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Wallace State-Hanceville & Cowley County Earn 2013 NFCA NJCAA DI & II National Coaching Staff of the Year Honors

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Wallace State Community College-Hanceville and Cowley County Community College have been selected as the 2013 NFCA NJCAA Division I and II National Coaching Staffs of the Year, respectively.

Wallace State CC-Hanceville, under the guidance of head coach Jayne Clem and assistant coach Tracy Grindrod, won the program’s second NJCAA DI national title via a 7-3 victory over Salt Lake Community College. The eighth-seeded Lady Lions completed the 2013 campaign with a 55-12 overall record, after registering a 5-1 mark during its run to the national championship, while also securing the program’s eighth Alabama Community College Conference State and District O (Region 22) crowns.

The Lady Lions were led on the diamond via the contributions of four NFCA NJCAA DI All-Americans: pitchers Bree Blevins and Lindsey DeFee, infielder Kori Benson and outfielder Katie Gentle. Blevins posted a 25-6 overall mark with 27 complete games and 188.2 innings pitched to go along with a team-leading 1.60 ERA and 231 strikeouts. DeFee added a 26-5 record with 153 strikeouts, a 1.84 ERA and 21 complete games over a staff-high 202 frames. Benson hit .352 with 35 extra base hits, including 23 HR’s (good for a tie for fifth in all of NJCAA DI), a .802 slugging percentage and 63 RBIs. Gentle guided the squad with a stellar .461 batting average, 95 hits, 24 doubles, 73 RBIs and 22 stolen bases, while adding 16 HR’s.

Cowley County CC head coach Ed Hargrove and assistant Jenny Hoyt led their program to the NJCAA DII national semifinals with a 55-8 overall record. The NJCAA District D (Region 6A) champion Lady Tigers entered the national tournament as the fourth seed and tallied a 5-2 mark along the way, battling out of the losers bracket before succumbing in the semis to second-seeded Phoenix College, 1-0.

Powering the Lady Tigers’ efforts were four first team NFCA NJCAA DII All-American selections in pitcher Jessica Seay, infielder Haley Strawn, outfielder Laura Seemann and designated player Caitlyn Cosme. Only a freshman, Seay was a staggering 28-0 overall, rating second in NJCAA DII in victories, to go along with a 1.66 ERA, 17 complete games and 144 strikeouts over 164.1 frames. Strawn batted a team-best .455 with 82 runs scored, 97 hits, 37 extra-base hits, including 19 doubles and 14 HR’s, 18 walks and 61 RBIs. Seemann hit .444 with 22 two-baggers, four triples, eight HR’s and 50 RBIs, while Cosme ranked third in the nation with 77 RBIs, batted .403, scored 55 runs, registered a team-best 25 doubles and homered 13 times.