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Six Lady Flames Earn All-Conference Accolades

May 11, 2011  Rock Hill, S.C.  RSS
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From left: Amber DePasquale, Keely McMillon, Kelly Strickland, Kaylee West, Katrina Johnson, Ashley Bensinger.

From left: Amber DePasquale, Keely McMillon, Kelly Strickland, Kaylee West, Katrina Johnson, Ashley Bensinger.

Kelly Strickland was named the Big South Co-Player of the Year, and three Liberty seniors won their first career all-conference honors, Wednesday evening, at the conference banquet on the eve of the 2011 Big South Softball Championship.

Strickland, a junior second baseman, was named Co-Player of the Year along with Radford second baseman Nichole Beall. She becomes the fourth player in Liberty history to win the award, and the first since Liberty assistant coach Jessica Moore took the honor in 2005 and 2007.

Strickland tops the Big South with 15 home runs and ranks No. 1 in the league with 38 runs scored. She is currently tied for first in the conference with 44 RBIs and sits at No. 2 with a slugging percentage of .671. 

The Tabor City, N.C. native has posted 17 multi-hit games this season and recorded 11 contests with multiple RBIs, including back-to-back, six-RBI games against Hampton and Norfolk State.
She posted a team-high 14-game hitting streak and her .342 average at the dish is good for No. 4 in the Big South Conference.

Seniors Ashley Bensinger and Keely McMillon were both named to the Big South all-conference first team, while fellow senior Amber DePasquale earned second team honors.

Also named to the all-conference second team was junior first baseman Kaylee West, marking her first career all-conference honor as well.

Sophomore Katrina Johnson, who was named the 2010 Co-Freshman of the Year, picked up second team all-conference honors. The molecular biology major was also named to this year's Big South All-Academic team.

Radford's Jackie Jenkins was named the Pitcher of the Year, while Gardner-Webb's Samantha Meenaghan was tabbed the Freshman of the Year and the Highlanders' Chelsea Kelly was honored as Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Mickey Dean of Radford was voted the 2011 Big South Coach of the Year, winning the honor for the third straight year.

The tournament begins tomorrow at 10 a.m., and No. 2 seed Liberty will face No. 7 seed Winthrop at 12:30 p.m. in its opening contest.

2011 Big South Conference Softball Award Winners

First-Team All-Conference
OF: Tera Powell, Presbyterian College
OF: Melinda Dulkowski, Gardner-Webb
OF: Codee Yeske, Presbyterian College
1B: Morgan Baker, Gardner-Webb
2B: Nichole Beall, Radford
SS: Megan Lombard, Charleston Southern
3B: Ashley Bensinger, Liberty
C: Keely McMillon, Liberty

DP: Chelsey Schoenfeldt, Winthrop
UT: Samantha Meegnahan, Gardner-Webb
P: Jackie Jenkins, Radford
P: Leslie Hensley, Presbyterian College

Second Team All-Conference
OF: Jana Matthews, Charleston Southern
OF: Amber DePasquale, Liberty
OF: Veronica Berrie, Winthrop
1B: Kaylee West, Liberty (tie)
       Kathryn Eberlin, Winthrop (tie)
2B: Kelly Strickland, Liberty
SS: Megan Chapman, Winthrop
3B: Jessica Brock, Charleston Southern
C: Erin Kegley, Charleston Southern (tie)
     Chelsea Pineda, Coastal Carolina (tie)
DP: Stephanie Sbardella, Charleston Southern
UT: Taylor Cunningham, Radford
P: Katrina Johnson, Liberty

P: Stephanie Dameron, Radford

All-Academic Team
Erin Kegley, Charleston Southern
Sarah Maples, Coastal Carolina
Jane Savage, Gardner-Webb
Katrina Johnson, Liberty
Leslie Hensley, Presbyterian College
Chelsea Kelley, Radford
Kelly Blea, Winthrop

Co-Players of the Year
Kelly Strickland, Liberty

Nichole Beall, Radford

Pitcher of the Year
Jackie Jenkins, Radford

Freshman of the Year
Samantha Meenaghan, Gardner-Webb

Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Chelsea Kelley, Radford

Coach of the Year
Mickey Dean, Radford