FGCUAthletics.com
Jenks Earns Preseason Player of the Year Honors, Eagles Predicted to Finish Second
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Jessica Paez earned a spot on the Preseason All-Conference Team.
Jessica Paez earned a spot on the Preseason All-Conference Team.

FORT MYERS, Fla. – With conference softball teams set to open the 2009 season in the coming days, the Atlantic Sun Conference announced the results of its annual preseason softball poll Thursday afternoon. In a very close race, the league coaches selected USC Upstate to capture the conference title, edging out FGCU by only five points. Upstate sophomore pitcher Morgan Childers was named Preseason Pitcher of the Year, while FGCU’s starting third baseman Cheyenne Jenks was named the Preseason Player of the Year.

The Spartans return seven starters including 2008 Pitcher-of-the-Year and Freshman-of-the-Year Morgan Childers. The right-hander earned the coaches' nod as the preseason Pitcher of the Year. During her outstanding freshman campaign, she led the A-Sun in wins (27), ERA (1.37) and opponent's batting average (.171). The Kings Mountain, N.C. native, earned the victory in 12 of USC Upstate's 16 conference win. He 258 strikeouts ranked fourth in the conference and established a Spartans' single-season school record.

FGCU followed in second place, trailing Upstate by only five points. A pair of 2008 First-Team All-Conference players, shortstop Jessica Paez and third baseman Cheyenne Jenks earned a spot on the preseason list. Paez and Jenks both earned spots on the 2008 All-Atlantic Sun team after earning a share of the regular-season title with Lipscomb and USC Upstate. In 2008, Paez was named FGCU Softball Co-Newcomer of the Year, hit .336 with four triples and 12 doubles, drive in 46 runs, and finished third on the team with 12 homeruns. Jenks, in addition to being selected to the preseason list, was named the Preseason Player of the Year. During her junior year, she was named to the NFCA Southeast All-Region First Team, hit .398 with 16 homeruns and a .738 slugging percentage, and finished the season with 73 RBI, which set a new A-Sun record and ranked her tied-3rd in the nation.

Stetson landed third on the poll and placed infielder Andrea Migliori on the Preseason All-Conference list. Migliori established herself as one of the most feared sluggers in the nation. She batted .337 for the second straight year and broke her own school records with 20 home runs and 65 RBI. The senior tied for seventh in the nation in home runs and was the only underclassman to go deep 20 times.

Rounding out the top of the list, Kennesaw State, Lipscomb and Mercer secured the fourth through sixth slots. Lipscomb shortstop Abby Keese and designated player Kellie Sirus grabbed preseason All-Conference honors. Keese and Sirus earned second-team All-Conference honors after the Lady Bisons shared the regular season title, their best finish since joining the conference in 2004. Outfielder Holly Oglesbee represented the Bears on the list.

Campbell, the 2008 A-Sun Tournament Champions, took the seventh spot with UNF and ETSU placing eighth and ninth. Osprey pitcher Devyn Findley and catcher Ashley Battaglia join outfielders Katie Hinton, from the Camels and Katy Jett, of the Lady Buccaneers, on the preseason team. Findley tied with Childers with a conference leading 1.37 ERA and compiled a career-high 228 strikeouts, while throwing 26 complete games – four of which were shutouts – and holding opponents to a .182 batting average. Battaglia threw out 40 percent of would-be base stealers on the year, while committing only six errors in 2008.

The Atlantic Sun's 24th season begins on February 6 when UNF travels to the USF Tournament to face UNC Greensboro. The season will conclude in DeLand, Fla., for the Atlantic Sun Championship to be held from May 7-9. This season marks the sixth time the Hatters will serve as the host of the tournament. Stetson hosted in 1987, 1991, 1994, 2006 and 2007. The Hatters won in 1987 as well as 2006.

The Atlantic Sun Conference is an 11-member league committed to Building Winners for Life. The A-Sun stands for achievement with integrity in both the academic and athletic arenas, with a focus on the balance between the two for our student-athletes. Headquartered in Macon, Ga., the A-Sun boasts six of the top eight media markets in the Southeast. The A-Sun includes a blend of the most prestigious and dynamic private and public institutions in the region: Belmont University, Campbell University, East Tennessee State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, Mercer University, University of North Florida, University of South Carolina Upstate and Stetson University.

 

 

Rank

School

Pts (First Place)

1.

USC Upstate

112 (6)

2.

FGCU

107 (4)

3.

Stetson

91

4.

Kennesaw State

77

5.

Lipscomb

75

6.

Mercer

66 (1)

7.

Campbell

64

8.

UNF

53

9.

ETSU

44

10.

Jacksonville

22

11.

Belmont

15

Tournment Champ: Stetson

Position

Name

Class

School

Pitcher

Morgan Childers

So.

USC Upstate

Pitcher

Devyn Findley

Jr.

UNF

Catcher

Ashley Battaglia

Sr.

UNF

Infielder

Cheyenne Jenks

Sr.

FGCU

Infielder

Abby Keese

Jr.

Lipscomb

Infielder

Andrea Migliori

Sr.

Stetson

Infielder

Jessica Paez

Sr.

FGCU

Outfielder

Katie Hinton

So.

Campbell

Outfielder

Katy Jett

Jr.

ETSU

Outfielder

Holly Oglesbee

Jr.

Mercer

Designated Player

Kellie Sirus

Jr.

Lipscomb

Preseason Player of the Year: Cheyenne Jenks, FGCU
Preseason Pitcher of the Year: Morgan Childers, USC Upstate