LOUISVILLE, Ky. --- Tusculum softball had 14 student-athletes featured on the 2019 Easton/NFCA All-America Scholar-Athlete list, the Association announced this week. The NFCA (National Fastpitch Coaches Association) also released the Easton/NFCA Academic Team rankings for the 2018-19 year, with the Pioneers sitting in a tie for 31st across Division II.
Tusculum's 14 honorees ranked second in the South Atlantic Conference only to Newberry's 15. The Pioneers finished the year with a collective 3.520 grade-point average, good for third across the conference, trailing the leader Queens by a mere 0.048.
The rankings and honors recognize the academic prowess of softball teams across the Association's membership. Student-athletes earning a 3.50 GPA or higher for 2018-19 are eligible for the individual award, while teams must have a collective grade-point average of 3.00 to be named.
Anna Alloway, a utility player from Louisville, Tennessee, earned a 3.98 in the 2018-19 year and was perfect in the spring. The right-hander saw action in 40 games, finishing the season with a .321 batting average, .357 on-base percentage, and a .532 slugging percentage (second on the team). Alloway was also named to the Division II Athletic Directors Association (D2 ADA) Honor Roll, SAC Commissioner's Honor Roll, and the Tusculum Athletic Director's Honor Roll for her scholastic efforts. In her TU career, she ranks five in slugging percentage (.559), eighth in on-base percentage (.377), and 10th in batting average (.328). Alloway also has three doubles in one game, a tie for the best in program history.
Taylor Battle earned a 3.74 GPA on her way to be listed on the D2 ADA, Tusculum Athletic Director's, and SAC Commissioner's Honor Roll. On the field, the Chattanooga, Tennessee resident was named to the All-Conference second team in the outfield. In the Pioneer record book, the left-hander ranks in the top-10 in seven statistical categories for her career: first in stolen bases (63), third in triples (19), fifth in at bats (594), tied eighth in games played (191) and runs (100), ninth in total bases (238), and 10th in hits (179). Battle is also tied for the most triples in a season with eight and second-most steals in a game with three.
As a catcher, Emma Casey recorded a 3.91 grade-point average and a 4.00 in the championship segment. Playing in 35 games, she notched 25 hits with four doubles, scored eight runs, 23 RBI, 13 walks, and 104 putouts. Casey averaged .316 at the plate, a .415 on-base percentage, and a .443 slugging percentage. The Mechanicsville (Va.) native was named to the D2 ADA, TU Athletic Director's, and SAC Commissioner's Honor Roll.
Brittney Franse maintained a 3.71 GPA during the academic year and a perfect mark during the spring. The infielder started in 40-of-41 games played, primarily at second base. The Knoxville, Tennessee native batted .317, had an OBP of .363, and slugged .337. Franse finished with a fielding percentage of .972 with 74 putouts and 67 assists. She was listed on the D2 ADA and SAC Commissioner's Honor Roll as well.
Courtney Gibson collected a 3.63 GPA in the 2018-19 year and was named to the D2 ADA, TU Athletic Director's, and SAC Commissioner's Honor Roll. The North Carolina native saw action in four games, scoring two runs.
Emily Hester maintained a 3.89 in her final year and a perfect mark in her last semester. The Kings Mountain (N.C.) native was listed on the D2 ADA and SAC Commissioner's Honor Roll, along with a CoSIDA Academic All-District® first team nod in the infield for the second-straight year. Across the Tusculum softball record book, Hester holds a combined 22 top-15 career, season, and single-game marks. She is the only player to reach double-figures in sacrifice flies and surpass 1,000 putouts, while ranking second all-time in home runs and walks.
Morgan Mahaffey finished her time as a Pioneer with a perfect 4.00 grade-point average. Playing in 31 games, the Belmont, North Carolina native scored eight runs, walked five times, and collected six hits. She also received notice from the D2 ADA, TU Athletic Director's, and SAC Commissioner's Honor Roll. Mahaffey was became the program's first recipient of the CoSIDA Academic All-America® honor with a second team nod after being named Academic All-District® first team in the outfield.
Allison Pate completed 2018-19 with a 3.54 grade-point average. The right-handed pitcher started in nine of 17 appearances in the circle, going 5-5 in 64.2 innings of work. The Lucama (N.C.) native pitched a five inning run-rule shutout of Converse and a season-high seven strikeouts against Lees-McRae. She was also credited with her first career save at UVa-Wise. Pate was a member of the D2 ADA, TU Athletic Director's, and SAC Commissioner's Honor Roll.
Pitcher Taylor Plemons collected a 3.72 GPA and was also named to the D2 ADA, Tusculum Athletic Director's, and SAC Commissioner's Honor Roll. The Knoxville (Tenn.) native finished her time as a Pioneer ranked in the top-10 across eight career categories in the program record book. The right-hander sits second in appearances (103), tied fourth in saves (2), fifth in starts (72), tied fifth in shutouts (7), sixth in innings pitched (444.0), seventh in strikeouts (236), tied ninth in complete games (36), and 10th in wins (31).
The third pitcher on the list, Ivee Richesin, earned a 3.86 grade-point average for the year and 4.00 in the spring. The right-hander started in 15-of-23 appearances in the circle, going 7-8 in 91.0 innings of action. The Philadelphia (Tenn.) native recorded the team-leading 3.77 earned-run average, along with two five-strikeout performances. Richesin was also named to the D2 ADA and SAC Commissioner's Honor Roll.
Shortstop Sammie West collected a 3.63 GPA in her junior campaign, including a perfect mark during the spring season. She finished the year batting an even .300 with a slugging percentage of .383, and an on-base percentage of .381. The right-hander had seven multi-run games, nine games with multiple hits, and two games with multiple walks. West currently sits in a tie for second in career on-base percentage (.416), tied sixth in career walks (64), tied seventh in career sacrifice flies (4), tied 10th in career stolen bases (27), and 11th in career batting average (.327). She also earned a spot on the D2 ADA and SAC Commissioner's Honor Roll.
Tori West appeared in 27 games, primarily in a pinch role, earning a 3.92 grade-point average. She had three hits on the season, doubling at Carson-Newman, walking at Queens, and stealing a base at UVa-Wise. The Knoxville (Tenn.) native claimed a spot on the D2 ADA, TU Athletic Director's, and SAC Commissioner's Honor Roll.
Emily White recorded a 3.64 GPA in her senior campaign, also seeing her name on the D2 ADA, TU Athletic Director's, and SAC Commissioner's Honor Roll. The Michigan native played in 31 games, scoring 14 runs, stealing two bases, and collecting two hits in six plate appearances.
Gabby Williams, an infielder/pitcher from Woodstock (Ga.), earned a 3.54 grade-point average.