Five Players Garner All-Conference Recognition
FORT MYERS, Fla. – After finishing in third place in the Atlantic Sun, five FGCU softball players picked up postseason honors on Tuesday, highlighted by senior Courtney Platt (Naples, Fla./Gulf Coast) being named Player of the Year, announced by the league office. The A-Sun All-Conference teams are voted on by the conference head coaches.
Platt was also the only unanimously selected player to be named to the first team, while redshirt senior pitcher Catherine McDaniel (Melbourne, Fla./Florida Tech) earned second team honors. Newcomers Kirsten Bembnowski (Palm Harbor, Fla./East Lake), Emily Lanier (St. Cloud, Fla./Harmony) and Tori Willams (Dunnellon, Fla./Dunnellon) garnered spots on the All-Freshmen team.
This is Platt’s fourth All-Conference honor and second first team nod. FGCU has now had three players named Player of the Year in its four years in the A-Sun. Platt joins former players Cheyenne Jenks (2009) and Carmen Paez (2008) as honorees.
Platt led the Eagles and conference in several offensive categories, topping the A-Sun in batting average (.387), doubles (16), total bases (93) and walks (57). The Naples, Fla., product closed out the season sixth in the nation in walks per game (1.02) and was seventh in the nation in on-base percentage (.576). Platt had a team-best 30 RBI and tallied a hit in 37 out of 52 games, while producing 12 multi-hit games.
Platt ends her career as a four-time All-Conference outfielder and 2009 NFCA All-South Region first team member. Graduating in December with a degree in biology, Platt ends her career atop the FGCU record book in walks (175) and doubles (49), is second in on-base percentage (.514), fourth in RBI (124) and fifth in home runs (25), slugging percentage (.602) and triples (9). Platt was also a finalist for the Eagle Scholar Athlete award
“We are very proud of her unanimous selection to the first team and her well-deserved selection as Player of the Year,” said head coach David Deiros. “It is a wonderful way to wrap up her career. She has earned a tremendous amount of respect throughout the conference because of her tireless work ethic, positive attitude and infectious enthusiasm. She has had a fantastic four years for us but she really exhibited her value and versatility this season.
“When we needed her to move to the leadoff spot, she did a great job setting the table and led the conference in on-base percentage and runs scored. When we needed her to drive in runs, we moved her back to the three spot and she earned the A-Sun batting crown.”
McDaniel finished sixth in the conference with a 1.56 ERA, while striking out 124 in 170 innings. She recorded a 16-10 record and an outstanding 9-1 mark in conference play, which led the league. The Melbourne, Fla., product picked up her first two career saves this season while tossing five shutouts and two one-hitters. Giving up just 24 walks all season, McDaniel ranks 11th in the country in walks allowed per seven innings (0.99).
The redshirt senior closes out her three-year career at FGCU with the fourth-best ERA in program history at 2.16 and sits in fourth with 48 career wins. McDaniel finishes in third in the FGCU record book with 347 strikeouts over 474 innings pitched, while giving up just 1.49 walks per seven innings.
"Catherine concluded her stellar career at FGCU with arguably her best season ever,” said Deiros. “That's saying a lot considering she was 22-1 in 2009. She demonstrated tremendous poise, tenacity and leadership which helped her very young team compete in every game she pitched. She saved her best for last as she was almost unhittable in conference games as evidenced by her 9-1 record, low ERA, and multiple shutouts."
Bembnowski was a standout at third base, topping the conference in assists, while offensively posting a .225 average with five multi-hit outings. She tied for third on the team in doubles with five and was sixth in RBI with 15. Bembnowski was second in fielding percentage (.953) for infielders having only eight errors on 172 chances.
“Kirsten did a fantastic job as our starting third base, a position she had never played before this season,” said Deiros. “She was our team's Defensive Player of the Year because she topped the conference in assists while only committing eight errors.”
Lanier had a .250 average and was fourth on the team in extra-base hits, including five home runs and four doubles. She ranked sixth in the conference in walks (27) and seventh in on-base percentage (.416). Splitting time behind the plate and at first base, Lanier tallied a .984 fielding percentage.
“Emily showed great versatility on defense by starting games behind the plate and at first base,” said Deiros. “She has a tremendous patience and hand-eye coordination at the plate which made her one of our best run-producers.”
Williams exploded during conference play; closing out the season tied for third in runs scored (15) and tied for fourth in hits (22) in A-Sun games. She was second on the team with a .275 batting average and tallied 39 hits, good for third-best on the team. Williams tallied a hit in 15 of the last 20 games, including four multi-hit outings to help her build a .355 average in A-Sun action.
“Tori was our spark plug on both sides of the ball. She played second base and right field for the first time ever and did a fantastic job in both jobs. She had a great second half of the season at the plate and set the table for our improved offense in conference play.
The Eagles finished in third place in the conference after winning 10 out their last 14 games. FGCU would have made the A-Sun tournament in its first four years, but due to the NCAA reclassifying period the Eagles cannot participate in postseason competition. FGCU will be fully eligible for postseason play in 2012.
2011 Postseason Honors and Awards
Player of the Year: Courtney Platt, FGCU
Pitcher of the Year: Sarah Sigrest, Jacksonville
Freshman of the Year: Cortney Radke, UNF
Coach of the Year: Amanda Lehotak, Jacksonville *
First Team All-Atlantic Sun
Pos. Name School
P Sarah Sigrest Jacksonville
P Morgan Childers USC Upstate
C Sarah Simon Jacksonville
IF Lauren Quevedo USC Upstate
IF Jill Semento Stetson
IF Amanda Schmidt Jacksonville
IF Sam Lower ETSU
IF Amanda Miller Campbell
*OF Courtney Platt FGCU
OF Caroline Mason Lipscomb
OF Sharon Swanson Kennesaw State
UT Olivia Kline Jacksonville
* Unanimous Choice
** - A tie in voting resulted in a 12-person first team
Second Team All-Atlantic Sun
Pos. Name School
P Whitney Kiihnl Lipscomb
P Catherine McDaniel FGCU
C Katie Henderson ETSU
IF Katie Kelly Jacksonville
IF Ashlee Burkett Kennesaw State
IF Courtney Billington Lipscomb
IF Sara Stukes Mercer
IF Sarah Forgacs Campbell
IF Kaley Brosky UNF
OF Chrissy Morello Stetson
OF Kim Brasil USC Upstate
OF Sara Sikes Kennesaw State
UT Jessica Cross Kennesaw State
** A tie in voting resulted in a 13-person second team
Atlantic Sun All-Freshmen Team
*McKenzie Woody Mercer
Kristen Bembnowski FGCU
Emily Lanier FGCU
Tori Williams FGCU
Lauren Pollack UNF
Cortney Radke UNF
Hannah Alexander USC Upstate
Lindsey Kelly USC Upstate
Chrissy Morello Stetson
Jacey Warner Jacksonville
Haley Elliot Lipscomb
* Unanimous Choice