Coquerille, Thomas and Leff repeat as award winners
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Lacie Coquerille has been named the Most Valuable Player for the second consecutive year and also captured two others awards as Tennessee Tech softball coach Tory Acheson announced team honors for the 2010 Golden Eagle season.
In addition to Coquerille, awards also went to junior Callie Schmidt, sophomores Whitney Cummings, Holly Thomas and Jordan Leff, and freshman Melody Christian.
A junior from Rocky Face, Ga., Coquerille also received the Coach’s Award and was named the team’s Best Defensive Infielder for the third year in a row. Overcoming an injury that sidelined her the first two weeks of the season, Coquerille returned as the starter at second base and batted .277. In the field, she had just one error in nearly 200 chances for a .995 fielding percentage. She was also named Academic All-District for the second straight year.
“Lacie had a very good year all the way around, offensively, defensively and on the leadership front,” Acheson said. “She showed tremendous heart and determination to play with a lot of pain. She was rock solid defensively, only making one error, and she is one of the clear leaders on our team.”
Schmidt, a junior catcher from Peru, Ill., was named the Most Improved Player on the squad. She lifted her batting average to .282 and ranked second on the team with nine home runs. She was the Golden Eagle leader with 43 RBI, ranking third in the conference. She wrapped up the year by earning a spot on the OVC all-tournament team.
“Callie was tenacious this year behind the plate,” Acheson said. “She did a great job defensively, working her tail off blocking balls and trying to help our pitching staff. She also made a much greater contribution offensively and we are looking for her to have continued improvement heading into her senior season.
“Whitney had a great year at the plate, leading the team in almost all of the power categories. She came up big in some clutch situations down the stretch and we are counting on her to continue to be a big run producer for us again next year.
Thomas, a sophomore from Ooltewah, Tenn., was named the team’s Pitcher of the Year for the second consecutive time. A second-team all-OVC selection, she ranked fourth in the league in strikeouts and eighth in ERA. Thomas went 16-14 in the circle with a .2.81 ERA. She led the team in appearances (37), starts (32), complete games (13), shutouts (5) and saves (2). She also held opponents to a team-best .243 batting average, striking out 143 hitters in 176 2/3 innings.
At the OVC Tournament, Thomas recorded complete-game wins over Morehead State, Murray State and Eastern Illinois.
“Holly was very strong down the stretch and showed at the OVC tournament what she can bring to the plate,” Acheson said. “She was very determined and worked hard to take the next step in her development. We need her to pick up next year where we left off in Martin.”
For the second straight year, the Best Defensive Outfielder honor went to Jordan Leff, a sophomore from Rowlett, Texas. She stared 30 games in left field and six in center, and did not make an error.
“Jordan battled mononucleosis all year long and still did a good job defensively.” Acheson praised. “She made some amazing plays over the course of the year and we are looking forward to her playing healthy next year.”
The team’s Freshman of the Year was Melody Christian, a rookie leadoff hitter from Kingston Springs, Tenn., who earned a spot on the OVC All-Newcomer team. She led Tech and ranked eighth in the OVC with a .328 batting average. Her 62 hits ranked second in the OVC and topped the Golden Eagles. She also had team-best numbers in at bats, runs scored and stolen bases, getting 16 steals in 18 attempts to rank fifth in the league. Her nine-game hitting streak was the longest on the team in 2010.
“Mel had a very strong first year which showcased her potential and also provided a lot of lessons about what needs improvement heading into her second year.” Acheson said. “She was a key contributor down the stretch and has an opportunity to really shine next year.”