GC's Hayes, VWC's Higginbotham Lead ODAC in NFCA Awards

GC's Hayes, VWC's Higginbotham Lead ODAC in NFCA Awards

All-Region Honors for 18 Players, Higginbotham an Academic All-American

TYLER, Texas --- Guilford College second baseman Cynthia Hayes and Virginia Wesleyan College centerfield Tori Higginbotham were tabbed First Team All-Americans by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) on Wednesday evening in a ceremony prior to the start of the NCAA Division III Softball National Championship Series.  The duo lead a list of 21 softball awards earned by ODAC student-athletes.

In addition to Hayes' and Higginbotham's All-America nods, ODAC student-athletes picked garnered 18 All-Atlantic Region honors from the NFCA.  Higginbotham tacked on one further major honor as she earned a spot on the Capital One Academic All-America Division III Third Team, presented by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).

NFCA All-Americans / NFCA All-Region / CoSIDA Academic All-Americans 

Hayes and Higginbotham are 2-of-5 ODAC players to earn first team all-region accolades.  They're joined by Marlins pitcher Kristina Karagiorgis (21-5, 1.21 ERA, 150.0 IP, 143 K), Lynchburg College second baseman Melanie Tenney (.406 BA, 35 RBI, .500 OBP, 23 BB), and Randolph-Macon College outfielder Christine Simon (.484 BA, .567 OBP, 11 2B, 24 RBI).

Five more earned second team laurels led by a pair from VWC in pitcher MacKenzie Creech (16-1, 1.51 ERA, 102.0 IP, 82 K) and second baseman Kayla Malkos (.378 BA, .457 OBP, 23 RBI), who set the ODAC single-season record with 52 stolen bases this season.  Eastern Mennonite University outfielder Aslinn Lucas (.407 BA, .510 OBP, 15 RBI), Randolph College first baseman Hunter Glavé (.444 BA, .516 OBP, .714 SLG, 6 HR, 14 2B, 43 RBI) and R-MC second baseman Sam Moore (.395 BA, .807 SLG, 12 HR, 11 2B, 35 RBI) were also tabbed to the second team.

The NFCA all-region third teams are comprised of at-large selections, unline the first two teams which were based on field position (with three at-large spots per team).  The ODAC saw eight standouts selected to the third team, including four from Lynchburg in outfielder Jessi Hall (.381 BA, 10 RBI, 26 SB), pitcher/utility Amber Ingram (16-5, 2.95 ERA, 125.2 IP, 99 K/.306 BA, 9 HR, 37 RBI), third baseman Danielle Powell (.384 BA, 6 HR, 48 RBI), and outfielder Nicole Shipp (.320 BA, 11 RBI).  Third baseman Kayla Dost (.366 BA, 41 RBI) and catcher Taylor Galvin (.340 BA, 12 RBI) added to Virginia Wesleyan's haul, while utility player Marty Wilcox (.403 BA, .729 SLG, 11 HR, 51 RBI) and shortstop Sharese Jarvis (.377 BA, 6 HR, 31 RBI) added one more representative for Guilford and Randolph-Macon, respectively.

Hayes, a senior from Seagrove, N.C., is the first All-American in Guilford softball history.  Short by just two at bats from leading the country in hitting in 2013 due to injury, she made up for that lost time by leading the ODAC and ranking in the top-10 in NCAA Division III with a .532 batting average.  She set the ODAC single-season record for doubles with 23, and will graduate as the all-time batting average leader in league history at .467.  Hayes' final campaign also featured ODAC-bests in hits (74), runs scored (63) and on-base percentage (.599).  She also drove in 29 runs.

Higginbotham, a senior from Glen Allen, Va., is just the second softball player in ODAC history to win three ODAC Player of the Year honors and the only one to earn three straight.  Higginbotham is now a two-time first team All-American and a four-time all-region honoree.  A winner of three ODAC titles in her career, the Marlins centerfielder finished the season third in batting (.472), OBP (.526) and runs batted in (47), second in hits (68), runs (51), stolen bases (41) and slugging (.736), and first in triples (4) and total bases (106).  She'll graduate with her named dotted throughout the ODAC record book, including the all-time career leader in stolen bases (129).  She ranks second in OBP (.526) and hits (245), fifth in batting (.449) and home runs (31), and sixth in slugging (.733).

In the classroom, Higginbotham maintained a 3.40 grade point average while majoring in Mathematics with a minor in computer science.  She was a four-time VWC Dean's List honoree and a multiple member of the All-ODAC Academic Team.  She is just the third VWC softball player and 12th Marlin all-time to earn Academic All-American status.

For more information, visit the websites of the participating schools, or go to the ODAC's home on the Internet atwww.odaconline.com. Don't forget to become a fan of the ODAC on Facebook and follow the ODAC on Twitter at @odacathletics.