Six Blazers Named All-GSC

| May 4, 2017

VALDOSTA – The Valdosta State softball team was well represented in the annual list of All-Gulf South Conference honorees, as six different Blazers were recognized by the league office on Wednesday.

Brandy Morgan, Taylor Hartenbach, and Jessica Mohl each earned First Team recognition in a poll taken by coaches throughout the GSC, while seniors Chelsea Canara and Hayley Cruthers joined freshman Kathryn Carter as Second Team honorees.

Of all schools represented in the poll, Valdosta State led the pack with six selections, while the Mississippi College Lady Choctaws placed four on the list of award winnger. North Alabama earned three selections, and Delta State joined Alabama-Huntsville and Lee with two selections each. Finally, West Georgia and West Alabama each saw one honoree to round out the list.

Mohl, who was also nominated among a select group of players for the Gulf South Conference Player of the Year Award, picked up First Team honors in recognition of a junior season in which she led the Gulf South Conference in hits (81), runs scored (64), and at bats (185). The shortstop standout also ranked among the league leaders in several other statistical categories, including batting average (.438, 2nd), on base percentage (.490, 5th), triples (4, 4th), and stolen bases (28, 3rd). In addition, she started all 52 of VSU’s games at shortstop and racked up 103 total bases and 28 RBI’s in the process.

Morgan, who has started as a left fielder in every game Valdosta State has played during her three seasons with the program, made her second All-GSC appearance this year, following up a Second Team honor last season. The junior slugger ranked fourth in the Gulf South Conference with 12 homers on the year, which boosted career total to 35. She also hit .295 on the season with 40 RBI’s and eight doubles to go along with 30 runs scored and 90 total bases. She committed just two errors in 68 chances in left field, while delivering seven assists, two of which came last weekend against UNA.

Serving as Valdosta State’s cleanup hitter for the majority of the 2017 season, Hartenbach has spent a ton of time on the basepaths. Her .503 on base percentage places her fourth in the GSC, and she also ranks among the league’s top ten in RBI’s (43, 8th), walks (34, T-2nd), sacrifice bunts (12, T-2nd), and sacrifice flies (7, 1st).

Second team honorees for Valdosta State included Canara, Cruthers, and Carter. Canara, who was named the GSC Player of the Week on Tuesday, led the league in doubles (15) and ranked third in the conference in home runs (13). Cruthers, who tied Canara for the league lead in doubles and slugged eight home runs on the year, led the conference in RBI’s (63) and ranked among the top five in the country in the same category. Finally, Carter caught the attention of league coaches with her incredible 17-3 record.

The Blazers now turn their attention to the GSC Tournament and will square off against North Alabama in a first round matchup on Friday in Huntsville, Ala. Look for coverage right here at www.vstateblazers.com.

FIRST TEAM ALL-CONFERENCE

Pos. Name School Year Hometown
DP Jacey Castro West Florida Sr. Chuluota, Fla.
C Carly Crawford Mississippi College Fr. Hattiesburg, Miss.
1B Audrey Diekmann West Alabama Jr. Niceville, Fla.
2B Sierra Stella West Georgia So. Warner Robins, Ga.
3B Kaitlyn Bannister ^** UAH Sr. Albertville, Ala.
SS Jessica Mohl Valdosta State Jr. West Palm Beach, Fla.
OF Taylor Hartenbach Valdosta State Jr. Marietta, Ga.
OF Katherine Lee Mississippi College Jr. Monroe, La.
OF Brandy Morgan ^ Valdosta State Jr. Jasper, Fla.
P Hillary Carpenter *** North Alabama Sr. Hatton, Ala.
P Tyler Harrison ^^* UAH Sr. Mobile, Ala.
P Becca Taylor West Florida Sr. Panama City, Fla.
At-Large Tylan Buckley Mississippi College Sr. Philadelphia, Miss.
At-Large Ericka Bynum Shorter Sr. Ringgold, Ga.
At-Large Rhiannon Sassman ^ West Florida So. Orlando, Fla.

SECOND TEAM ALL-CONFERENCE

Pos. Name School Year Hometown
DP Marissa Hancock North Alabama Jr. Geraldine, Ala.
DP Mari Alex Sandridge Delta State Fr. Hernando, Miss.
C Caitlin Steel West Florida Sr. Concord, N.C.
1B Hayley Cruthers Valdosta State Sr. Swartz Creek, Mich.
2B Meghan Toney ^ West Florida Jr. Huntsville, Ala.
3B Chelsea Canara Valdosta State Sr. Milton, Ga.
SS Abi Gibson Delta State So. Coldwater, Miss.
OF Tiffany Holland ^ Shorter So. Chickamauga, Ga.
OF Haley Thompson Mississippi College Sr. Booneville, Miss.
OF Shelby Woodard North Alabama So. Mt. Juliet, Tenn.
P Leigh Beatenbough Lee Jr. Canon, Ga.
P Kathryn Carter Valdosta State Fr. Hinesville, Ga.
P Kalei Clark Shorter Sr. Chickamauga, Ga.
P Taylor Moran Lee Fr. Chattanooga, Tenn.

* Indicates previous First Team All-GSC selection
^ Indicates previous Second Team All-GSC selection

Player of the Year: Kaitlyn Bannister, UAH
Pitcher of the Year: Tyler Harrison, UAH
Freshman of the Year: Raven Smith, West Georgia
Coach of the Year: Les Stuedeman, UAH

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