The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

April 30, 2012

Mannie DeCastro named MIAA softball player of the year

The Joplin Globe

— Pittsburg State senior shortstop Mannie DeCastro has been named MIAA softball player of the year, determined by a vote of the conference‚s head coaches.

Four players from Missouri Southern and seven from Pittsburg State are included on the all-conference team, released last week at the start of the conference postseason tournament.

Lions senior center fielder Breanna Volkmann was named to the second team, and senior catcher Lydia Niemegeers, senior second baseman Brianna Fulkerson and sophomore first baseman Shelby Romines received honorable mention.

Volkmann led the Lions in hitting (.353), on base percentage (.400), hits (54) and triples (2).

Niemegeers batted .286 and drove in 17 runs while starting behind the plate in 46 of the Lions‚ 51 games. Fulkerson hit .290 and had eight doubles and 16 RBI, and Romines batted .296 with two home runs and 23 RBI.

DeCastro, who prepped at Carl Junction, led the conference in slugging percentage (.904), runs batted in (55) and home runs. She also ranks among the league leaders in hitting (.439), runs (42) and doubles (16).

Freshman utility player Cheslyn Mitchell joined DeCastro on the first team. Sophomore center fielder Brenna George and sophomore designated hitter Tiffany Brown were named to the second team, and honorable mention went to senior pitcher Hilary Erbert, junior catcher Kreslee Ketcham and sophomore pitcher Jessica Barnes.

Mitchell, from Riverton, led the MIAA with 21 doubles and ranked second in runs (46) and fifth in batting average (.405).

George, after hitting just .175 last season, almost doubled the average this season to .347. She scored a conference-high 51 runs and hit seven triples, and she stole 22 bases.

Brown hit .390 with 14 doubles, 15 homers, 51 RBI and 42 runs scored. She was the first to break PSU‚s single-season home run record of 13 but was later passed by DeCastro.

Ketcham, from Neosho, batted .308 and had eight homers, 33 RBI, 29 runs scored and walked a team-high 22 times. She also saw action at first base.

In the circle, Erbert posted a 13-14 record with a 3.26 earned run average. Barnes led the Gorillas with her 2.40 ERA with a 6-5 record and one save.

Missouri Western sophomore Jackie Bishop was named pitcher of the year, and senior first baseman Adriana Wortley of Fort Hays State was named defensive player of the year.

Emporia State, which marched undefeated to both the regular season and postseason tournament championships, had the freshman of the year in designated player Stephanie Goodwin and coach of the year Julie LeMaire.