Six Bucs recognized as Big South announces annual softball awards

Six Bucs recognized as Big South announces annual softball awards

CHARLESTON, S.C. - Six Buccaneers were recognized among the annual Big South Conference award winners on Tuesday afternoon as the conference office announced the 2018 Softball All-Conference awards.

Junior outfielder Jade Gandara and sophomore utility player Mallory Kasinger both received First Team All-Conference recognition, while junior outfielder Annie Bakenhus was named to the Second Team. Third baseman Sarah Brown and outfielder Meghan Gagliano were honored on the All-Freshman Team, while senior Laina Holmgren was recognized on the All-Academic Team.

Gandara paced the Bucs on the year and finished third in the Big South in both batting average (.395) and slugging percentage (.741). She was also in the top 10 in the conference in on-base percentage, hits, RBI, triples, home runs, and total bases. Her 14 home runs was the fifth-most by a CSU player in a single season and she finished the year in the top 10 in multiple career categories in earning her second consecutive First Team All-Conference recognition.

Kasinger slugged her way onto the conference's First Team at the utility position after lining up 31 games at catcher, 22 at first base, two in right field and once at designated player. She led the Bucs with 11 doubles on the season and finished second on the team with 12 home runs and 41 RBI, sitting among the conference leaders in all three categories.

Bakenhus was one of the toughest outs at the plate in the Big South this season finishing the year as the second-hardest player to strikeout in the conference on the season. Her .353 batting average was second on the team behind Gandara and ninth overall in the conference. Over the final weekend of the season, the junior collected four doubles and a home run in an effort to propel the Buccaneers into the postseason.

Brown was a stalwart in the heart of the CSU lineup all season and finished among the conference's freshmen leaders in hits, home runs, and RBI. She started all 56 games at third base and led the Big South with 130 assists on the year. A five-tool player on the field, Brown also flashed her speed on the base paths with 15 stolen bases in 16 attempts.

Gagliano's speed was a difference-maker on the base paths for the Bucs all year as her 23 thefts were second in the conference. She was also an additional 10-for-10 in stolen bases in conference play with her efforts key to CSU breaking the Bucs' single season team stolen base record in 2018 with 95 steals. She was also one of nine players in the conference to post a perfect fielding percentage.

Holmgren provided heart in the CSU dugout and on the field with the senior utility player spending time primarily as a pinch-hitter and a defensive replacement. She posted RBI doubles in three separate games on the year and boasted a perfect 4.00 GPA while majoring in Social and Human Science and minoring in Natural Science.

Gardner-Webb freshman Katie Prebble and Liberty junior Julia DiMartino were voted Big South Softball Player of the Year and Pitcher of the Year, respectively, by the league's head coaches.  In addition, Lady Flames' head coach Dot Richardson was voted Big South Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season, while Prebble also earned Freshman of the Year honors.  Campbell's Caroline Smith (Wilson, N.C.) was voted Scholar-Athlete of the Year by the Big South's sports information directors.

First-Team All-Conference
OF    Jade Gandara, Jr., Charleston Southern

OF    Andria Booth, Jr., Gardner-Webb
OF    Madison Via, Fr., Liberty
1B     Katie Prebble, Fr., Gardner-Webb (tie)
1B     Autumn Bishop, Soph., Liberty (tie)
2B    Amber Bishop, Soph., Liberty
SS    Caroline Smith, Jr., Campbell
3B    Rachel McCollum, R-Soph., Campbell
C      Kaylynn Batten, Jr., Longwood
P      Julia DiMartino, Jr., Liberty
P      Sydney Gay, Jr., Longwood
DP    Lizabeth McCurry, R-Sr., Campbell
UTL   Mallory Kasinger, Soph., Charleston Southern 

Second-Team All-Conference
OF    Kaylee Wacaster, Jr., Gardner-Webb
OF    Annie Bakenhus, Jr., Charleston Southern
OF    Tori Zavodny, Sr., Liberty
1B     Ansley Gilreath, Soph., Winthrop
2B    Destiny Martinez, Soph., Longwood
SS    Sarah Robertson, Jr., Liberty
3B    Jaclyn Amader, Jr., Liberty
C      Ashley Westbrooks, Soph., Winthrop
P      Chase Cassady, Jr., Liberty
P      Kiley Majette, Jr., Winthrop
DP    Karleigh Donovan, Jr., Longwood
UTL   Macy Hyatt, Fr., Presbyterian 

Honorable Mention All-Conference
Jasmeen Click, OF, Jr., Liberty
Jordan Clark, OF, Jr., Longwood
Krista Kelly, OF, Sr., Longwood
Abby Morrow, P, Sr., Radford
Kayla Huffman, P, Jr., Radford 

All-Freshman Team
Katie Prebble, 1B, Gardner-Webb
Sydney Backstrom, P, Longwood
Madison Via, OF, Liberty
Talia Douglas, 3B, Radford
Katie Manring, INF, Campbell
Katie Stettler, SS, Gardner-Webb
Sarah Brown, 3B, Charleston Southern
Macy Hyatt, UTL, Presbyterian
Bri Bryant, OF, Campbell
Jenna Dunn, OF, Longwood
Meghan Gagliano, OF, Charleston Southern
Brianna Mills, OF, Radford

All-Academic Team
Caroline Smith, SS, Jr., Campbell
Laina Holmgren, UTL, Sr., Charleston Southern
Ashley Wark, P, Sr., Gardner-Webb
Jessica Cicerchia, 2B, Sr., Liberty
Jessica Smith, 3B, Jr., Longwood
Jonnie Petree, UTL, Jr., Presbyterian
Marissa Gagliano, SS, Jr., Radford
Blake Wallert, INF, Jr., Winthrop 

Player of the Year
Katie Prebble, 1B, Fr., Gardner-Webb

Pitcher of the Year
Julia DiMartino, Jr., Liberty 

Freshman of the Year
Katie Prebble, 1B, Gardner-Webb 

Coach of the Year
Dot Richardson, Liberty 

Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Caroline Smith, SS, Jr., Campbell

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