Elmore, Fenichel lead A-Sun softball honors
Tuesday, May 10, 2016
By Mark McGee
Elmore, Fenichel lead A-Sun softball honors

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A pair of Lipscomb softball players - Infielder Brittany Elmore and catcher Abby Fenichel – were voted by the coaches to the Atlantic Sun All-Conference First Team.

It is the second time Elmore has been named First Team All-Conference. As a freshman she was named First Team All-Conference and was also a member of the A-Sun All-Freshman Team. The past two seasons she had earned Second Team honors.

Fenichel, a sophomore, was a member of the A-Sun All-Freshman Team last season.

Three Lipscomb players – senior pitcher Kelly Young, outfielder Destinee Brewer and infielder Sarah Higgins – were named All-Conference Second Team.

Young was a First Team selection last season.

Brewer and Higgins received double honors as members of the All-Freshman Team as well.

Elmore’s legacy has many facets, but her speed on the base paths is what comes to mind most often. She has 31 stolen bases this season, the third time in her career she has stolen more than 30 bases. She is the all-time career stolen base record holder in the A-Sun with 136, one of only five players in the history of the conference to steal more than 100 bases.

"I am so proud of Britt and her career,” Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. “She has added things to her game every year that continue to make her tough to defend. She is one of those players that is truly respected in our league.”

She has been the lead-off hitter in every game since her freshman season and provides a unique combination at the plate with the ability to be a slapper, but to also hit away with power.

“I've easily been able to pencil Britt into the lead-off spot for four years, which shows not only her impact, but her consistency and reliability,” Ryman said.

She is third in the A-Sun overall in hitting with a .369 average and is fourth in A-Sun games with a .413 average.

Elmore is tied for second overall in the conference in hits with 66 and is tied for second in A-Sun games only with 26.

She was a model of consistency with at least one hit in 41 of her 53 games. She posted a 15-game hitting streak, the longest on the team this season and also had an 11-game streak.

A versatile player in the field, Elmore started the season in center where she played 23 games, but has played the last 30 games at second base.

“Earlier this season, due to injuries, we asked her to move from centerfield to second base (a position she had not played since her freshman year),” Ryman said. “She was open to helping the team in whatever way she could and has been one of our best defenders all year.

“In a lot of ways, Britt has put together one of the best seasons of her career both on and off the field, and I'm excited that she's being honored this way. She is a huge difference-maker for our team and is easily one of the best in the A-Sun."

Fenichel has flexed her power and shown her durability this season. She has started 51 games behind the plate and has not missed an inning in one of those games. In two games she served as the designated person.

"I could not be more pumped for Abby,” Ryman said. “It is not easy for a player to become process-oriented, but that is what she has been working towards this season. In her first full year behind the plate, she has grown and continues to keep her expectations high.”

In the A-Sun she has 17 hits, 11 for extra bases with seven doubles and four home runs. Her eight home runs overall are a new season career high.

Overall she has 12 multiple-hit games and nine multiple-RBI games.

She is batting .299 overall, .327 in conference games.

“Abby is not only one of the best pure hitters on our team, but also one of the best in the A-Sun,” Ryman said. “In a year where we had multiple power hitters to replace in the order, she has provided a consistent power punch for a young team. I'm so impressed with what she has done for us this year, and I know the best is still yet to come for her."

Young has been one of the two primary pitchers in the circle for the Lady Bisons for the past two seasons, teaming with fellow senior Tanner Sanders.

"I'm so proud of Kelly for persevering through this year,” Ryman said. “It was no secret that she struggled through the early part of the season, but really started to hit her stride as A-Sun play began. Kelly is a player we could not have done without over the last two years. She is a winner in every since of the word. She's been a leader for us both on and off the field, and a definite impact player for the conference. I'm excited that she is being honored again on the All-Conference team."

A right-hander, Young has spent most of the season in the top 25 in NCAA national rankings in strikeouts. This week she is 14th in strikeout per seven innings with 9.4. She is 18th nationally in total strikeouts with 216.

She is first in both strikeouts overall and strikeouts looking overall with 57 in the A-Sun. She also leads in both of those categories in A-Sun games only.

Young is 13-10 overall this season. She has a 3.04 overall earned run average. Her 2.04 ERA in conference games only is fourth best in the A-Sun.

“Kelly is a player we could not have done without over the last two years,” Ryman said. “She is a winner in every sense of the word. She's been a leader for us both on and off the field, and a definite impact player for the conference. I'm excited that she is being honored again on the All-Conference team."

Brewer has added another dimension of speed to the team, batting second most of the season behind Elmore.

“She has been a huge spark for us and is a player who has a ton of growth still ahead of her,” Ryman said. “She is incredibly coachable and brings a passion to our team that has been a driving force all year.”

She is third on the team in hitting with a .308 average. She is ranked 19th overall in hitting in the A-Sun. She has 15 stolen bases overall, four in A-Sun games.

Her 14 multi-hits games rank her second on the team in that category.

Brewer has played two outfield positions with 23 games in left field and 30 in center field.

"I'm a firm believer in the fact that when you go out and work hard every day, the results take care of themselves,” Ryman said. “That's exactly what I think of when I think about the year Destinee has had.

“Destinee's teammates love to play with her because of how she plays the game. I'm really excited to see her honored as a freshman. She is going to be a huge part of the future of our program."

Higgins opened the season at third base, but dealt with an injury through much of April that limited her time on the field as she was sidelined for all or part of 10 games.

"I can easily say without a doubt that Sarah is one of our hardest workers as a freshman,” Ryman said. “I hated to see her have to miss several games a few weeks ago with an injury, but she is back and more motivated than ever to finish the season strong.”

She has batted .356 overall, second on the team and sixth in the A-Sun overall.

Higgins leads the team in home runs with nine.

Her 14-game hitting streak this season is the second longest on the team. From March 13 through March 19 Higgins had four consecutive games with two or more RBI.

She started 40 games at third base and three games as a designated player.

“Like Abby, she has stepped into a crucial role in the middle of the order at a young age, and that is going to pay off for us down the road,” Ryman said. “Sarah is one of those young players that you try to build around, and her early success is no surprise to me. She truly plays the game the right way, and has grown to be a player already well-respected in the league.

"While the girls are excited for their teammates being named All-Conference, at the end of the day, they are out for a championship. We are on a mission right now to keep the season going as long as possible, and that will take all of us."