Six Thunderbirds Named to Big Sky All-Conference Team
OGDEN, Utah - With just one day left until the start of the Big Sky Championship Tournament, the Big Sky conference has released the results of the softball All-Conference poll and six Thunderbirds have earned 2017 All-Conference honors.
Seniors Morgan Leonard and Karlee Manzione earned First Team All-Conference honors with Leonard earning the most votes in the catcher position and Manzione taking the top spot in the utility position. The senior leaders can be found near the top of almost every statistical category on the team including batting average, slugging percentage, and on base percentage. Manzione hit a whopping .390 this season in Big Sky conference play and Leonard, a defensive force behind the plate, threw out 11 runners and only committed one error all season. This is the second All-Conference honor for both, as Manzione was named to the second team and Leonard was named honorable mention in 2016.
Senior Megan Reed and junior Sarah Murphy have been named to the All-Conference Second Team, Reed in the first base position and Murphy in one of three outfield positions. Reed and Murphy are the only two Thunderbirds to start every game this season for Southern Utah. Reed leads the team in batting average(.353), on base percentage(.444), and putouts(286). Murphy leads the Thunderbirds in hits(44), stolen bases(13), and total plate appearances(162).
Murphy was also named Co-Newcomer of the Year in the Big Sky. The transfer from California Baptist University shared the award with Idaho State's Haley Harrison.
Sophomore Kendall Kapitzke and redshirt freshman Nicole Simonson earned All-Conference honorable mention honors. Kapitzke leads the Thunderbirds in multiple offensive categories including slugging percentage(.590), runs scored(26), RBIs(31), and home runs(8). Simonson has been a staple in right field in her first season of competition for Southern Utah and is currently riding a fourteen game hitting streak.
Idaho State's Kacie Burnett was named Player of the Year and North Dakota's Kaylin VanDomelen was named Pitcher of the Year. Freshman of the Year went to Weber State's Takesha Saltern.
The Thunderbirds will compete for a Big Sky title this weekend in Ogden, Utah. They will open the tournament Thursday morning against the North Dakota Fighting Hawks at 9:30 a.m.
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