GREENSBORO, N.C. – In a historic season that included its first ever outright Southern Conference Regular Season and Tournament Championships, UNCG softball racked up numerous accolades throughout the 2018 season. On Friday the Spartans announced its team awards for the past year, as voted on by the 19 players. In all, seven honors were awarded to seven different players.
Rookie of the Year Award - Makenna Matthijs
Matthijs made an immediate impact as the starter in left field for the Spartans, garnering Second Team All-SoCon and All-Freshman honors. She led the team with three player of the week honors, tying Penny Thomas in 2002 for the most won by a Spartan in one season. She placed among the top hitters in the league: first in sac bunts (18), second in doubles (16), tied for fourth in runs (38), tied for fifth in RBIs (37) and walks (23) and sixth in hits (49).
Spartan Softball Way Award – Becca Kale
The Spartan Softball Way Award is given out annually to the player that displays leadership qualities on and off the playing field. Some of those qualities include: being a good role model, selflessness, respect of teammates, being supportive of teammates, trustworthiness, being a facilitator, communication and being the glue of the team. Giving her all every day in practice and leading the pitching staff from her catcher position, Kale was the epitome of each of these qualities.
Most Outstanding Offense Award – Marisa Sholtes
Starting every game this year at first base, Sholtes garnered first team all-league for the second straight season and was named to the Second Team NFCA All-Mideast Region. She led the league in several categories: slugging percentage (.730), on-base percentage (.481), home runs (16), RBIs (54), doubles (16) and walks (33). She tied for first in runs with Jasmine Palmer (49), second in hits (63), third in batting average (.362) and tied for fourth in hit by pitches (eight). In the nation she finished 31st in homers, 35th in total bases (127), 39th in slugging percentage, 63rd in on-base percentage and 92nd in runs per game (0.83). She won the conference player of the week twice this season and was named player of the month in February.
Most Outstanding Defensive Award – Rachael McClaskey
McClaskey repeats as the top defensive player for the Spartans. Whether it was a routine ground ball or a well hit ball deep in the hole, more often than not the starting shortstop for every game this season was able to track it down and fire a pea over to first base for the out. McClaskey posted a .970 fielding percentage at short, racking up 123 assists and 71 putouts on the season. She was also a primary factor in UNCG turning 21 double plays in 2018.
Most Valuable Pitcher Award – Alicia Bazonski
Bazonski capped off her career as a three-time all-conference selection, including first team this year. A Second Team NFCA All-Mideast Region Selection, she earned Most Outstanding player in the SoCon Tournament, winning all three games in the circle with just three earned runs allowed in 21.2 innings pitched. On a team-high 33 starts and 186.0 innings pitched, Bazonski ranks in the nation 91st in ERA (1.99). In the SoCon she placed second in wins (20), third in ERA, fourth in strikeouts (115), tied for fifth in saves (two), sixth in lowest opposing batting average (.234) and eighth in strikeouts looking (25). In conference play, she turned it up a notch with a 7-2 record, 1.29 ERA and six complete games in 10 games started and won pitcher of the week once.
Most Valuable Player Award – Gabi Cubbage
Cubbage earned first team all-conference honors at third base for the second-straight year and was selected to the Third Team NFCA All-Mideast Region. She ranked in the SoCon tied for second in sac flies (three), tied for sixth in hits (49), doubles (10) and assists and tied for seventh in RBIs (33). Registering a .359 on-base percentage and .468 slugging percentage, she hit seven home runs along with 20 walks and 28 runs. Providing the heroics in postseason play, she produced the game-winning run in the SoCon Championship Game with a three-run homer.
Scholar Athlete Award – Mackenzie Winslow
Winslow was once again the very definition of a student-athlete during the season to earn her third-straight Scholar Athlete Award. She graduated with a perfect 4.0 GPA in business administration, the best in the Bryan School of Business, and was given the Pinnacle Award, which is given out to the SoCon Tournament Champions’ player with the highest GPA. She continued her streak of being named to the UNCG Chancellor’s, Dean’s and Lloyd’s International Honors College Dean’s Lists for each academic year and also served as President of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee.
-- UNCG –