CHARLOTTE, N.C. (www.BigSouthSports.com) - Radford shortstop Nichole Beall (Culpeper, Va.) and Radford head coach Mickey Dean have been voted Big South softball Player of the Year and Coach of the Year, respectively, by the League's head coaches, it was announced this evening at the annual softball awards banquet held at the Dedmon Center on the campus of Radford University. Radford junior Jackie Jenkins (Mechanicsville, Va.) was voted the Big South's Pitcher of the Year, while Campbell outfielder Stephanie Jones (Black Mountain, N.C.) and Coastal Carolina third baseman Kory Hayden (West Palm Beach, Fla.) earned Co-Freshman of the Year honors. Jane Savage (Marietta, Ga.) of Gardner-Webb was voted Scholar-Athlete of the Year by the League's sports information directors.
Beall leads the Big South with 49 runs, 13 doubles, 13 home runs, 108 total bases and 29 stolen bases. Her .484 on-base percentage is tops in the League and her .735 slugging percentage is ranked No. 1. In Conference games, she currently ranks first with 25 runs, second in stolen bases with 13, tied for second with six doubles and third with five home runs. Last year's Big South Co-Player of the Year, Beall started in every game for the Highlanders this season and posted a team-high 13 multi-hit games this season. She recorded homers off two of the top pitchers in the country, including two against Stephanie Ricketts of Hawai'i and one vs. UNC's Lori Spingola. Beall received six of the eight first-place votes and 14 total points, finishing ahead of Coastal Carolina's Kory Hayden, who totaled one first-place nod and five points in the voting.
Dean earns his fourth consecutive Big South Coach of the Year honor after guiding his squad to a 32-19 overall record and the Big South regular-season championship with a 16-5 mark in Conference play. Under his leadership, Dean's team garnered its highest NCAA RPI earlier this season at 34 and currently holds the League's top RPI at 53. In addition to capturing his 300th coaching victory in 2012, Dean led his team to an upset win over then No. 20 and previously undefeated Florida State on March 3, earning the highest win over a ranked opponent in program history. The Highlanders currently rank No. 2 in the League with a .287 average at the plate and are first in the Big South with an ERA of 1.94. Dean tallied seven first-place votes and 15 points, finishing ahead of Charleston Southern head coach Shane Winkler (one first-place vote and four points).
Jenkins was tops in the Big South in Conference play, recording a League-best 10 wins, 1.37 ERA and fewest walks per seven innings with 1.28. Her two shutouts on the year ties her for first-place and she held the opposition to a .192 batting average, ranking her second in the League. The junior is tied for second in overall shutouts with four and third with 15 wins and three saves. Jenkins, who repeats as Big South Pitcher of the Year, received three of the eight first-place votes for eight total points to edge Coastal Carolina's Kiana Quolas, who garnered three first-place votes and seven total points.
Jones leads the Conference with 45 RBI and is tied for the League-lead with 13 doubles. She also has the third-most hits with 60 and total bases with 93. The outfielder ranks fifth with 16 stolen bases and sixth in the League with a .347 batting average. Jones posted a team-high 13 multi-RBI games on the season and is second on the squad with 16 multi-hit games. Her .538 slugging percentage was good for sixth in the League, and she totaled the second-most hits in the Conference with 25.
Hayden ranks in the top three in five offensive categories, including her League-leading 13 home runs. The third baseman ranked second in the Conference with 40 RBI, 104 total bases and a .483 on-base percentage. Hayden totaled 13 multi-RBI games and 14 multi-hit games on the season. She amassed a .722 slugging percentage on the season while fielding .980 at the hot corner.
Savage has played in 42 games this year, starting in 38, and was recently named a 2012 George A. Christenberry Award winner, which is the Conference's highest academic award. A two-time Big South Conference Presidential Honor Roll member, Savage recorded a career-high five outfield assists and is perfect in stolen base attempts this season. The senior was voted to the All-Academic Team last season and was nominated for CoSIDA Academic All-America honors. The outfielder also totaled 11 runs and four RBI on 16 hits this season. Savage tallied six first-place votes and 59 points, ahead of Kristin Kelleher of Charleston Southern with 43 points.
Also announced Wednesday night were the First- and Second-Team All-Conference selections as well as the annual All-Academic Team. The awards announcement serves as the kickoff for the 2012 Softball Championship presented by Musco Sports Lighting and Brookwood Farms BBQ. Play begins Thursday at the Radford Softball Field in Radford, Va., with six games scheduled throughout the day. The championship game is slated for Sunday at 12:00pm and will be televised live nationally on ESPNU.
2012 BIG SOUTH CONFERENCE SOFTBALL AWARD WINNERS
OF: Meredith Crisante, Liberty
OF: Stephanie Jones, Campbell
OF: Hannah Ojeda, Radford
1B: Morgan Baker, Gardner-Webb
2B: Samantha Meenaghan, Gardner-Webb *
SS: Nichole Beall, Radford *
3B: Kory Hayden, Coastal Carolina
C: Taylor McGee, Campbell
DP: Chelsey Schoenfeldt, Winthrop
UT: Sarah Maples, Coastal Carolina
P: Jackie Jenkins, Radford
P: Kiana Quolas, Coastal Carolina
Second Team All-Conference
OF: Jana Matthews, Charleston Southern
OF: Katie Zavodny, Liberty
OF: Sarah Forgacs, Campbell
OF: Tera Powell, Presbyterian College
1B: Jessie Hutchens, Radford
2B: Jackie Warr, Radford
SS: Ericka Nesbitt, Campbell
3B: Vicki Madden, Radford
C: McKenzie Morenus, Gardner-Webb
DP: Raven Lee, Campbell
UT: Amanda Gomes, Gardner-Webb
P: Cindy Boomhower, Gardner-Webb
P: Morgan Dowdy, Charleston Southern
Taylor McGee, Campbell
Kristin Kelleher, Charleston Southern
Sarah Maples, Coastal Carolina
Jane Savage, Gardner-Webb
Sammi Shivock, Liberty
Morgan Durham, Presbyterian College
Ryndee Ruch, Radford
Chelsey Schoenfeldt, Winthrop
Player of the Year
Nichole Beall, Radford
Pitcher of the Year
Jackie Jenkins, Radford
Co-Freshman of the Year
Stephanie Jones, Campbell
Kory Hayden, Coastal Carolina
Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Jane Savage, Gardner-Webb
Coach of the Year
Mickey Dean, Radford
* - unanimous selection