AKRON, Ohio – The Mid-American Conference announced Tuesday the 2013 MAC Softball regular-season award winners, culminated by the All-MAC first team, the 2013 Player of the Year and the 2013 Pitcher of the Year. Voting was conducted by the 12 head coaches of the Mid-American Conference, in coordination with the conference office. The announcement comes out on the eve of the 2013 MAC Softball Tournament, which begins Wednesday, May 8th at Firestone Stadium in Akron Ohio.
Ball State junior Jennifer Gilbert was named the 2013 Player of the Year for the second year in a row, following a near triple crown season. Gilbert led the conference in batting (.451), hits (72), RBIs (65), and was second in the MAC in homeruns with 21. In addition Gilbert, who started all 50 games for the Cardinals in 2013, had a slugging percentage of .926 and an on base percentage of .526, both league bests. Gilbert becomes only the third player to repeat consecutively as the Player of the Year since the awards induction in 1988, joining Pam Stanley of Central Michigan and Lauren Clark of Eastern Michigan. This is the sixth time a Ball State Cardinal has earned the award.
On the mound, Kent State’s Emma Johnson earned her first Pitcher of the Year honors and the fifth in the Programs history. Johnson, a sophomore, was the conference’s only 20-game winner as she went 20-10 in 2013 with 34 appearances. Johnson held a 1.67 earned run average in her 197.0 innings pitched, striking out 196 batters and holding opponent batters to a .191 batting average.
Freshman Ball State pitcher, Nicole Steinbach has been named Freshman of the Year, after establishing herself as one of the top pitchers in the conference. Steinbach ranked fifth in ERA, fourth in wins and led the MAC with six complete game shutouts. For Steinbach and the Cardinals, this marks the first ever Freshman of the Year award in the programs history.
Ball State head coach Craig Nicholson was named Coach of the Year following the Cardinals impressive season, leading the Cardinals to a 35-15 overall record and going 18-2 in MAC play. The 18-2 mark in the MAC assured Ball State of the No. 1 overall seed in the 2013 MAC Softball Championship. For Nicholson, it is the second time he has been voted Coach of the Year by his peers and the third time a Cardinals manager has taken the honors.
Receiving the prestigious Nan Harvey Sportswoman of the Year Award was first baseman Jennifer Barnett of Northern Illinois. Nan Harvey was an integral part of the University at Buffalo family for over two decades her dedication and passion for women's sports and the game of softball were shown through her everyday commitment to excellence. This award is given in Nan's honor to a MAC player, coach or affiliate who demonstrates the type of commitment, leadership, toughness, and tenacious attitude that Nan Harvey epitomized. A four-year starter for NIU, Jennifer Barnett has battled injuries and undergone two surgeries to not only stay on the field, but to be a major contributor to the Northern Illinois softball team. A leader on and off the diamond, she is one of four team captains for the Huskies and certainly exemplifies the characteristics of the Nan Harvey Award.
Along with their individual honors, Gilbert, Johnson and Barnett were honored as three of the 15 members of the 2013 All-MAC First Team. Joining them were pitchers Jamie Kertes of Bowling Green and Kara Dornbos of Central Michigan, catchers Kayla Ledbetter of Miami and new single season homerun record holder Lauren Gellerman, first baseman Taylor Rager of Ball State, second baseman Amanda Stanton of Eastern Michigan, third baseman Diana Patterson of Toledo, shortstop Katy Blaharski of Eastern Michigan, outfielders Macy Merchant of Central Michigan and Nicole Gremillion of Northern Illinois, utility-pitcher Jenna Modic, and finally utility-fielder Hailey Reed.
Making up the 2013 All-MAC Second Team and joining Freshman of the Year Nicole Steinbach are pitchers Paris Imholz of Bowling Green and Tori Speckman of Buffalo, catcher Cory DeLamielleure of Central Michigan, first basemen Paige Berger of Bowling Green and Loren Nagy of Western Michigan, second baseman Courtney McCarthy of Toledo, third baseman Trista Cox of Central Michigan, shortstops Hannah Fulk of Bowling Green and Carol Ann Sexauer of Central Michigan, outfielders Amanda Carpenter of Ball State, Kim Kirkpatrick of Kent State, and Lindsey Tobias of Toledo, utility-pitcher Jessica Sturm of Northern Illinois and utility-fielder Chelsea Hortman of Ohio.
Finally, the 2013 MAC Softball regular-season awards are rounded out with the announcement of the 2013 All-Freshman team. Making up the All-Freshman squad was Akron’s Erin Seiler, Ball State’s Selena Reyna and Nicole Steinbach, Miami’s Jenna Modic, Hailey Reed and Taylor Shuey, Ohio’s Savannah Jo Dorsey, Toledo’s Jessica Lemieux and Western Michigan’s Loren Nagy and Melissa Palmer.
Complete list of 2013 MAC Softball Award Winners:
2013 MAC Softball Player of the Year
Jennifer Gilbert, Ball State
2013 MAC Softball Pitcher of the Year
Emma Johnson, Kent State
2013 MAC Softball Freshman of the Year
Nicole Steinbach, Ball State
2013 MAC Softball Coach of the Year
Craig Nicholson, Ball State
2013 Nan Harvey Sportswoman of the Year
Jennifer Barnett, Northern Illinois
2013 All-MAC Softball First Team
P Jamie Kertes, Bowling Green
P Kara Dornbos, Central Michigan
P Emma Johnson, Kent State
C Kayla Ledbetter, Miami
C Lauren Gellerman, Ohio
1B Taylor Rager, Ball State
1B Jennifer Barnett, Northern Illinois
2B Amanda Stanton, Eastern Michigan
3B Diana Patterson, Western Michigan
SS Katy Blaharski, Eastern Michigan
OF Jennifer Gilbert, Ball State
OF Macy Merchant, Central Michigan
OF Nicole Gremillion, Northern Illinois
UT(P) Jenna Modic, Miami
UT Hailey Reed, Miami
2013 All-MAC Softball Second Team
P Nicole Steinbach, Ball State
P Paris Imholz, Bowling Green
P Tori Speckman, Buffalo
C Cory DeLamielleure, Central Michigan
1B Paige Berger, Bowling Green
1B Loren Nagy, Western Michigan
2B Courtney McCarthy, Toledo
3B Trista Cox, Central Michigan
SS Hannah Fulk, Bowling Green
SS Carol Ann Sexauer, Central Michigan
OF Amanda Carpenter, Ball State
OF Kim Kirkpatrick, Kent State
OF Lindsey Tobias, Toledo
UT(P) Jessica Sturm, Northern Illinois
UT Chelsea Hortman, Ohio
2013 MAC Softball All-Freshman Team
Erin Seiler, Akron, P
Selena Reyna, Ball State, SS
Nicole Steinbach, Ball State, P
Jenna Modic, Miami, P/IF
Hailey Reed, Miami, IF/OF
Taylor Shuey, Miami, OF
Savannah Jo Dorsey, Ohio, P
Jessica Lemieux, Toledo, OF
Loren Nagy, Western Michigan, IF
Melissa Palmer, Western Michigan, UT