SoCon Announces Softball All-Conference Teams, Individual Awards

Thursday, May 13, 2004

CHATTANOOGA, TN -- The Southern Conference announced its 2004 softball All-Conference teams and individual awards Wednesday night at the league's annual softball banquet. Headlining the selections was regular season champion Chattanooga, who earned league Player of the Year, Pitcher of the Year, and Coach of the Year honors as well as placing two student-athletes on the All-Conference first team. UTC's Melissa Ramirez was named Player of the Year by the league's coaches after leading the Lady Mocs to the school's eighth SoCon title with a team-best .356 batting average and 45 RBI. Teammate Lacey Swarthout was tabbed as the SoCon's Pitcher of the Year. In what was a record-breaking year for Swarthout, the junior set conference records for strikeouts (307) and innings pitched (302.2) in a season, and she needs just two more wins to tie for the most in a single campaign at 27. Freshman of the Year honors went to Georgia Southern's Maria Laurato, who had a conference freshman-high six home runs while playing at third base. UTC's Frank Reed was named Coach of the Year by his peers after leading the Lady Mocs to a 16-4 conference record and the SoCon regular season crown. Reed's squad went on a 17-game winning streak in April and topped 22nd-ranked Iowa early in March. In its first year as a Southern Conference member, Elon led all schools by placing three members on the first team and two on the second team. The Phoenix's first team selections were first baseman Jenny Gustin (.327, 16 2B), outfielder Jessica Swearengin (.345), and designated player Jamie Dupont (.299, 7 HR, 28 RBI). College of Charleston, the second place finishers in the regular season, placed four members on the all-conference squad, led by first team selections Amanda Cone and Bridgette Loudermilk. Cone, an outfielder, posted astounding numbers in 2004, leading the SoCon in batting average, hits, runs, RBI, doubles, home runs, total bases, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage while being on pace to set single-season SoCon records in seven of those categories. UNC Greensboro middle infielders Joni Gomez (.368, 9 HR, 32 RBI) and Jennifer Hubbard (.322, 10 HR, 29 RBI) were both first team selections as was Georgia Southern pitcher Cary Moone (14-11, 1.62, 198 K). Furman outfielder LaKerah Barr (.342, 65 H, 32 SB) was picked for the first team for the second consecutive season after leading the SoCon with a .403 batting average in league games. She was joined on the first team by Lady Paladins' catcher Jessica Matthews, (nine 2Bs) who was named to the 2002 squad as an outfielder. 2004 Southern Conference All-Conference Softball Teams First Team P Lacey Swarthout, Chattanooga P Cary Moone, Georgia Southern C Jessica Matthews, Furman 1B Jenny Gustin, Elon 2B Joni Gomez, UNC Greensboro SS Jennifer Hubbard, UNC Greensboro 3B Melissa Ramirez, Chattanooga OF Amanda Cone, College of Charleston OF LaKerah Barr, Furman OF Jessica Swearengin, Elon DP Jamie Dupont, Elon Utility Bridgette Loudermilk, College of Charleston Second Team P Rachael Stern, College of Charleston P Rachel Henley, Furman C Sarah Gough, Appalachian State 1B Jennifer Bonilla, UNC Greensboro 2B Brooke Flowers, College of Charleston SS Mary Beth Hazelwood, East Tennessee State 3B Maria Laurato, Georgia Southern OF Shanita Black, Georgia Southern OF Janine Sprague, East Tennessee State OF Dani Concepcion, Elon DP Kristyn Hurt, Appalachian State Utility Megan Borgaard, Elon Player of the Year: Melissa Ramirez, Chattanooga Pitcher of the Year: Lacey Swarthout, Chattanooga Freshman of the Year: Maria Laurato, Georgia Southern Coach of the Year: Frank Reed, Chattanooga