HIGH POINT, N.C. – Lees-McRae College's Kara Cunningham has been named the 2019 Conference Carolinas Player of the Year, while Erskine College's Hannah Houge earned the Conference Carolinas Pitcher of the Year, respectively. Lydia Clanton of Southern Wesleyan University nabbed Freshman of the Year honors, while Erskine College's Alleen Hawkins repeated as the Coach of the Year, the Conference announced today.
New to the Conference Carolinas postseason award offering is the Elite 23 Award. The Elite 23 Award is modeled after the NCAA's Elite 90 Award, which is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative GPA at their respective championship site. The inaugural winner for softball is Southern Wesleyan's Kali Berrigan.
Cunningham, a senior from Indian Trail, N.C., led the Bobcats in runs scored (26), hits (42), doubles (13), batting average (.420) and on-base percentage (.450). In addition to the work offensively, Cunningham was also the team’s top pitcher leading the staff in appearances (22), starts (16), wins (10), saves (2), complete games (14), innings pitched (125), strikeouts (130) and ERA (2.07).
Houge, a sophomore from Boiling Springs, S.C., was named Pitcher of the Year after turning in a dominating season in the circle for Erskine. Houge finished the season 16-5 and 9-1 in conference action with her 1.10 ERA currently ranking 10th in the country, while she is fourth in the country in shutouts with 10.
Clanton, a freshman from Waynesboro, Miss., led the Warriors with a .406 batting average and .740 slugging percentage this season. Over 123 plate appearances, Clanton recorded 39 hits including 10 doubles, two triples and six home runs with 33 RBIs.
Hawkins was named Coach of the Year after the Flying Fleet won the program’s first regular season conference championship. Erskine finished the regular season with a school record 33 wins. Hawkins rode a pitching staff that leads the conference in ERA (1.56), shutouts (18), and batting average against (.183). The Fleet offense leads the conference in home runs (30), and is third in triples (7), third in extra base hits (90), and fourth in total bases (449).
Berrigan, a junior exercise science major from Goose Creek, S.C., sports a cumulative 4.0 GPA. Berrigan batted .214 with 18 hits, eight RBI and 16 runs scored.
All-Conference Carolinas First Team
1B - Payton Whitley, Belmont Abbey
2B - Lydia Clanton, Southern Wesleyan
3B - Shi Cain, Erskine
SS - Brooklyn Stone, North Greenville
DP - Emily Merriam, Lees-McRae
UTL - Megan New, Southern Wesleyan
C - Taylor Koon, North Greenville
C - Claire Doyle, Belmont Abbey
OF - Reagan Davis, Erskine
OF - Kat Tate, Limestone
OF - Charlene Thompson, Mount Olive
P - Hannah Houge, Erskine
P - Jaelin Griffin, North Greenville
P - Casey Gilbert, King
All-Conference Carolinas Second Team
1B - Kay Brokering, King
2B - Ashley Parnell, Limestone
3B - Faith Cooke, Lees-McRae
SS - Vic Brewington, Limestone
DP - Megan Bryant, Mount Olive
UTL - Noelle Petty, Emmanuel
C - Caitlin Parks, Emmanuel
C - Katelyn Davidson, King
OF - Heather Childress, Mount Olive
OF - Lindsey Mason, Limestone
OF - Addie Nugent, Southern Wesleyan
P - Callie Richards, North Greenville
P - Morgan Hendrix, Erskine
P - Kara Cunningham, Lees-McRae
Player of the Year
Kara Cunningham, Lees-McRae
Pitcher of the Year
Hannah Houge, Erskine
Freshman of the Year
Lydia Clanton, Southern Wesleyan
Coach of the Year
Alleen Hawkins, Erskine
Elite 23 Award
Kali Berrigan, Southern Wesleyan
Regular Season Softball Champion
Conference Carolinas is a NCAA Division II athletics conference made up of 11 teams from Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. These institutions consist of: Barton College, Belmont Abbey College, Converse College, Emmanuel College, Erskine College, King University, Lees-McRae College, Limestone College, University of Mount Olive, North Greenville University, and Southern Wesleyan University.