COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Four members of the Tennessee Tech softball team were recognized on all-OVC postseason teams on Wednesday at the OVC Awards Banquet in Martin, Tenn.
Kaleigh Gates and Holly Thomas both earned their first career postseason recognition as they were named to the all-OVC second team. Freshmen Chanelle Spalding and Melody Christian were also honored, earning spots on the OVC all-newcomer team.
Gates and Thomas become the 14th and 15th Golden Eagles to earn all-OVC second team honors since head coach Tory Acheson took over in 1999, while Spalding and Christian are the fifth and sixth players to be named to the all-newcomer team.
Gates, Tech’s starting center fielder, was among the toughest players in the entire OVC to get out this season. She finished the regular season with a .433 on-base percentage, the fifth best in the league, and took the third most walks (29) of any player in the conference. Gates was especially effective at getting on base during conference action when she boasted a .500 on-base percentage.
During the OVC schedule, Gates led the team with a .355 batting average, four home runs and 14 runs scored. She also displayed patience at the plate, drawing a team-high 18 walks.
Thomas was named to the all-newcomer team a season ago and continued her progression this season as she led the Golden Eagles in wins and strikeouts. With 125 strikeouts this season, Thomas has moved recently moved into a tie for eighth place in career strikeouts with Brandy Henry at 243. She is fifth in the OVC in strikeouts.
Thomas totaled a team-high six wins in conference play and led the team with 13 victories in the circle. She also has been difficult to hit home runs off of, allowing just five long balls in 147 2/3 innings of work.
An OVC Pitcher of the Week selection during the 11th week of the season, Thomas earned all-tournament team honors earlier this season when the team traveled to the Phyllis Rafter Memorial Tournament.
Spalding continued to get stronger as the season progressed and finished the regular season as the team’s leader in on-base percentage while ranking second in batting average. Her .451 on-base percentage was the second highest in the entire OVC.
After starting the season as an outfielder, Spalding moved to first base where she thrived both in the field and at the plate. She finished her freshman campaign with a .324 batting average, 22 runs scored, nine RBIs, and 10 doubles. Spalding also helped Tech on the base paths with five stolen bases, the second most on the team.
Christian also showed progress throughout the season and is the team’s current leader in batting average (.331). The team’s leadoff hitter, Christian ranks fourth in the OVC in hits with 57 and is sixth in stolen bases with 13. Over her last nine games, Christian has added seven stolen bases to her team-leading total.
In addition to leading the team in batting average and steals, Christian has a team-high 31 runs scored and two triples.
During conference play, Christian hit .342 and was a perfect six-for-six in stolen base attempts.
The Tech softball team begins OVC Tournament action on Thursday with an 11 a.m. game against Morehead State.
P - Paij Lintz (UT Martin) - Sr., Lewisburg, Tenn.
P - Alex Gjevre (Morehead State) - Sr., Billings, Mont. *
C - Jena Handley (Eastern Kentucky) - Sr., Garden Grove, Calif.
C - Laurie Lindow (UT Martin) - Sr., San Diego, Calif.
IF - Jenny Bain (UT Martin) - So., Hendersonville, Tenn. *
IF - Laura Roberts (UT Martin) - Sr., Johnston City, Ill.
IF - Sallie Beth Burch (Jacksonville State) - Moulton, Ala.
IF - Kiley Holtz (Eastern Illinois) - Jr., Elgin, Ill. %
OF - Megan Williams (UT Martin) - Sr., Murfreeseboro, Tenn.*
OF - Hillary Downs (Jacksonville State) - Sr., Childersburg, Ala.%
OF - Chrissy O'Neal (Jacksonville State) - Sr., Dallas, Ga. *
UTIL/DP - Kate Vanderham (UT Martin) - Jr., Brookeville, Fla.
2010 OVC PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Megan Williams, UT Martin
2010 OVC PITCHER OF THE YEAR: Paij Lintz, UT Martin
2010 OVC FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: Amber Riddle, Morehead State
2010 OVC COACH OF THE YEAR: Donley Canary, UT Martin
P - Holly Thomas (Tennessee Tech) - So., Ooltewah, Tenn.
P - Amber May (Eastern Illinois) - Jr., Normal, Ill.
IF - Megan Van Arsdale (UT Martin) - Sr., Garden Grove, Calif.
IF - Ellyn Troup (Murray State) - Fr., Placentia, Calif.
IF - Kayla Ashbrook (Morehead State) - Fr., Canton, Ohio
IF - Amber Riddle (Morehead State) - Fr., Morehead, Ky.
IF - Brittany Webb (Tennessee State) - Jr., Knoxville, Tenn.%
IF - Rebecca Butler (Morehead State) - Jr., Pendleton, Ind.*
OF - Kaleigh Gates (Tennessee Tech) - Jr., Tuscon, Ariz.
OF - Diane Gallagher (Eastern Kentucky) - So., Atwater, Calif.*
OF - Jenna Bradley (Murray State) - Jr., Trilla, Ill.
UTIlL/DP - Caitlin Eaton (Tennessee State) - Jr., Baltic, Conn.*
* - 1st Team All-OVC in 2009 % - 2nd Team All-OVC in 2009
Kate Vanderham (UT Martin) - Jr., UTIL/DP, Brookeville, Fla.
Ellyn Troup (Murray State) - Fr., INF, Placentia, Calif.
Kalah Mathis (UT Martin) - Jr., OF, Chapel Hill, Tenn.
Sallie Beth Burch (Jacksonville State) - Jr., INF, Moulton, Ala.
Jordan Garrett (UT Martin) - Jr., UTIL, Clovis, N.M.
Jenna Bradley (Murray State) - Jr., OF, Trilla, Ill.
Amanda Crow (Jacksonville State) -Jr., INF, Sharpsburg, Ga.
Amber Riddle (Morehead State) - Fr., INF, Morehead, Ky.
Melody Christian (Tennessee Tech) - Fr., INF, Kingston Springs, Tenn.
Kayla Ashbrook (Morehead State) - Fr., INF, Canton, Ohio
Chanelle Spalding (Tennessee Tech) - Fr., OF, Laguna Niguel, Calif.
Megan Glosser (Murray State) - So., UTIL/DP, Mattoon, Ill.