BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Southwestern Athletic Conference announced the 2015 All-SWAC softball teams and individual award winners Tuesday, May 5.
Thomasina Garza of Texas Southern University and Jackson State University’s Canessa Swanson were named Co-Players of the Year, with Garza also claiming the Hitter of the Year title. Alabama State University’s Chelsea King earned both Pitcher and Freshman of the Year accolades, while fellow Hornet, Carly Evans, was voted Newcomer of the Year. Worley Barker of TSU and John Garris of Southern University and A&M College were crowned Co-Coaches of the Year.
Votes were based on SWAC head softball coaches and sports information directors.
Finishing her final season with the Tigers, Garza earned SWAC, season high stands in batting average (.429), slugging percentage (.733) and on base percentage (.523). The 2014-15 year added 26 runs, 34 hits and 34 RBI to her resume, while also landing Garza national recognition from the NCAA. She captured thirteenth ranking in RBI by the NCAA as well as twenty-seventh in toughest to strikeout, fifty-ninth in batting average, fifty-fourth in doubles per game and fifty-first in on base percentage.
Swanson led the conference in runs scored (44) and shared a first-place position in stolen bases (35) and triples per game (4). She earned a batting average of .289 and a season performance with 44 runs, 37 hits and 20 RBI. Swanson was ranked sixteenth in stolen bases and fifty-sixth in triples per game by the NCAA. She was also named SWAC Hitter of the Week and College Sports Madness SWAC Player of the Week during week nine of play.
In her first season of collegiate competition, King received four consecutive SWAC Pitcher of the Week titles. She was ranked thirty-first by the NCAA in ERA, leading the conference with a value of 1.77. King carries a win/loss percentage of .500 with 63.1 innings pitched and has struck out 36 batters with 11 walks and 30 runs.
Evans completed her first season with the Hornets with a batting average of .364. She registered 15 runs with 39 hits and claimed five homeruns and 38 RBI. Evans was voted SWAC Hitter of the Week twice and grabbed a College Sports Madness SWAC Player of the Week accolade during the third week of the season.
On the regular season, Barker finished with a 21-16 overall record, 14-3 in the conference. He led the Tigers to their fifth consecutive western division championship accolade and looks to score his second, straight SWAC tournament title. The Tigers claimed first-place for the conference in ERA (3.77), opposing batting average (.270), batters struck out (174) and batters struck out looking (.270).
Garris completed his first season with a conference record of 11-5 and a 15-12 overall standing. He coached his team to a sixth-place, NCAA standing in doubles per game and led the SWAC in fielding percentage (.958) and fielding double plays (15).
Evans, Swanson, Garza and King were also voted to the first team. Joining them includes Destinee Williams from Prairie View A&M University, Nicole Ene from Grambling State University, Valerie Centeno and Jenna Mae Thorne from Alabama State, Jasmine Hardwrick from the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Kiara Suttles and Kayleigh Thomas from Southern, Anisa Britt from Alabama A&M University and Sammantha Jimenez (Texas Southern)
Alabama State and Texas Southern led the conference, both providing seven overall selections, while Jackson State managed a second-place position with five titles. Mississippi Valley and Southern both collected four awards, followed by Prairie View A&M with two all-conference positions. Alabama A&M, Grambling State and Arkansas-Pine Bluff each had a player on the all-SWAC teams.
PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
Thomasina Garza (Texas Southern) / Canessa Swanson (Jackson State)
PITCHER OF THE YEAR / FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
Chelsea King (Alabama State)
NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR
Carly Evans (Alabama State)
HITTER OF THE YEAR
Thomasina Garza (Texas Southern)
COACHES OF THE YEAR
Worley Barker (Texas Southern) / John Garris (Southern)