HIGH POINT, N.C. --- Lees-McRae College head coach Merritt Yackey has been named the Conference Carolinas Softball Coach of the Year for the first time in his career, headlining a group of five Bobcats receiving league honors at the conference tournament banquet on Thursday.
Yackey led the Bobcats (22-25, 10-8 CC) to the program's first winning record in conference play, entering this weekend's conference tournament tied for third in the final regular season standings. Under Yackey's guidance, the Bobcats have posted the program's highest win total in conference play since the 2002 season, while notching a 10-win improvement from last year.
Erskine College led the way with six selections, including Pitcher of the Year Kelsey Spurrier, while regular season champion Limestone College, Mount Olive College, Queens University of Charlotte, and Lees-McRae each placed four players on the team. Jessica McFadden of Barton College was named the Player of the Year, while Coker College's Katie McElveen garnered Freshman of the Year honors.
With four selections to the all-conference teams, the Bobcats set a school record as each honoree garnered league recognition for the first time in their careers. Junior third baseman Lindsey Huntsinger (Asheville, N.C.) and freshman second baseman Karli Robb (Hayes, Va.) were each named to the first team, while senior utility player Paige Coleman (Thomasville, N.C.) and sophomore pitcher Laurel Gregg (Mars Hill, N.C.) both earned a spot on the second team.
Huntsinger starred for the Bobcats in her first season at Lees-McRae, clubbing a league-leading seven home runs in conference play to earn a spot on the first team at third base. The two-time conference player of the week posted an overall .358 batting average on the season, launching 12 home runs and driving in 36 runs in 47 games to date. A native of Asheville, N.C., Huntsinger entered the week ranked 15th in the nation in long balls, four behind the national leader.
Robb turned it on in conference play, entering the week with a .431 batting average against league opponents with 22 hits in 51 at-bats. The freshman second baseman posted an overall .321 batting average with two home runs and seven RBI, tallying six doubles and a team-best three triples to earn a spot on the first team. A native of Hayes, Va., Robb entered the week ranked 38th in the nation in sacrifice hits per game (0.24) and 60th in triples (three).
Coleman has been one of the most consistent hitters for the Bobcats throughout her four-year career, posting a team-best .370 batting average this season while concluding the regular campaign with seven home runs and 38 runs batted in. The senior utility player notched a .340 batting average in conference play this year, driving in 15 runs and clubbing three home runs to earn her first career all-conference selection. A native of Thomasville, N.C., Coleman has posted a .328 batting average in her career thus far, recording 12 home runs and 90 RBI in 146 career games played.
Gregg is in the midst of an impressive first season with the Bobcats, posting a 1.40 ERA and 42 strikeouts to go along with a 6-3 record against league opponents. The sophomore right-hander has recorded an overall record of 11-13 this season, posting a 2.57 ERA with 112 strikeouts and 11 complete games. A native of Mars Hill, N.C., Gregg has been tremendous over her last seven appearances, posting a 5-2 record with a sterling 0.76 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 46 innings pitched to propel the Bobcats into the conference tournament.
Lees-McRae returns to the diamond on Friday, traveling to Hartsville, S.C. to take on Queens (18-17, 10-8 CC) in the quarterfinal round of the conference tournament, hosted by Coker. The Bobcats and Royals will square off at 10 a.m.
- LMC -
2011 All-Conference Carolinas Softball Teams
1st Base: Aubrey Reinhard, Mount Olive College
2nd Base: Karli Robb, Lees-McRae College
3rd Base: Lindsey Huntsinger, Lees-McRae College
Shortstop: Kelly Minshew, Mount Olive College
Designated Player: Alyssa Bradshaw, Mount Olive College
Utility: Larissa Shannon, Erskine College
Catcher: Hannah Mills, Limestone College
Catcher: Robbin Kennedy, Mount Olive College
Outfield: Jessica McFadden, Barton College
Outfield: Jenna Guse, Limestone College
Outfield: Morgan Purcell, Erskine College
Pitcher: Kelsey Spurrier, Erskine College
Pitcher: Sydney Greenwalt, Coker College
Pitcher: Emily Wallace, Limestone College
1st Base: Kaitlyn Cheek, Queens University of Charlotte
2nd Base: Lindsey LaPrad, Erskine College
3rd Base: Sarah Waylock, Pfeiffer University
Shortstop: Whitney Brown, Erskine College
Designated Player: Becca Rothrock, Belmont Abbey College
Utility: Paige Coleman, Lees-McRae College
Catcher: Emily Poulton, Queens University
Catcher: Stacy Burr, Coker College
Outfield: Anna Smart, Belmont Abbey College
Outfield: Taylor Wigmore, Limestone College
Outfield: Maria Goode, Queens University of Charlotte
Pitcher: Heather Richey-Erskine College
Pitcher: Brandy Jester, Queens University of Charlotte
Pitcher: Laurel Gregg, Lees-McRae College
Player of the Year: Jessica McFadden-Barton
Pitchers of the Year: Kelsey Spurrier-Erskine College
Freshman of the Year: Katie McElveen-Coker College
Coach of the Year: Merritt Yackey-Lees-McRae College
Regular Season Champion: Limestone College