LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A historical power surge and a conference tournament MVP performance led to University of Alabama in Huntsville’s Kaitlyn Bannister and North Georgia’s Courtney Poole garnering the final Louisville/Slugger NFCA Division II National Player and Pitcher of the Week honors for the 2016 season, announced the Association on Wednesday afternoon.
Bannister turned in a gigantic numbers over the weekend in a three-game sweep at Gulf South Conference foe Union. The junior from Albertville, Ala. recorded 20 RBI, four home runs, including two grand slams, eight runs scored and a 1.667 slugging percentage. In addition, she was flawless at third base, recording 12 assists without an error.Her performances were record-setting as she established UAH’s single-game record for RBI with 10 in the series opener, going 4-for-5 with a double and two home runs.
“Teamwork is where it all starts, and without my teammates working hard and getting on base for me to knock them in, none of this would have been possible,” said Bannister. “This award is such an exciting honor, knowing that all my hard work and the opportunities Coach Stuedeman have given me have paid off.”
In the series finale, Bannister became only the sixth player in Division II history to hit two grand slams in a game, which aided her in a nine-RBI outing. Bannister doubled her season’s grand slam total and is just the third-ever DII player to log four in a season, while her 20 RBI brought her season total to a UAH single-season record 80.
“I have seen a lot in my coaching career,” head coach Les Stuedeman said. “I have seen some kids have great days and weeks and huge moments. I have never seen 20 RBI over three games. The thing about it is, if you watch her hit, you expect it. It doesn't even surprise anybody that she did it.”
Poole closed out the regular season helping the Nighthawks claim their third Peach Belt Conference title and a bid to the NCAA Division II Softball Tournament. Highlighted by a no-hitter in the tournament, the senior righty went 5-0 with a 0.48 ERA, four shutouts and 21 strikeouts, while holding her opposition to a .141 batting average. Follow her performance, Poole improves to 49-2 on the year with a 0.62 ERA and 406 strikeouts.
“It’s a great honor to be recognized by the NFCA but this is really a recognition for our entire team,” Poole said. “We had a great weekend at the Peach Belt Conference Tournament and it was an amazing experience to be able to win another championship with my teammates. We’re all looking forward to starting the NCAA Tournament next week."
After twirling a pair of shutouts against Montevallo (11 IP, 6 K, 6 H) to close out the regular season, Poole silenced Francis Marion in the first round of the PBC tournament. The Watkinsville, Ga. native struck out two and walked one for her fourth no-hitter of the season and sixth of her career. On the final day of the tournament, the PBC tournament MVP tossed 13 innings, which included a two-hit, nine-strikeout shutout in the title-game victory against USC-Aiken.
"We are excited for all of the national recognition that Courtney has received and she deserves every bit of it,” said head coach Mike Davenport. “She has a tremendous work ethic and it has shown in her improvement ever year in her time here at UNG. Courtney has made her mark in the school, conference, and national record books and we couldn’t be more proud to call her a Nighthawk."
Player of the Week
April 27 – Kaitlyn Bannister (UAH)
April 20 – Erin King (Franklin Pierce)
April 13 – Marisa Monasseri (Caldwell)
April 6 – Hanna Holland (Humboldt State)
March 30 – Emily Benson (Western Washington)
March 23 – Ashlyn White (Henderson State)
March 16 – Sydney Wellman (St. Mary’s)
March 9 – Taylor Zimmerman (Washburn)
March 2 – Shayne Starkey (West Texas A&M)
Feb. 24 – Cheyanne Head (Barry)
Feb. 17 – Hannah Michel (St. Mary’s)
Feb. 10 – Darian Harris (Southern Arkansas)
Pitcher of the Week
April 27 – Courtney Poole (North Georgia)
April 20 – Coley Ries (Minnesota State)
April 13 – Jalissa Gum (Arkansas Tech)
April 6 – Haley Fagan (Trevecca Nazarene)
March 30 – Chelsea McManaway (Findlay)
March 23 – Courtney Poole (North Georgia)
March 16 – Bekah Slattery (Lock Haven)
March 9 – Hannah Perryman (UMSL)
March 2 – Morgan Foley (Indianapolis)
Feb. 24 – Carley Tysinger (Catawba)
Feb. 17 – Hannah Perryman (UMSL)
Feb. 10 – Kaylee Garner (Southern Arkansas)
Selected Top Performances
West Chester’s Brooke Harner – PSAC Eastern Pitcher of the Week - 3-0, 0.00 ERA, 21 K, 19 IP, .175 opp. BA, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 XBH… Concordia’s (Ore.) Meghan Luebbert – GNAC Player of the Week - .550 (11-for-20), 2 3B, 5 HR, 10 R, 11 RBI… Rollins’ Nicki Fogle – Sunshine State Pitcher of the Week - 2-0, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1.00 ERA, 5 K, 2 BB vs. No. 7 Saint Leo… Indianapolis’ Morgan Foley – GLVC Pitcher of the Week - 4-0, 0.88 ERA, 42 K, 24 IP; no-hitter vs. Quincy (13 K, 0BB)… NYIT’s Kat Zabielski – East Coast Player of the Week - .419, 3 2B, 3B, 3 HR, 18 RBI… Holy Family’s Bailey Walters – CACC Co-Pitcher of the Week - 5-0, 0.84 ERA, 19 K, 32.2 IP, 24 H, .192 opp. BA… Grand Valley State’s McKenze Supernaw – GLIAC Player of the Week - .560, 4 HR, 14 RBI, .556 OBP, 1.160 SLG… St. Edwards’ Kayla Appleby – Heartland Player of the Week - .900 (9-for-10), 2 HR, 6 RBI, 6 R… Caldwell’s Amber Padilla – CACC Co-Pitcher of the Week - 3-0, 3 CG, 16 K, 0 BB, 1 R, 7 H, 21 IP… West Virginia Wesleyan’s Hannah Vet – Mountain East Pitcher of the Week - 3-0, 0.00 ERA… NYIT’s Laura McLaughlin – East Coach Pitcher of the Week – 5-0, save, 5 CG, 3 SHO, 1.04 ERA, .207 opp. BA… IUP’s Brooke Darling – PSAC Central Pitcher of the Week – 3-0, 1.14 ERA, 19 K, 2 SHO… California’s Natalya Smarr – PSAC West Athlete of the Week - .600, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 1.267 SLG… LIU Post’s Julia Seader – East Coach Rookie of the Week - .471, 3 2B, 5 HR, 14 RBI, 12 R Angelo State’s Brandy Marlett – Lone Star Pitcher of the Week – 3-1, 2 CG, SHO, 26 K, 25.1 IP, .193 opp. BA… Bloomfield’s Mariah Frazier – CACC Player of the Week - .478, 4 HR, 9 RBI, 6 R… Kentucky Wesleyan’s Maci Brown – G-MAC Pitcher of the Week – 1-0, SHO, 2 H, 10 K… … Grand Valley State’s Sara Andrasik - GLIAC Pitcher of the Week – 2-0, 0.44 ERA, SHO, 13 K, 1 BB… Central Oklahoma’s Morgan Heard – MIAA Hitter of the Week - .615 (8-for-13), 2B, HR, 6 R, 5 RBI, .688 OBP… Stonehill’s Alison Sumski – NE-10 Player of the Week - .538 (7-for-13), 3 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 1.231 SLG… American International’s Jillian Bedard – NE-10 Pitcher of the Week – 1-0, save, 0.00 ERA… Winona State’s Hanna Lythberg – Northern Sun Pitcher of the Week – 2-1, 0.37 ERA; no-hitter vs. Southwest Minnesota (8 IP, 10 K)… Academy of Art’s Jessica West – PacWest Player of the Week - .643 (9-for-14), 2 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 7 R, 1.357 SLG... Wingate’s Stacey Houser – SAC Pitcher of the Week – 3-0, 0.29 ERA, 1 ER, 11 H, 11 K.