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Saturday, May 15, 2010DELAND, Fla. _ In the least surprising event of the last day of the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament Lipscomb Lady Bisons first baseman Kellie Sirus was named the most valuable player.
She joined sophomore pitcher Whitney Kiihnl on the All-Tournament Team.
Sirus dominated the tournament offensively. She slammed five home runs, one in each game. To put that into perspective the other five teams in the tournament only had six home runs combined. As a team the Lady Bisons led with nine.
“When she gets in the zone she is as good a hitter as I have seen,” Lady Bisons coach Kristin Ryman said. “She was like that at the beginning of the year when she was just hammering the ball.
“She hits well with power to all fields. I don’t think anyone wanted to throw to her after the first couple of games. She usually got the big home runs early in games.”
Sirus was second in batting with a .625 average (10-for-15). She led the tournament in home runs, runs scored (seven), hits (10), total bases (26) and runs batted in (14).
“Kellie is extremely confident at the plate,” Ryman said. “When she doesn’t appear nervous that confidence carries over to our other girls. They feed off of that.
“She was extremely confident the entire week. Her mentality at the plate helps some of our younger power hitters in the middle of the order and some of the younger girls in general.”
It is almost a cliché, but Sirus is truly peaking at the right time of the season. She leads the conference in home runs overall with 17. She is also first in RBI (55), runs scored (54) and slugging percentage (.790). She is third in on base percentage (.467) and fourth in batting average (.358).
“This really started on senior night against Middle Tennessee State University,” Sirus said. “I was hitting the ball and seeing the ball really well. It gave me some leverage and confidence again.
“I was seeing the ball well. I was feeling it. I was ready to hit every pitch they threw as hard as I could. I just tried to look for good pitches and take my hacks at them. “
There are no official A-Sun Conference Tournament records to compare the performance by Sirus with past years.
Sirus was selected in preseason by the Atlantic Sun coaches to be the conference player of the year. Kiihnl won that award.
“Every player has a downhill time,” Sirus said of her midseason problems at the plate due to a wrist injury after starting out the season as one of the hottest hitters in the league. “I knew my time was coming to be back on top. It came at a really good time in the conference tournament.
“The preseason player of the year is nothing. It is all about the conference tournament and winning it. That is what we came to do.”
Kiihnl led with 38 strikeouts in 24.1 innings. She was 3-1 in the tournament. She also posted an earned run average of .86, second best in the tournament.
The Lady Bisons led the tournament in batting with a .373 average and also were first in pitching with a staff earned run average of .87.
Several other Lady Bisons also put in strong tournament performances.
Junior Mackenzie Tucker and sophomore Mollie Mitchell tied for second in runs scored with five. Lauren Dortwegt tied for third with four.
Mitchell was also second in RBI with five, home runs with two and total bases with 12.
Courtney Billington, Dortwegt and Tucker tied for second in hits with six each.
Dortwegt tied for first in stolen bases with two in two attempts.
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.