LAKEPOINT, Ga. – Lipscomb’s Caitlin Plocheck was named to the ASUN Conference First Team for softball.
Plocheck, a junior from Houston, Texas, has set career highs this season in doubles with 16 and home runs with nine.
She leads the team with a career high 17 multi-hit games. She also leads the team with seven multiple-RBI games.
Her 13-game hitting streak to open the season is the longest on the team and a career high. She reached base in 16 straight games this season, the second highest streak on the team and another career high.
“Caitlin has been one of those players we knew all along had this talent and ability,” Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. “I just think it took some time for things to click for her.
“The power has always been there. It was a matter of finding a level of consistency. She has worked so hard. She has had a lot of health battles a lot of outside people wouldn’t know about. She goes about her business as if there is nothing wrong and I love that about her.”
Ryman credits Plocheck with much of the success for the team this season as an offensive spark in the middle of the lineup.
“She has really impacted our team in a way I don’t think a lot of people understand,” Ryman said. “If she doesn’t turn the corner this year offensively we would have struggled in the middle of the order.
“Caitlin has been that consistent, steady presence in power and average in the middle of the lineup. She can beat you with a single, but she can also hit the long ball. What she has done for this team offensively has been huge and she is heck of a first baseman as well.”
Sophomore pitcher Mandy Jordan was tabbed for the Second Team.
She is 10th in the NCAA in strikeouts with a career-high 246. She is 21st in victories (22), 27th in shutouts (7), 32nd in earned run average (1.48) and 33rd in strikeouts per innings pitched (8.1).
Overall in the ASUN she leads in strikeouts, batters struck out looking (61) and innings pitched (212.1). She is second in ERA, second in wins and third in opposing batting average (.201).
“Mandy, in a lot of ways is a first teamer,” Ryman said. “She has struggled for the last couple of weeks, but there a lot of good pitchers in our league.
“She has made the leap from last year to be a workhorse and someone we can count on every game. That is a lot for a sophomore. She has handled it well, even in games where we haven’t given her a lot of offensive support.”
Like Plocheck, Ryman points to Jordan as a key to the team winning 35 games and being in the thick of the ASUN Conference Tournament which starts Wednesday at Lipscomb’s Draper Diamond at Smith Stadium.
“We are not in that position at all if she is not throwing aggressively and attacking every day,” Ryman said. “I am really proud of both of those two because of the journey they have both been on. Both of them have been all-conference players for us.”
Second baseman Hannah DeVault and shortstop Peyton Ward were voted to the All-Freshman Team. DeVault was a unanimous selection. They both have started all 53 games.
DeVault has 11 multi-hit games, third best on the team. Ward has five. DeVault is tied for second with six multiple-RBI games. Ward is third with five. Both Ward and DeVault have had seven-game hitting streaks this season.
DeVault is batting .267 with five doubles, four home runs and 22 runs batted in. Ward is hitting .209 with two doubles and two home runs and 19 RBI.
“They are the future of Lipscomb softball,” Ryman said of DeVault and Ward. “When you watch our team, or when you watch any team, you notice the middle infield. You notice how athletic they are. You notice how quick they are and how smooth they are.
“They are two of the best. I would put them up against any infielders in the conference. And the crazy thing is they are just freshmen. I am really pumped for those two. They have been two of the best freshmen in the league all year long.”
Ryman points out both players would have preferred to have better stats, but it is all part of making the transition to Division I.
“We have been counting on both of them all season long,” Ryman said. “At time statistically I know they haven’t been super proud of what they have done.
“But, at the same time, for them to step in and be starters in every game and to be key hitters in our lineup speaks volumes for their athletic ability. We brought them here to play right away and they have both done outstanding jobs.”