GREENSBORO, N.C. - During the team's first meeting of the new season, UNCG softball handed out its 2017 Team Awards, as voted on by the 20 players from the 2016 rendition of Spartan Softball. In all, seven honors were awarded to seven different players.
Rookie of the Year Award - Jordan Gontram
Gontram was an immediate force at the plate in her freshman season in Blue and Gold, ranking second on the team and fourth in the Southern Conference with nine home runs. The Wake Forest, North Carolina native tallied 27 RBIs on the year while scoring 17 runs and posting a .477 slugging percentage. Gontram also proved to be a threat to run on, registering four assists from her left field position.
Spartan Softball Way Award - Emily Lopez
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 stepping in when called upon from the bench, Lopez was the epitome of each of these qualities. The senior also showed leadership in the gym, becoming the first softball player to earn the Spartan Elite Award, awarded by the UNCG Strength and Conditioning staff.
Most Outstanding Offense Award - Marisa Sholtes
Despite missing significant time due to injury, Sholtes was without a doubt the Spartans' biggest provider of firepower at the plate. The redshirt-sophomore was named First Team All-SoCon as she crushed 10 home runs on the year, ranking second in the league, while also tagging four doubles for a league-best .703 slugging percentage. Sholtes recorded a team-best .330 batting average on the season, ranking third on the team with 31 RBIs and scoring 16 runs.
Most Outstanding Defense Award - Rachael McClaskey
Not much got past McClaskey from her shortstop position. Whether it was a routine ground ball or a well hit ball deep in the hole, more often than not the Pine Hill, New Jersey product was able to track it down and fire a pea over to first base for the out. McClaskey posted a .940 fielding percentage at short, racking up 125 assists and 77 putouts on the season. She was also a primary factor in UNCG turning 22 double plays in 2017. For her efforts McClaskey was named second team all-conference.
Most Valuable Pitcher Award - Alicia Bazonski
Bazonski was an absolute workhorse for the Spartans in the circle. The junior flamethrower started off the year as the SoCon Preseason Pitcher of the Year and ended it with Second Team All-SoCon laurels. Bazonski led the conference in innings pitched (204.1), wins (18), appearances (40) and games started (34), while recording 113 strikeouts to rank third in the league.
Most Valuable Player Award - Gabi Cubbage
Once conference play started there may not have been a more dangerous player in the SoCon than Cubbage. The UNCG third baseman paced the league in home runs (5), RBIs (21), slugging percentage (.736) and total bases (39), while also ranking second in hits (20), third in runs scored (13) and fourth in batting average (.377). The native Delewarean was also steady defensively, recording a .929 fielding percentage from the hot corner as she earned First Team All-SoCon honors.
Scholar Athlete Award - Mackenzie Winslow
Winslow was the very definition of a student-athlete during the 2017 season to earn her second-consecutive Scholar Athlete Award. She earned the highest GPA on the team and was named to the SoCon Academic Honor Roll after recording a 4.0 in business administration. On the field, Winslow made six appearances in the circle, going 1-2 with a 5.73 ERA. She was also inducted into the Beta Sigma Gamma International Business Honors Society.