentage in ODAC play and committed just six errors all season in 139 chances.
Sophomore second baseman Courtney Allman (Weyers Cave, Va./Fort Defiance) broke the school record for homeruns and was named to the Honorable Mention team. She tied for the ODAC-lead with her eight homers, which also broke the EMU mark set at seven by Lee in her freshman year in 2009. Allman was also third for the Lady Royals with her 30 RBIs and was among league leaders with her .610 slugging percentage.
Senior Jessica Blosser (Crimora, Va./Wilson Memorial), who will graduate with EMU career records in runs, singles and at-bats, was given the team’s sportsmanship award.
Eastern Mennonite finished the 2011 season with a record of 27-13. After earning the top seed in the ODAC Tournament with a 14-4 mark, the women came up short in their bid for back-to-back ODAC titles, bowing out late on day two with a 2-2 mark.
Bridgewater College third baseman Lauren Childress was named the ODAC Player of the Year. Childress added a second honor as she was tabbed the ODAC/Farm Bureau Insurance Scholar-Athlete. Virginia Wesleyan College mentor Brandon Elliott was named the ODAC Coach of the Year, and fellow Marlin MacKenzie Creech was selected as the ODAC Rookie of the Year.
Childress, a senior from Franklin, Va., starred both on and off the field for Bridgewater. In the classroom, Childress maintains a 3.816 grade point average as a double major in Family and Consumer Sciences and Business. She is also a three-time honoree on the All-ODAC Academic Team. On the field, Childress appears on the All-ODAC First Team for the second straight season. She ranks second in the conference in overall batting average (.442) and on-base percentage (.442).
Elliott, in his fourth season guiding the Marlins, enjoys his first ODAC top coaching honor. He led the Marlins to their first ODAC title since 1998, marking the sixth overall conference crown for the VWC softball program. Virginia Wesleyan will be making its third appearance in the NCAA Division III Softball Tournament, its first since 1989 (also played in 1986). The Marlins 29-9 record this season marks the third time VWC has won at least 29 games under Elliott.
Creech, a freshman from Hillsboro, N.C., adds this honor to an All-ODAC First Team nod and the most recent Player of the Week award from the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA). Creech went 18-4 in all games, posting ODAC-bests in ERA (1.30) and opposing batting average (.209). She was second with 154 strikeouts.
Listed below are the complete 2011 All-ODAC Softball Teams. For more information, visit the websites of any of the participating schools, or go to the ODAC’s home on the Internet at www.odaconline.com.
2011 ALL-ODAC SOFTBALL TEAMS
ODAC Player of the Year: Lauren Childress, 3B, Sr., Bridgewater
ODAC Pitcher of the Year: Lisa Lee, Jr., Eastern Mennonite
ODAC Coach of the Year: Brandon Elliott, Virginia Wesleyan
ODAC Rookie of the Year: MacKenzie Creech, P, Virginia Wesleyan
ODAC/Farm Bureau Insurance Scholar-Athlete: Lauren Childress, 3B, Sr., Bridgewater
ALL-ODAC FIRST TEAM
Lisa Lee, Pitcher, Junior, Eastern Mennonite
MacKenzie Creech, Pitcher, Freshman, Virginia Wesleyan
Jaclyn Quinn, Catcher, Junior, Virginia Wesleyan
Jessica Sullivan, First Base, Senior, Eastern Mennonite
Emily Morris, Second Base, Senior, Bridgewater
Lauren Childress, Third Base, Senior, Bridgewater
Hillary Rees, Shortstop, Junior, Bridgewater
Leona Rainey, Outfielder, Sophomore, Roanoke
Molly Smith, Outfielder, Freshman, Eastern Mennonite
Lauren Stevenson, Outfielder, Sophomore, Randolph
Sara Jenkins, Designated Player, Sophomore, Eastern Mennonite
Stephanie Clark, Utility, Freshman, Roanoke
ALL-ODAC SECOND TEAM
Jessica Burcham, Pitcher, Junior, Guilford
Heather Jenkins, Pitcher, Sophomore, Bridgewater
Rasheeda Crews, Catcher, Sophomore, Eastern Mennonite
Season Dailey, First Base, Freshman, Virginia Wesleyan
Sarah Smith, Second Base, Junior, Lynchburg
Rachel Gallagher, Third Base, Senior, Lynchburg
Brooke Hensley, Shortstop, Freshman, Eastern Mennonite
Courtney Kozar, Outfielder, Senior, Guilford
Hollee Warlitner, Outfielder, Sophomore, Roanoke
Brittany Willingham, Outfielder, Sophomore, Randolph
Lisa Scruggs, Designated Player, Senior, Roanoke
Heather Lewis, Utility, Sophomore, Randolph-Macon
ALL-ODAC HONORABLE MENTION
Drew Rutledge, Outfielder, Senior, Bridgewater
Courtney Allman, Second Base, Sophomore, Eastern Mennonite
Jenae Morrissey, Catcher, Junior, Emory & Henry
Ami Hutcherson, Third Base, Senior, Guilford
Meagan Fredenberg, Catcher, Junior, Lynchburg
Ashley Gardner, Shortstop, Sophomore, Randolph
Paige Smith, Shortstop, Senior, Randolph-Macon
Lis Norwich, Pitcher, Senior, Roanoke
Jordan Pugh, Third Base, Senior, Sweet Briar
Tori Higginbotham, Outfielder, Freshman, Virginia Wesleyan