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Softball - Wed. May. 01, 2013

COLUMBUS, Ga. ---- The Southern States Athletics Conference released its regular season softball awards at the conference's postseason banquet, with 10 members from Auburn Montgomery receiving recognition.

First-Team All-Conference selections for Cassie Daniels, Emma Johansen, Jyssica Pepper and Katie Spain highlighted the night for AUM.

In addition, Laci Driggers was named to the All-Division team, Kayla Hale, Taylor Powell and Lauren Shaw made the All-Freshmen team, and Daniels, Spain and Rachel Stuart earned a spot on the All-Academic team. Holly Saint was the Warhawks' representative on the Musco Lighting Champions of Character team.

AUM landed four players on the all-conference team for the first time since its debut season in 2009, while the three freshmen recognized was the most in program history.

Daniels leads the Warhawk pitching staff with a 17-3 record and 175 strikeouts in 129 1/3 innings. She was a four-time conference pitcher of the week award winner, and her 17 wins are the most in AUM single-season history. The Valley Grande native tossed her first career no-hitter against top-10 Belhaven on April 20. She has struck out at least 10 batters six different times this season.

A secondary education major, Daniels currently maintains a 3.67 grade-point average. To qualify for the All-Academic team, student-athletes must maintain a 3.25 cumulative GPA or better and have completed three terms at the institution.

Johansen is currently second on the team in batting average, hitting .396 for the year. Her on-base percentage of .462 is tops on the team, giving the Warhawks a steady presence at the bottom of the lineup. She has 11 multi-hit games, including a four-hit performance against Talladega on February 21. The Johnson City, Ill., native has 33 runs scored and eight RBIs.

Pepper earned all-conference honors for the second-straight season. She has set new career-highs with six home runs, six triples and 38 RBIs batting from the No. 3 spot in the lineup. Her .376 average is third-best on the team, and she is tied for first with eight stolen bases. She earned her first career player of the week award on March 11. The Madison native drove in at least three runs on four separate occasions, and her 14-game hitting streak from March 2-18 is the longest for a Warhawk in 2013.

Spain has already broken the AUM single-season records for home runs (13) and RBIs (51). She leads the Warhawks in batting average (.399) and is tied for first with 11 doubles. The Whittier, Calif., native also has a team-best 17 multi-hit games and 13 multi-RBI games. She has a pair of five RBI performances against Talladega (Feb. 21) and Mobile (April 23), and was named conference player of the week on February 25.

The sophomore third baseman currently has a 3.46 GPA as a secondary education major, earning a spot on the All-Academic team in her first eligible season.

Driggers made her second-straight all-division appearance. She is one of three Warhawks to start every game, and she is third on the team with nine home runs. For the year, the Leeds native is hitting .340 with 11 doubles, 38 RBIs and a team-high 41 runs scored. She has 12 multi-RBI games, including a season-high four RBIs at Mobile on March 29.

Hale has made an impact both at the plate and on the mound. She had the best offensive single-game performance in AUM history against Embry-Riddle on March 18, racking up three hits and a team-record eight RBIs. The Montgomery native is second on the team with 10 home runs and 41 RBIs. As a pitcher, she is 8-3 with a 1.88 earned-run average, including a complete-game 14-strikeout gem at Emmanuel on April 12.

Powell leads the team with a 1.49 ERA, accumulating a 13-2 record with 75 strikeouts over 94 innings pitched. She has five complete games, including two shutouts, and did not allow a run in her first 29 2/3 innings this season. Powell was named conference pitcher of the week on April 1 after a pair of wins over Mobile and Spring Hill. At the plate, the Alabaster native has added a pair of home runs and seven RBIs.

Shaw has made 30 appearances for the Warhawks, including 22 starts, and she currently has a .270 average with a home run and three doubles. The Cumming, Ga., native hit her first career home run at Belhaven on April 5, and has a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage as a catcher.

Stuart has been a catalyst for the Warhawks from the leadoff position, hitting .321 with four triples and 17 RBIs. She is a perfect 8-for-8 in stolen bases attempts, and leads the team by a wide margin with 15 sacrifices. The Dora native hit her first career home run against William Carey on April 21. A secondary education major, she currently has a 3.64 grade-point average. Stuart is a three-time member of the All-Academic team, and she was a NAIA Scholar Athlete as a junior.

The Champions of Character team is selected based on student-athlete's adherence to the five core NAIA values of respect, responsibility, integrity, servant leadership and sportsmanship. One of five seniors on the team, Saint has provided steady leadership behind the plate for a pitching staff with a collective ERA of 1.68. She has started 22 games, while appearing in 37 games overall. The Wetumpka native has five hits in 13 at bats with a pair of RBIs, and has a .995 fielding percentage.

The Warhawks enter the SSAC tournament as the top seed from the West Division. AUM begins play at 8 p.m. tomorrow against the winner of Southern Wesleyan/Mobile. That game will be played at Noon.