STARKVILLE, Miss. – This year 32 student-athletes from 17 different institutions have earned the distinguished honor of being named as a 2011 Louisville Slugger/NFCA NAIA All-American.
2011 National Runners-Up California Baptist led the way in first–team selections with three, while Cal State San Marcos had the most overall selections with four.
This year’s list also included nine student-athletes that earned the title of All-American for the second time in their respective careers.
Outfielder Kendall Gorham was the first of three first-team honorees for California Baptist this season. Gorham, a 2010 first-team selection, batted .376 this season with 73 RBIs and 18 home runs.
Pitcher Emma Holden, an at-large choice, earned her second All-American accolade by going 35-2 in the circle this season with the nation’s lowest ERA and 350 strikeouts. Shortstop Mara Rodriguez, also an at-large selection, turned in a .387 clip this year and drove in 59 runs while scoring 45 herself.
National Championship participant Central Baptist notched two first-teamers this year, their first NFCA All-American honors in program history. Second baseman Christen Kirchner had the fourth-highest batting average in the NAIA in 2011 at .509, while her teammate Kiara Bonner, an outfielder, slugged an outlandish .835 on the season and stole 18 bases.
Southern Nazarene also had two honorees this season, catcher Amy Madden and first baseman Katie Hale. Madden batted .413 over 60 games for the Crimson Storm and allowed no passed balls behind the plate, while Hale hit .430 and tallied 63 RBIs.
Rounding out the schools with multiple first teamers this season was Oklahoma City with third baseman Nathalie Timmermans and at-large selection Lily LaVelle, a pitcher. Timmermans drove in 64 runs this season and batted a team-high .404, while LaVelle won 31 games for the Stars in the circle and struck out the second-most batters in the NAIA with 391 strikeouts.
This year’s pitching spot on the first team went to Anna Ard of William Carey. Ard tuned in 0.85 ERA this season to go along with 288 strikeouts while limiting opponents to a .130 batting average.
The final two pitchers to be named to this year’s team in at-large capacities were Valerie Teter of Columbia (MO) and Brenna Sandberg of Cal State San Marcos. Teter, a 2010 second-team selection, averaged 12.3 strikeouts per game this season, while allowing just 0.79 walks per nine innings, the second lowest total in the nation this year. Sandberg led the NAIA in wins this season with 41, while also finishing third in the country in strikeouts with 390.
Belhaven’s Christina Jacques was the shortstop on this year’s first team. Jacques, now a two-time All-American, tallied 96 hits this season with the Blazers, while also stealing 44 bases.
Rounding out the 2011 Louisville Slugger/NFCA NAIA All-American first team were outfielder Jenny Shepherd of Brenau and utility player Jennifer Costa of MidAmerica Nazarene. Shepherd hit .405 this season with 45 RBIs at the dish, while also winning 11 games for the Golden Tigers in the circle and striking out 96. Meanwhile, Costa was an offensive force for the Pioneers in 2011 leading the nation in RBIS per game (1.49), home runs (28), home runs per game (0.55) and slugging percentage (1.135.)
To view the entire list of 2011 Louisville Slugger/NFCA NAIA All-Americans, click here