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Written by  Wednesday, 02 May 2018 11:49
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Press release


BENTONVILLE, Ark. – The Great American Conference announced its softball All-Conference teams and superlative awards. Southern Arkansas’ Brooke Goad and Victoria Taylor won the Player of the Year and Pitcher of the Year awards while their coach, Jason Anderson, claimed the Coach of the Year accolade.


Southeastern Oklahoma State’s Kelsey Meeks and Elexis Watson received the Newcomer of the Year and Freshman of the Year honors.



The record-setting Goad established NCAA Division II all-time standards for home runs and walks and enters the postseason needing one home run to tie the DII single-season mark, 28. In addition to home runs and walks, she leads the GAC and ranks in the top five in the country in on-base percentage, slugging percentage, runs scored and total bases.


Taylor finished the regular season with an unblemished record inside the circle, 25-0. No pitcher across all three NCAA Divisions owns more wins without a defeat than Taylor. She leads the GAC with a 1.16 earned run average, a .199 batting average against and six shutouts. She ranks second with 188 strikeouts and ranks sixth in the country in strikeout-walk ratio.


With Taylor, Goad and Anderson claiming the GAC Pitcher, Player and Coach of the Year awards, the Lady Muleriders join the 2014 Southeastern Oklahoma State Savage Storm and the 2015 Henderson State Reddies as the only GAC programs to win the regular-season title and claim those three individual honors in one year.


Meeks and Watson became the first set of teammates to score the Newcomer and Freshman of the Year awards in the same season. Meeks leads the conference in ranks second in the country with 27 wins, one off the national lead. She also paces the GAC with 23 complete games and with 231.2 innings pitched. Watson ranks second to Goad in slugging percentage, home runs, total bases and walks. She leads the GAC with 19 doubles. She ranks first among all DII freshman in total bases and places amongst the top 10 in seven major offensive categories.


Led by Goad and Taylor, SAU led the conference with five First-Team All-GAC selections. Designated Player Jill Roye garnered First-Team honors for the second-straight year while the left side of the Lady Mulerider infield, shortstop Monica Islava and third baseman Faith Otts also made the team. Islava finished the season tied with Watson for second in GAC with 14 home runs and Otts trailed only Goad with 54 RBI.


Paced by Meeks and Watson, Savage Storm saw three standouts earn First-Team recognition. Second baseman Symphoni Shomo made the team for the second-straight year as she leads the GAC, and ranks eighth in the nation with 40 stolen bases.


Arkansas Tech joined SAU and Southeastern as the only schools with multiple First-Team selections. Megan Goodnight made GAC history as she captured First-Team honors at multiple positions – as a pitcher and as a utility player.


In the circle she tallied 14 wins against only four defeats and sported a 1.62 ERA. Used as both a starter and reliever, her nine saves lead Division II. At the plate, she has hit .342 while ranking third in hits and second in doubles. Golden Sun outfielder Ashton Sangster ranks third in the league in runs score and has stolen 27 bases without being caught once.


Southern Nazarene’s Katelyn Brown rounded out the First-Team pitching staff. She joins just eight other Division II pitchers with at least 200 strikeouts and she ranks third in the league with 19 complete games. Harding’s Peyton Mills earned First-Team honors for the second-straight year. She owns the distinction as the only player in the league with at least 10 home runs and 10 stolen bases.


Two additional freshmen joined Watson on the First Team. Oklahoma Baptist catcher Dani Manning matched Watson with 14 home runs and she finished the regular season with the GAC’s third-best slugging percentage, .728. Henderson State outfielder

Madie Green ranked in the top 11 in eight major offensive categories.


The All-GAC Second Team consisted of two Arkansas Tech teammates – middle infielders Bailey Bunch and Sarah Coronado; the Henderson State senior tandem of pitcher Sydney Bonner and shortstop Bethany Allen; two Lady Muleriders - pitcher Brooke Ford-Nelson and catcher Rachel Miller; a pair from Ouachita - pitcher Marissa Butler and outfielder Kelly Powell and two Savage Storm juniors – designated player Sydnee Hinkle and Destiny Riddle, at the utility spot. The 15-member squad also included East Central third baseman Catherine Barrera, Harding second baseman Madi Trump, Northwestern Oklahoma State outfielder Madison McGraw, Oklahoma Baptist outfielder Cheyenne Demaree and Southern Nazarene first baseman Mahina Sauer.

Four from East Central - pitcher Jacey Henry, first baseman Alissa Taylor, shortstop Mariah Ewy and outfielder Claresha Clemons – headlined the All-GAC Honorable Mention squad. Arkansas Tech placed three – pitcher Kristen Dempsey, third baseman Paige Mendoza and utility player Janie Knowles – on the team. Henderson State and Ouachita each put two on the team in the Reddies’ Mallory Brewer and Lindsey Williams and the Tigers’ Sarah Johnson and Paige Purifoy. Harding’s Briley Feringa, Northwestern Oklahoma State’s Madison Garza, Oklahoma Baptist’s Katie Reyes, Southeastern Oklahoma State’s Keeshia Thompson, Southern Arkansas’ Marina Duran and Southern Nazarene’s Sydni Toilolo rounded out the team


The league also recognized its Elite and Scholar Athletes. A quartet of student-athletes – East Central’s Breecia Crawford, Ouachita’s Halley Ryburn, Arkansas Tech’s Bunch and Southeastern Oklahoma State’s Riddle- earned the Elite Scholar Awards, as all four own 4.00 GPAs. A total of 15 student-athletes – Harding’s Amanda Berry, Katie Carney, Mills and Trump; Henderson State’s Nadia Ballarin, Cayleigh Guthrie, Alexis Morton and Allen; Arkansas Tech’s Sydney Henson and Knowles, Southeastern’s Ouachita’s Butler, Southeastern’s Mykaela Wallace and Meeks, Ouachita’s Butler, SAU’s Taylor Stricklin and Southern Nazarene’s Kriston Shumaker– received the Distinguished Scholar honor.


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David Deaton

Digital Editor at Oklahoma Welcome

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