Ohio Valley honors two Cougars with awards
CHARLESTON -- Southern Illinois University Edwardsville softball's Alex McDavid was named the Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year and Haley Chambers took Freshman of the Year honorees at the OVC Postseason Banquet.
SIUE finished with five players on the All-Conference team overall and three on the All-Newcomer team.
"They are all very deserving," said SIUE coach Sandy Montgomery. "We've had a great year so far, and obviously we hope it continues on."
McDavid, who became SIUE's first player to record 10 home runs in a single season during the Division I era, was named to the first team. Chambers, a 19-game winner for the Cougars, also was selected to the OVC first team.
SIUE junior shortstop Chelsea Yankolovich, senior second baseman Taylor Tooley, and sophomore outfielder Brittany Toney were named to the OVC second team.
Chambers, freshman outfielder Jordan LaFave, and junior pitcher Erin Greenwalt were selected as members of the All-Newcomer team.
"We had a lot of young kids on the All-Conference team. That certainly makes for a bright future for our program. I'm very happy for their individual success. When you have individual success, you have team success."
McDavid, who becomes SIUE's first-ever player to be named OVC Player of the Year in any sport, was among the OVC's top hitters in numerous offensive categories. The SIUE third baseman completed the regular season with a .420 batting average. She scored 39 runs and drove home 43 more.
Chambers is tied for third all-time at SIUE in wins by a freshman. The record is 24 set by Becki Saylor in 1981. She finished the regular season with a 19-4 record, a 1.62 earned run average, and threw a perfect game against Jacksonville State. In 155 2/3 innings pitched, she has recorded 162 strikeouts.
Yankolovich, SIUE's leadoff hitter, is batting .331 with two home runs and 19 runs batted in. She leads the team with nine stolen bases and has started all 45 games for the Cougars.
Tooley also started all 45 games for the Cougars. After batting .305 this season, she became the fourth player in school history to record 20 or more career home runs.
Toney batted .500 during OVC games this season and .355 overall. She is tied for second on the team with five runs and is tied for second in runs batted in with 27.
Lafave has appeared in 38 games this season and is batting .272. She has five doubles and is tied for the team lead in triples with two.
Greenwalt posted the best earned run average in OVC play at 1.29. She has a 10-4 record this season and recorded her first no-hitter against Detroit.
SIUE begins OVC Tournament play Wednesday with a 12:30 p.m. game against Tennessee Tech at Williams Field.
Women's track and field
West graduate at SIUE honored by OVC
EDWARDSVILLE -- Another member of the SIUE women's track and field program was honored by the Ohio Valley Conference this week, as Jessica Oranika, (Belleville West) was named OVC Freshman of the Year for the outdoor season.
"Jessica's done a great job this year, but she still hasn't reached her full potential," coach Kareem Jackson said. "Her training has been going well, and she's stayed healthy which has been a big part of her success."
Oranika competed in the 400 meters and 800 meters for the Cougars this season. She posted the OVC's best time of the season in the 400 meters running a 54.68 April 13 at the Hilltopper Relays in Bowling Green, Ky.
The freshman's time in the 400 meters has qualified her to compete in the USA Junior Championships this summer in Des Moines, Iowa. Competition will take place June 14-16 at Drake Stadium.
In the 800 meters, Oranika ranked fifth in the OVC with a time of 2:12.42 on April 5 at the Joey Haines Invite in Cape Girardeau, Mo.
"Jessica's biggest development from the start of the season to now has been her level of focus and day-to-day improvements in practice," Jackson added. "She understands the level of work and commitment it takes for her to reach her goals."
O'Fallon graduate honored by MVC
Illinois State University senior infielder Kyle Stanton, an O'Fallon High graduate who also starred at Southwestern Illinois College, has been named Missouri Valley Conference Baseball Player of the Week.
Stanton hit .550 to help ISU win four of five games last week, including a five-RBI game against Illinois Wesleyan. Stanton also has a stretch of six straight games with at least one double finally end Sunday against Creighton.
During the week, Stanton piled up 11 RBIs and had four doubles.
Through 48 games for the 31-17 Redbirds, Stanton is hitting .351 with a team-leading 16 doubles along with three homers and 37 RBIs.
He hit .304 as a junior last spring with one homer and 35 RBIs.
Creighton snapped the ISU winning streak at 12 games Sunday with a 9-4 victory in Normal.
Redhawks caravan comes to Belleville
The Southeast Missouri State athletic department and its Redhawks Road Trip will make its next stop at Pitchers Sports Pub & Pizzeria in downtown Belleville at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.
Southeast Director of Athletics Mark Alnutt, select coaches and student-athletes will be on hand. Complimentary appetizers will be provided and cash bar available. Each event is free and open to the public. The Pitchers Sports Pub & Pizzeria is located at 104 W. Main St., in Belleville.
The Redhawks Road Trip is a series of outreach events to give fans, alumni and community members the opportunity to meet coaches, student-athletes and administration from Southeast Missouri State athletics. All events feature a social hour and brief program.