CHARELSTON, S.C. - The College of Charleston softball team and head coach Shelly Hoerner have announced the 2011 team awards. Alexa Datko (San Diego, Calif.) was named the team's Most Valuable Player; Kristi Woodall notched the team's COUGAR Award; and Carly Corthell and Lizzy Vaughn shared the Rookie of the Year Award.
Datko (San Diego, Calif.) had a dominant year for the Cougars in the pitching circle and, in addition to being named the CofC MVP, was named the SoCon Pitcher of the Year and to the 2011 Louisville Slugger/National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division I All-South Region Second Team.
Datko, the 2011 Southern Conference Pitcher of the Year, closed the year with a 17-8 record in the circle and a 2.35 ERA in 179 innings pitched. The right-handed senior hurled 15 complete games and nine shutout performances. She held her opponents to a .231 batting average and struck out 155 hitters.
"To be named the team's MVP is an incredible honor," said Datko. "I feel like I owe so much of this honor back to my teammates because they were there to pick me up all year long. I always knew I had a reliable defense behind me and that really allowed me to be confident in my pitching."
Woodall (Huntersville, N.C.) fully embodies the principles and expectations placed on Cougar softball players and, as such, was voted by her teammates to be most deserving of the COUGAR Award. Her reputation and leadership extend beyond the softball field as well as she was honored with the prestigious J. Stewart Walker Cup earlier in the year, which is the highest award given by the athletics department to a deserving student-athlete.
The team's COUGAR Award is an acronym for Competitor, Objective, Unselfish, Gutsy, Accountable, Respectful. The award fully encompasses what the Cougar softball program strives for in each and every endeavor, on and off the field.
"It makes me extremely proud to know that my teammates trusted me as a leader this year," said Woodall. "My primary concern on the field has always been to get better every time out and do whatever I can to increase my team's chance of winning. It means a lot to me that my teammates have noticed and respected that effort."
Vaughn (Placerville, Calif.) and Corthell (Reno, Nev.) had extremely productive freshman campaigns and their accomplishments earned them a share of the Rookie of the Year Award. Corthell fulfilled her leadoff role with team highs in hits (66), batting average (.337) and on-base percentage (.388) (highest of hitters with more than 15 at bats). Vaughn was a timely, clutch hitter for the Cougars and compiled 25 RBIs with 27 runs scored and consistently made dazzling defensive plays at shortstop which kept the Cougars in several close games.
The future is most certainly bright for CofC softball as these young standouts will continue to hone their skills throughout their careers and follow in the examples left by their senior leaders.