Kingsport, Tenn. – After a very successfully season, especially in Appalachian Athletic Conference play, it was no surprise that the Bryan College Softball Team received much recognition Tuesday night at the AAC Softball Tournament Banquet held in Kingsport, Tenn. where the four-day tourney will take place beginning Wednesday morning, Apr. 26, at 11am. The Lion's season includes an overall record of 23-22 and conference record of 15-5, which was good enough to share the title of AAC regular-season co-champions with the 16th ranked team in the country, Reinhardt University (Ga.). Amidst their tough schedule, Bryan battled with then 14th ranked Martin Methodist College (Tenn.) and got the upset before following up with a victory over the current 2nd ranked team, Brenau University (Ga.).
When the league announced the 2017 awards, it was Kim Borowski (SR/Apopka, Fla.), Olivia Gore (SR/Cookeville, Tenn.), Sydney West (SO/White House, Tenn.), and Becca Zimmerman (SR/Naples, Fla.) who earned All-Conference First Team honors for the Lions. Courtney Petty (FR/Lebanon, Tenn.) was Bryan's lone representative to the All-Conference Second Team and was joined by Heidi Smith (FR/Cookeville, Tenn.) as the only two Lions to make the All-Freshman list. Smith and Zimmerman helped anchor Bryan's defense and were rewarded by being named to the All-Defensive Team.
All-Conference Second Team, pictured: Courtney Petty.
The senior outfielder, Borowski, proved to be a threat to opposing teams as she notched a team-high 46 hits this season, which ranks her in the top-20 in the AAC in total hits. She also used her speed to lead the team in runs scored with 31, placing her 15th in conference. Of her 46 hits, four were doubles, one was a homerun, and 16 runs were batted in all while averaging a notable .343 at the plate. This year was her first time receiving an All-Conference nod.
Gore, Lions Softball's all-time hits and doubles leader, swatted a team-best .351 batting average and .491 slugging percentage to secure her second straight year making the All-Conference First Team. She powered her way to nine doubles, two triples, one homer, and 20 RBI's over her 40 hits. Her batting average ranked her 20th in the AAC and total doubles put her 12th in the category.
Conference foes struggled when facing off against West when she was hurling in the circle. She carries an impressive 8-2 record in AAC matchups and finished at 11-10 overall with a 3.17 ERA while retiring 52 batters via strikeout. This is the first year for the sophomore White House, Tenn. native to be chosen for an All-Conference honor.
Zimmerman helped lead the Lions from the catcher position and is no stranger to First Team honors as this year marks four consecutive years that she has achieved the feat. This year she was just shy of .300, while tallying 39 hits, 15 runs scored, six doubles, and tied Hannah O'Shields (SO/LaFayette, Ga.) with six long shots to lead the Lions in homeruns. Her 21 runs batted in led the team and ranked her 28th in the conference.
Petty provided a strong arm for the Lion's pitching this year as she tossed her way to an overall record of 11-9 and AAC record of 7-3. Arguably, her most impressive performance this season was game two against the Eagles of Faulkner University (Ala.) during the inaugural NAIA Softball Southeastern Challenge where she surrendered no hits, no runs, one walk, and three strikeouts to complete the no-hitter. The freshman not only proved a threat from the circle with a 2.37 ERA and K's totaling 105, but she also compiled a .292 batting average after going 19-of-65 with a pair of doubles and four RBI's to make the All-Freshman and All-Conference Second Team.
Hailing from nearby Cookeville, Tenn., Smith provided significant play from both the batter's box and shortstop and did so as a freshman. She sports a .310 average with 45 hits, second best on the team, along with six doubles, two homeruns, 18 runs batted in, and 22 runs scored. On defense, she pieced together a .945 fielding percentage with a team-high 90 assists. Her efforts got her on both the All-Freshman and All-Defensive Teams.
Kaleigh Riley (SR/Hixson, Tenn.) was Bryan's representative to the AAC Champions of Character Team. The student-athletes selected to the Champions of Character Team are those who best represent the five core values of the NAIA Champions of Character Program: respect, integrity, responsibility, servant leadership, and sportsmanship.
Champions of Character Team, pictured: Kaleigh Riley
Seven members from the Lions team earned All-Academic honors: Kaleigh Cooper (FR/Soddy Daisy, Tenn.), Lindsey Dunn (FR/Murray County, Ga.), Olivia Gore, Kayla Hayes (FR/Dresden, Tenn.), Madison Owens (FR/Dandridge, Tenn.), Courtney Petty, and Cheyenne Wilson (SO/Bradenton, Fla.). To make the Academic All-Conference Team, a student-athlete must be a sophomore, junior, or senior and maintain a cumulative grade-point average of 3.25 or higher.
To view the entire list of honorees, click here.
Keep up with all of the AAC Tournament action by clicking here.