|Skyhawk softball sweeps top OVC awards |
|Posted: Friday, May 21, 2010 1:32 pm |
| MARTIN, Tenn. — Members of The University of Tennessee at Martin softball team heard their names called 13 times at the Ohio Valley Conference’s pre-tournament banquet last Wednesday night, including Megan Williams and Paij Lintz, who earned the league’s Player and Pitcher of the Year awards, respectively. |
Williams and Lintz were joined by head coach Donley Canary, who was named the conference Coach of the Year. The regular season champion Skyhawks are only the sixth team in league history to sweep player, pitcher and coach of the year honors from the league.
Williams and Lintz were both also selected to the All-OVC First Team and were joined by Laurie Lindow, Jenny Bain, Laura Roberts and Kate Vanderham. In all UT Martin had six first team members, making up half of the 12-member team. Megan Van Arsdale earned a spot on the All-OVC Second Team, while Vanderham, Kalah Mathis and Jordan Garrett were all named to the OVC All-Newcomer squad.
“The number of girls we had recognized tonight is a testament to how focused each one of them was this year and how hard they have worked all year,” said Canary. “This group knew that it had an opportunity to do something special and worked very hard every single day to accomplish our goal of winning the regular season title.”
Williams, a senior outfielder from Murfreesboro, becomes the first Skyhawk to earn the league’s top player accolade after leading the OVC in seven offensive categories. Highlighting Williams’ accomplishments this year were her OVC-leading batting average (.380) and 68 hits, along with her career-high and league-best 13 home runs at the end of the regular season. She has recorded 22 multi-hit games, while driving in multiple runs in 11 games. Three times this year Williams hit a walk-off home run, while also accounting for the eventual game-winning run or hit 10 different times.
Williams’ senior season caps a career where she became UT Martin’s all-time hits (232), triples (11) and total bases leader (365), while ranking among the all-time top five in 13 offensive categories at the end of the regular season. This also marks the third consecutive year that Williams has been an all-conference selection and the second straight year that she has been an All-OVC First Team member. Williams will join a team representing the United States to compete against the US National and Puerto Rican National Teams.
Lintz, a senior pitcher from Lewisburg, becomes the first Skyhawk to win the league’s top pitcher award after piling up an OVC-best record of 24-3 at the end of the regular season. Lintz has re-written the pitching records in her career at UT Martin and is the Skyhawks’ all-time winningest pitcher and career strikeouts leader. She also posted the most wins in the conference this season. In addition to holding the two most prestigious career pitching records, this season alone, Lintz has recorded over 150 strikeouts and had seven or more strikeouts in a game nine times, while also tossing 17 complete games with five shutouts. She has tallied six one-hit outings and picked up two saves all while being one of only four pitchers in the conference to have an ERA below 2.00.
Lintz was three times named the OVC Pitcher of the Week, which leads all the pitchers in the conference, and is ranked among the top 20 in the NCAA for victories this year in addition to ranking among the national top 100 for ERA and shutouts. This is the first time in Lintz’s career she has appeared on the All-OVC First Team, after previously being selected to the All-Newcomer and All-OVC Second Teams.
“Both Megan and Paij had great years for us and are very deserving of these awards,” commented Canary. “Megan came back from having to sit out the last weeks of the preseason with an injury, which makes her performance this year that much more remarkable, while Paij really stepped up for us this year in the circle and gave up the kind of performances we needed each time out.”
Canary, in his ninth season at the helm of the Skyhawks, earned his first OVC Coach of the Year honor and became the first Skyhawk coach to win the award. In Canary’s tenure he has led the Skyhawks to four of the program’s five winningest seasons, including this year’s record-breaking mark of 47-11.
“I’m very honored to receive the recognition, but I don’t consider this year wasn’t the best year I’ve ever coached. We had such a focused team that was determined on their own, along with two very committed assistants that really made my job much easier,” Canary commented.
Lindow, a senior catcher from San Diego, Calif., makes her first appearance on the All-OVC First Team.
Bain, a sophomore infielder from Hendersonville and last season’s OVC Freshman of the Year, makes her second consecutive appearance on the All-OVC First Team.
Roberts, a senior infielder from Johnston City, Ill., earned first team honors for the first time in her career after being a second team selection last season.
Vanderham, a junior designated player and pitcher from Brookeville, Fla., earned spots on both the All-OVC First Team and OVC All-Newcomer Team in her first year with the Skyhawks.
Van Arsdale, a senior infielder from Garden Grove, Calif., earned a spot on the All-OVC Second Team after starting all 54 games this year at third.
Mathis, a junior outfielder from Chapel Hill, Tenn., earned a spot on the OVC All-Newcomer Team in her first year with UT Martin.
Garrett, a junior outfielder from Clovis, N.M., also joins Mathis on the OVC All-Newcomer Team in her first year as a Skyhawk.