ECU's Simmons and Paulk Earn GAC Player of the Year Honors

Seven members of the East Central University softball team collected honors at the 2013 Great American Conference Softball Banquet, on the eve of the 2013 GAC Championship Tournament. Senior Shelby Simmons and freshman Lacey Paulk led the group by earning All-GAC First Team honors and picking up one of the five major awards.

Simmons was named the GAC Player of the Year after leading the league in batting average (.476), triples (5), and on-base percentage (.503). The North Richland Hills, Texas, native also ranked No. 2 in hits (68), four in total bases (94) and No. 5 in slugging percentage (.657). She has helped pace the Lady Tigers (39-11, 23-7 GAC) to a .355 team batting average, which ranks No. 4 in the NCAA.

Paulk earned the GAC Freshman of the Year honor going 17-2 in the circle through the season and recording a 2.14 ERA. The Goldsby, Okla., native has struck out 124 batters in 117.2 innings of action and recorded 17-straight wins in the circle during the season. Paulk allowed 106 hits and just 47 runs and held her opponents to a .236 batting average.

Simmons (SS) and Paulk (P) are joined on the 2013 All-GAC First Team by junior Gina Mengwasser (C). The Edmond, Okla., native had a .393 average on the season. Mengwasser has tallied 57 hits, including 12 home runs and is first in the GAC with her 51 RBIs.

Three members of the squad earned All-GAC Second Team honors, with senior Ali Manship (3B), sophomore Chelsea Patterson (2B) and freshman Leah Tigert (OF) being named to the team. Manship tallied a .362 average, with 55 hits, 10 home runs and 38 RBIs. Patterson is third on the team with a .378 batting average, with 51 hits and 11 RBIs. Tigert has hit .362 this season, with 20 RBIs.

The final member of the team to earn all-conference honors is freshman Jordynn VanPelt, who was named to the honorable mention team (OF). VanPelt has a .343 average, with 37 hits and 26 RBIs.

The Lady Tigers will open the 2013 GAC Championship Tournament, Thursday, April 25 at noon against Ouachita Baptist at the Tiger Athletic Complex in Bentonville, Ark.


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