Brandi Richards, Jyssica Pepper and Shea Driggers were named first-team all-conference selections.
Softball - Tue. May. 01, 2012
NORCROSS, Ga. ---- The Auburn University at Montgomery softball team was well represented on the Southern States Athletic Conference postseason awards list, highlighted by Division Player of the Year honors for Brandi Richards for the second consecutive season.
Richards, fellow senior Shea Driggers and sophomore Jyssica Pepper were each named to the SSAC All-Conference team, while sophomore Laci Driggers and freshman Cassie Daniels earned All-Division team honors. Daniels was also selected to the league's All-Freshman team, while senior Danielle Kirkpatrick was chosen the Warhawks' member of the Musco Lighting Champions of Character team.
During her final season, Richards posted a .316 batting average, with three home runs and 26 runs batted in. She tallied six doubles and four triples, while stealing a career-best eight bases. She recorded 11 multiple-hit games and a team-leading nine multiple-RBI games. In the circle, she posted a 13-9 record with a 1.26 earned run average. The Covington, Ga., struck out 209 hitters in 145 innings, while limiting opponents to only a .155 batting average.
Driggers (Shea) enjoyed her best season at AUM, as she led the Warhawks in batting average (.326) and runs batted in (29), while finishing second in home runs with four. The Leeds, Ala., native added six doubles and tallied multiple hits in 10 games.
In her second season with the Warhawks, Pepper scored a school-record 41 runs, eclipsing the previous record of 37 she set last season. The Madison, Ala., native hit .324 with a team-best five home runs, while adding 20 runs batted in. Pepper finished with a team-high nine doubles and shared the lead in triples with four. She also stole a team-best 14 bases and walked a team-leading 23 times.
A newcomers to the program that worked her way into the starting line-up early in the season, Driggers (Laci) responded a .299 batting average, with a home runs and 21 runs batted in. The younger sister of Shea Driggers, she finished with eight doubles, a triple and 10 stolen bases. She also scored 28 runs, a mark which ranked second on the team.
Following a standout prep career, Daniels made the most of her opportunity at the college level, tossing 136 1/3 innings as a true freshman. The Valley Grande, Ala., native posted a 12-7 record and a 1.75 ERA, while striking out 147 on the season. She tossed 14 complete games, including three shutouts, in her 21 starts.
Kirkpatrick appeared in 53 games on the season, posting a .250 batting average and 14 runs batted in. The McDonough, Ga., native added seven doubles and two triples, while scoring 12 runs. Perhaps her greatest contribution came behind the plate, where the Warhawks' pitching staff posting a 1.49 earned run average on the year.
In addition to its on-field awards, the SSAC also announced its All-Academic team, on which three Warhawks were honored, Kirkpatrick, senior Carol Ann McIntyre and junior Rachel Stuart.
To qualify for the All-Academic team, student-athletes must have completed two terms of attendance and earned at least 24 semester hours of college level work, have attained a grade point average of 3.25 or higher and be participating in their sport during the semester in which the nomination is made.
Shorter's Jackie Castaneda was selected the SSAC Player of the Year, while Alyssa Boutwell of William Carey was voted the league's Pitcher of the Year. Brenau's Anna Maness was chosen the East Division Pitcher of the Year. Hannah Cook-Kelley of William Carey and Maddie Bray of Shorter were named Freshmen of the Year, while Lee's Jennifer Ringle was selected Newcomer of the Year. After helping Shorter to a 46-11 record and a No. 12 national ranking, Al Thomas was voted Coach of the Year.
By advancing to the championship game of the SSAC Softball Tournament, the Warhawks were awarded an automatic berth in the 32nd Annual NAIA Softball National Championship, held May 17-23 in Gulf Shores, Ala.