Drake's Jenna DeLong was honored as the Missouri Valley Conference Pitcher of the Year and Illinois State's Kara Nelson earned Player of the Year. Northern Iowa freshman Jamie Fisher was tabbed as the Newcomer of the Year and Drake's coaching staff of Rich Calvert, Nicole Wood and Amanda Zust were named the staff of the year.
DeLong is the leader in conference games for earned run average (1.37), opposing batting average (.175), batters struck out (130), batters struck out looking (42) and wins (14). Throughout the year she had one no hitter, 23 complete games and nine shutouts. The senior is ranked in the top-75 in NCAA Division I Softball rankings in seven different categories. She becomes the first Drake player to win this award.
Nelson ranks first in hits (72) and total bases (103) and second in batting average (.404), on base percentage (.454) and runs scored (40) on the year. In a single-season of MVC games only, her 35 hits tie her for fifth all-time. For the Redbirds, Nelson led the team in batting average, on base percentage, runs scored, hits, doubles, total bases and stolen base percentage. She is the seventh player from Illinois State to receive this honor, the first since 2007.
Fisher stepped onto the mound and made an immediate impact for the Panthers. In league games, she was second in batters struck out looking (30-tied) and wins (12), third in ERA (1.93) and innings pitched (112.2) and sixth in opponents batting average (.226). In the NCAA rankings, she sits at 48th in strikeouts per seven innings. She is the third Northern Iowa player to win the league's newcomer honor.
Rich Calvert and his coaching staff, Nicole Wood and Amanda Zust win the first Coaching Staff of the Year honor for Drake. They have led their team to a 33-20 overall record and a 19-6 mark in the MVC, earning them the second-seed in this year's State Farm MVC Softball Championship. The Bulldogs started the conference season off strong winning their first nine games, the best-ever conference start in Drake history.
League awards are voted on by the head softball coaches.
|2011 MVC Softball All-Conference First-Team|
|P||Jenna DeLong, Drake||Sr.||Dalton Gardens, Idaho|
|P||Jamie Fisher, Northern Iowa||Fr.||Conrad, Iowa|
|P||Natalie Rose, Missouri State||Jr.||Henyretta, Okla.|
|C||Elizabeth Kay, Illinois State||So.||Bartlett, Ill.|
|C||Heather Gerritse, Wichita State||Sr.||Cypress, Calif.|
|1B||Taylor Orsburn, Sourthern Illinois||Fr.||Alto Pass, Ill.|
|1B||Bailey Wittenauer, Indiana State||Jr.||Lewisville, Texas|
|2B||Kara Nelson, Illinois State||Sr.||Moline, Ill.|
|2B||Jayna Spivey, Southern Illinois||Fr.||Rosiclare, Ill.|
|3B||Abby Olson, Illinois State||Sr.||Hartsburg, Ill.|
|SS||Mackenzie Daigh, Northern Iowa||Jr.||Bucyrus, Kan.|
|SS||Kirstin Cutter, Missouri State||So.||Oklahoma City, Okla.|
|OF||Mallory Duran, Southern Illinois||Jr.||Windsor, Colo.|
|OF||Liz Andrews, Illinois State||Jr.||Algonquin, Ill.|
|OF||Brittany Fairbairn, Bradley||Sr.||Lombard, Ill.|
|DP-P||Madeline Lynch-Crumrine, Bradley||Fr.||Sedro-Woolley, Wash.|
|DP-U||Jhavon Hamilton, Illinois State||So.||Joliet, Ill.|
|2011 MVC Softball All-Conference Second Team|
|P||Becca Changstrom, Creighton||Fr.||Lincoln, Neb.|
|P||Danielle Glosson, Southern Illinois||Sr.||Winston-Salem, N.C.|
|P||Megan Warner, Illinois State||Jr.||Milan, Ill.|
|P||Jordan Birch, Illinois State||Jr.||Monroe, Wash.|
|C||Erin Mollohan, Drake||Sr.||Tinley Park, Ill.|
|C||Amy Baker, Creighton||So.||Omaha, Neb.|
|1B||Eranne Daugharthy, Northern Iowa||Sr.||Ottawa, Kan.|
|1B||Molly McClelland, Drake||Sr.||West Des Moines, Iowa|
|2B||Torey Craddock, Drake||Jr.||Tucson, Ariz.|
|3B||Sammie Shook, Wichita State||So.||Mulvane, Kan.|
|SS||Haley Gorman, Southern Illinois||Jr.||Arcadia, Calif.|
|SS||Liz McKewon, Creighton||Sr.||Rosemount, Minn.|
|OF||Jen Stahlhut, Evansville||Sr.||Troy, Ill.|
|OF||Morgan Barchan, Southern Illinois||So.||Arcadia, Calif.|
|OF||Rachel Gerking, Northern Iowa||Sr.||Spirit Lake, Iowa|
|DP-U||Kate Singler, Bradley||Sr.||Witt, Ill.|
|Player of the Year: Kara Nelson, Illinois State|
|Pitcher of the Year: Jenna DeLong, Drake|
|Newcomer of the Year: Jamie Fisher, Northern Iowa|
|Coaching Staff of the Year: Drake (Rich Calvert, Nicole Wood, Amanda Zust)|
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