Peach Belt Unveils Softball All-Conference Team

Peach Belt Unveils Softball All-Conference Team

COLUMBUS, GA – The Peach Belt Conference announced the 2012 softball All-Conference team on Friday night at a banquet on the eve of the league’s annual championship tournament in Columbus, Ga.  Armstrong Atlantic State took home the bulk of the major awards as April Jowers was named the PBC Player of the Year, Megan Barnwell the Pitcher of the Year and Ted Evans the Coach of the Year.  North Georgia’s Melissa Dickie was named the PBC Freshman of the Year.

Jowers becomes only the third PBC softball player ever to repeat as the PBC Player of the Year, the first since Georgia College’s Sherquita Bostick won in 2008 and 09.  A senior from Columbus, Ga., Jowers is two hits shy of becoming the Peach Belt’s all-time career hits leader, standing a 328.  Her .579 batting average is the highest-ever in a single season in PBC play and she leads the nation in hitting and threatens to become only the third DII player ever to hit over .600 in a season. Her 99 hits this year set a PBC single-season record and she set another record with a hit in her first 30 games of the year.  Jowers joins Annie Sells as the only Armstrong players to be named the PBC Player of the Year.

Megan Barnwell is the ace for the top-seeded Pirates as they won the PBC regular-season championship outright for the first time in school history.  A junior from Brooket, Ga., Barnwell is 20-3 on the season, second in the PBC in wins, with a 1.94 ERA.  She is fifth in the PBC in both strikeouts with 153 and in complete games with 18 and is sixth in saves.  She won eight straight decisions in her final eight regular-season appearances, with two complete-game shutouts, and was 11-1 against conference opponents this season with four games of 10 or more strikeouts.  Barnwell becomes the first Pirate to be named the Pitcher of the Year since Katya Eronina won back-to-back honors in 2003 and 04.

Melissa Dickie was simply perfect in her first season of college softball, finishing the regular season 16-0 for the 11th-ranked Saints.  A true freshman from Buford, Ga., she was third in the PBC with a 1.19 ERA and 11th in strikeouts.  She pitched 11 complete games with five shutouts and was even better against conference competition, finishing with a 7-0 record and 0.55 ERA, the lowest ERA in conference-only games in the league.  She held opposing batters to a .175 average and allowed just four earned runs in nine conference appearances.  She becomes the second North Georgia softball player to be named the PBC Freshman of the Year, joining Tiffany Blackburn who won it in 2008.

In his eighth year as the head coach at Armstrong, Ted Evans is taking the program to new heights.  For the first time, Armstrong won the PBC regular-season championship outright after sharing the title with Kennesaw State in 2000 and his Pirates are the #1 seed for the PBC Tournament for the first time.  The Pirates are ranked sixth in the nation, the highest they have ever been, and been among the top 25 schools in the country in each poll this season.  Winning a school-best 19 conference games in 2012, Armstrong is 43-8 on the year and bring a 17-game winning streak into the PBC Tournament.  For Evans, the PBC Coach of the Year title is the first of his career and the first for an Armstrong softball coach since Marty McDaniels won it in 2000.

The 32-member All-Conference team is listed below as chosen by the league’s head coaches.    The first 12 players were chosen by position.  A second round of at-large voting ranked the subsequent 20 players, with the top four of them placed on the first team.  Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own players.

2012 PBC Softball
All-Conference Team

First Team

1b - Whitney Galloway, Armstrong
2b - April Jowers, Armstrong
3b - Jessica Thornton, Augusta State
SS - Kacee Camp, Augusta State
C - Hilary Cox, North Georgia
OF - Shelby Duff, Armstrong
OF - Pilar Harden, North Georgia
OF - Whitney Okvist, Georgia College
P - Megan Barnwell, Armstrong
P - Donna Munafo, Flagler
UT - Kelsea Martin, Georgia College
DP - Heather Walker, Armstrong

Jessica Coan, North Georgia
Karlie Gillam, North Georgia
Brittney Sheriff, Lander
Baillie Temples, Armstrong

Second Team

Lauren Bessent, Flagler
Haley Burnett, Georgia College
Breezy Collings, Flagler
Melissa Dickie, North Georgia
Robyn Draper, Flagler
Katie Enright, Flagler
Casey Googe, Columbus State
Emily Headrick, Augusta State
Ashley Jaramillo, Francis Marion
India Kornegay, USC Aiken
Hayley Leissner, Lander
Taylor Luff, Francis Marion
Mason Moreland, Georgia Southwestern
Alona Personius, Flagler
Mollie Russell, Columbus State
Taylor Turner, Columbus State

Player of the Year
April Jowers, Armstrong

Pitcher of the Year
Megan Barnwell, Armstrong

Freshman of the Year
Melissa Dickie, North Georgia

Coach of the Year
Ted Evans, Armstrong

(L to R): PBC Freshman of the Year Melissa Dickie, Pitcher of the Year Megan Barnwell, Player of the Year April Jowers and Coach of the Year Ted Evans.
PBC First Team All-Conference
PBC Second Team All-Conference