OXFORD, Ala. – Four University of Tennessee at Martin softball players were recognized for their spectacular seasons at the annual Ohio Valley Conference Softball Championship awards banquet on Tuesday night as Carly Gonzales and Jodie Duncan earned All-OVC first team honors while the battery pair of Brooke Kennedy and Aeron Smith earned second team honors.
The Skyhawks finished with the second-most yearly honorees behind only two-time defending OVC champion Jacksonville State as voted on by the league’s head coaches and sports information directors. The duo of Gonzales and Duncan become the first Skyhawk pair to receive first team honors in the same season since 2012. The team’s four All-OVC selections also rank as the most total selections since the 2012 season when the Skyhawks won the league.
Gonzales, a native of Anaheim, Calif., continued to build upon her inevitable Hall of Fame career by completing her sweep of yearly awards after garnering Freshman of the Year and All-Newcomer accolades in 2014, second team honors in 2016 and first team recognition as a senior. Gonzales ranks in the top-10 in 10 different categories in UT Martin history including batting average, at bats, runs scored, hits, singles, doubles, total bases, walks, extra base hits and stolen bases.
During her stellar senior campaign, Gonzales once again paced the Skyhawks with a .377 batting average while leading the OVC in runs scored (49), stolen bases (39), walks (32) and on base percentage (.518). Gonzales also ranks 11th nationally with her 39 stolen bases while ranking 28th in on base percentage and 31st in runs scored per game (0.96). As a whole, Gonzales has tallied 11 doubles, two triples, one home run and 11 RBIs at the plate – including a .429 batting average in conference play. The year has also been highlighted by 19 multi-hit performances, a 12-game hitting streak which stretched much of conference play and a running streak of 28 consecutive games reaching base.
Duncan, a native of Munford, Tenn., has experienced a career year in 2017. Manning the hot corner, Duncan ranks third in the OVC in RBIs, sixth in hits and 10th in batting average. For the season, she has posted a .363 batting average, 57 hits, nine doubles, six home runs and 42 RBIs. She has also posted a .535 slugging percentage along with a .413 on base percentage. In conference play alone, Duncan has posted a .389 average with two doubles, three home runs and 15 RBIs.
The junior lefty enters the OVC Softball Championships riding a four-game hitting streak. Duncan has tallied 17 multi-hit contests – including a four-hit performance against Western Michigan. She also posted a 15-game stretch to close out the season where she hit .357, belted three home runs and drove in 18 runs.
Kennedy, a native of Bath Springs, Tenn., ranked as one of the league’s best starting pitchers once again. The senior righty is currently 20-5 overall mark while posting a 2.87 ERA in 153.2 innings of work. Kennedy also ranks as the only OVC pitcher to finish league play undefeated, going 10-0 with one save and a 1.99 ERA in 67 innings of work. She currently ranks third in wins (20), fourth in starts (25), sixth in complete games (17), sixth in innings pitched (153.2), ninth in shutouts (three) and 10th in strikeouts (118). She also became just the fourth player in program history to win 20 games in a single season while sitting in third place with 48 career victories.
Smith, a native of Bowling Green, Ky., posted her best offensive year of her career behind the plate. Smith posted a .298 batting average with five doubles, one home run and 22 RBIs on the season. The junior ranked as the second best catcher in terms of batting average in conference play (.298) while proving to be a force defensively. Splitting reps behind the plate for much of the season before taking over fulltime midway through conference play, Smith posted a .969 fielding percentage while tallying 158 putouts and 27 assists while catching 12 would-be base stealers – throwing out 36 percent of attempted stolen bases.
The quartet and the No. 2 seeded Skyhawks will look to show off their hardware on Wednesday, May 10 when opening play in the OVC Softball Championship against No. 7 seed Tennessee Tech. First pitch from Choccolocco Park is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.
2017 All-Ohio Valley Conference Softball Teams
P - Haley Chambers-Book (SIUE) - Sr., Coatesville, Ind.
P - Whitney Gillespie (Jacksonville State) - Jr., Pelham, Ala.
C - Jamie McGuire (Jacksonville State) - Sr., Glencoe, Ala.
IF - Jessica Twaddle (Murray State) - Sr., Franklin, Tenn.
IF - Rachel Minogue (Eastern Kentucky) - So., Corona, Calif.
IF - Allison Rager (Morehead State) - So., Elkview, W.Va.
IF - Jodie Duncan (UT Martin) - Jr., Munford, Tenn.
OF - Carly Gonzales (UT Martin) - Sr., Anaheim, Calif.
OF - Rachel Anderson (Southeast Missouri) - Fr., Edwardsville, Ill.
OF - Paige Murphy (Eastern Kentucky) - Jr., Louisville, Ky.
OF - Leila Chambers (Jacksonville State) - Jr., Molena, Ga.
UTIL/DP - Kylie Holton (Morehead State) - Jr., Macclenny, Fla.
UTIL/DP - Alyssa Richards (Tennessee Tech) - Sr., Italy, Texas
(13 people appear on the first team due to ties)
2017 OVC PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Jessica Twaddle, Murray State
2017 OVC PITCHER OF THE YEAR: Haley Chambers-Book, SIUE
2017 OVC FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: Rachel Anderson, Southeast Missouri
2017 OVC COACH OF THE YEAR: Jana McGinnis, Jacksonville State
P - Mason Robinson (Murray State) - Sr., Lewis Center, Ohio
P - Brooke Kennedy (UT Martin) - Sr., Bath Springs, Tenn.
C - Aeron Smith (UT Martin) - Jr., Bowling Green, Ky.
IF - Anna Chisolm (Jacksonville State) - So., St. Louis, Mo.
IF - Allison Smiley (SIUE) - Sr., Johnston City, Ill.
IF - Krislyn Campos (Eastern Kentucky) - Sr., Las Vegas, Nev.
IF - Brenna Finck (Murray State) - So., Maroa, Ill.
IF - Sarah Lopesilvero (SIUE) - Sr., Simpsonville, Ky.
OF - Alyssa Heren (SIUE) - So., Saline, Mich.
OF - Emily Woodruff (Jacksonville State) - Jr., Albertville, Ala.
OF - Stephanie Lewis (Jacksonville State) - Sr., Fort Meade, Fla.
UTIL/DP - Lexi Rouse (Belmont) - Jr., Macon, Ga.
UTIL/DP - Haley Mitchell (Eastern Illinois) - Fr., San Gabriel, Calif.
(13 people appear on the second team due to ties)
Rachel Anderson (Southeast Missouri) - OF, Fr., Edwardsville, Ill.
Brooklin Lee (Belmont) - P, Fr., Burns, Tenn.
Chelsea McManaway (Morehead State) - P, Jr., Wellston, Ohio
Sarah Lopesilvero (SIUE) - IF, Sr., Simpsonville, Ky.
Kylie Holton (Morehead State) - DP, Jr., Macclenny, Fla.
Zoe Schafer (SIUE) - IF, Fr., Noblesville, Ind.
Kaylee Ranburger (Murray State) - OF, Fr., Owensboro, Ky.
Emily Ingles (SIUE) - P, Fr., Scottsdale, Ariz.
Mia Davis (Eastern Illinois) - OF, Fr., LaGrange Park, Ill.
Haley Mitchell (Eastern Illinois) - DP - Fr., San Gabriel, Calif.
Mollie Paulick (Eastern Kentucky) - P, Fr., Centerville, Ohio
Mykaela Arellanes (Southeast Missouri) - OF, So., Foristell, Mo.