Trio Of Pirates Earn All-Conference USA Accolades
May 10, 2006
IRVING, Texas --- Three East Carolina softball players have been recognized among the best players in Conference USA this season as voted upon by the league's nine head coaches, it was announced today by the league office. Junior Keli Harrell was named first team all-conference, sophomore Erin St. Ledger received second team honors, while freshman Vanessa Moreno was named to the all-freshman team.
Harrell, the league's Preseason Pitcher of the Year, tops C-USA with 25 wins and 249 strikeouts. Harrell posted 11 of the Pirates' 13 wins in league play and moved into second place on the conference career strikeouts list. She earned C-USA Pitcher of the Week honors five times during the year, struck out 10 or more batters eight times and tossed her second career no-hitter on March 26.
St. Ledger, a 2005 all-conference freshman player, led the league with 20 sacrifice hits, while batting .310 and drawing a team-high 24 base-on-balls. St. Ledger was at her best in clutch situations, coming up with game-winning RBI-hits in extra inning affairs against Houston, North Carolina and Southern Miss.
Moreno is the seventh ECU player to earn all-freshman team honors during school's five-year membership in the conference. She batted .266 during the regular season with a team-high four home runs, including three in league play. She made a strong push for all-conference honors over the final 14 regular season games, raising her average by 28 points.
The trio of teams that shared second place in the Conference USA softball standings combined to earn all four of the specialty awards and produce seven of the 11 All-Conference USA first team members. Houston had a pair of players recognized, as sophomore Angel Shamblin was named the Pitcher of the Year and Elaina Nordstrom was named the Freshman of the Year. Preseason Player of the Year Rachel Folden lived up to those expectations as the Marshall's sophomore was honored as the Player of the Year. UAB head coach Marla Townsend was named Coach of the Year after guiding the Blazers to postseason play for the first time since 2003.
ECU opens play in the 2006 Conference USA Softball Championship Thursday against UAB. The game is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. EDT start at the Donna J. Hardesty Softball Complex on the campus of the University of Tulsa.