NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Lipscomb Lady Bisons softball team added to their postseason honors as five players earned Atlantic Sun All-Conference honors and another was named to the A-Sun All-Freshman Team.
“We have had a good season,” Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. “Anytime you get individual awards in postseason it is a reflection on the seasons those players have had and it is a reflection on how good of a year our team has had.
“I am really proud of our players. I am thankful other coaches in the conference felt highly enough about what they have done this year to honor them. It is good to see these players rewarded for their hard work this year.”
Third baseman Paige Neely and right fielder/designated player Kelsey Cartwright both were named to the A-Sun All-Conference First Team. It is Neely’s second year in a row to be named to the first team. Cartwright was named to the first team in 2012.
Named to the A-Sun All-Conference Second Team were left-handed pitcher Ashley Anderson, center fielder Brittany Elmore and catcher Rena’ Cothron. This is the first time that Anderson and Cothron, both seniors, have received All-Conference honors. Elmore, a sophomore, was named to the first team in 2013. Anderson was a member of the 2012 All-Freshman team.
“Brittany, Rena’, Kelsey and Paige are really the four players offensively that have stood out for us this year,” Ryman said. “We have had moments this year where we have had key hits and key contributions from everybody.
“Consistently, though, they are the top four. The coaches in the league have a lot of respect for our team and how we play the game. They are all very deserving.”
It is the first postseason honor in the A-Sun for Cothron who made the adjustment from third base to catcher this season.
“This is really cool for Rena’,” Ryman said. “I thought it was very deserving. There have been several catchers who have had good years.
“Rena’ is that player for us who comes out every day and works hard. She has really stepped into that leadership role this year. She does so many things for our team that probably go unnoticed. She is huge reason for what we have done this year as a team, both behind the plate defensively and at the plate.”
Anderson, who has dealt with injuries throughout her career, has finished strong with 19 wins and a 1.44 earned run average, the 25th best in the country.
“In moments this year Ashley has really carried us,” Ryman said. “It is very odd to have a year where you return all of three main pitchers from the season before. She was our No. 3 pitcher a year ago and is now our No. 1.
“That speaks volumes for what she has done, the hard work she has put in and her mentality. She has had some tough moments in her career. It is nice to see her honored.”
Second baseman Mimi Cartwright was named to the All-Freshman team. She was unanimous selection of the coaches.
“We returned so many players from last year,” Ryman said. “Sometimes it can be hard for a freshman to break into the lineup at this level.
“She had really never played second base regularly before. She has learned how to play the position and she has played it well. On top of that she has done the job offensively. She consistently puts the ball in play and drives it into the gaps. She has been a boost to our lineup.”
The A-Sun Tournament begins Wednesday at Draper Diamond at Smith Stadium on the Lipscomb campus. The Lady Bisons, the No. 2, will not play until 10 a.m. Thursday morning. They will face the winner of Wednesday’s opening round game between Stetson and Florida Gulf Coast.
“I know if you ask any of those six girls they would say that more than these accolades that they still want a championship,” Ryman said. “That is what we are fighting for.”