INDIANAPOLIS -- Cleveland State senior catcher Erica McNew was named Horizon League Player of the Year in voting of the League’s coaches. This is the second-straight year that the Vikings have named a student-athlete to the honor.
McNew hit .547 in League play for the Vikings to lead the conference while also posting a League-leading 1.113 slugging percentage. The senior led all hitters in several other categories including on-base percentage (.747), home runs (9), and walks (42).
UIC junior pitcher Elaine Heflin earned her second-straight Pitcher of the Year accolade after compiling a 1.55 earned run average this season and an 18-8 overall record. In conference play, Heflin held opponents to a 1.03 ERA while garnering 10 wins and leading the League in strikeouts with 86.
Heflin’s teammate, Lexi Watts, was named Freshman of the Year after an impressive debut for the Flames leading the team in hitting with a .377 batting average in conference games and a second-best season average with .366. The freshman started all 48 games for UIC and led the League in stolen bases with 20 and tabbed a total of 36 on the year.
Leading UIC to its second-straight Horizon League regular-season title, head coach Michelle Venturella garnered Coach of the Year accolades. The Flames went 18-5 in League play while posting a 32-16 overall record to earn the No. 1 seed and hosting rights of the Horizon League Softball Championship. This marks Venturella’s third Coach of the Year honor of her career.
Heflin and Watts were joined by teammates Laura Swan and LaRi Mitchell on the First Team All-League while McNew is accompanied by fellow senior Katelind Phillips.
Reigning Horizon League Tournament Champion Oakland landed Sarah Harley on the First Team as Wright State added three student-athletes to the squad in Becka Peterson, Honna Susor and Ashley Sharp. Youngstown State rounded out the team with senior Miranda Castiglione and sophomore Cali Mikovich.
UIC will host the Horizon League Softball Championship, which begins on Wednesday, May 11. ESPN3 will bring fans the action across all four days, culminating with the League championship game on May 14.
2016 Softball Awards
Player of the Year: Erica McNew, Cleveland State
Freshman of the Year: Lexi Watts, UIC
Pitcher of the Year: Elaine Heflin, UIC
Coach of the Year: Michelle Venturella, UIC
First Team All-League
Erica McNew, CSU (Sr., C/1B)
Katelind Phillips, CSU (Sr., UTL)
Sarah Hartley, Oakland (Sr., SS)
Laura Swan, UIC (Sr., 1B)
Elaine Heflin, UIC (Jr., P)
Lexi Watts, UIC (Fr., CF)
LaRi Mitchell, UIC (Sr., LF)
Becka Peterson, WSU (RS Jr., SS)
Honna Susor, WSU (So., OF)
Ashley Sharp, WSU (So., P)
Miranda Castiglione, YSU (Sr., 3B)
Cali Mikovich, YSU (So., OF)
Second Team All-League
Jordan Manno, Detroit (Fr., 2B/SS)
Christa McGahuey, Detroit (Sr., DP/P)
Acacia Tupa, Green Bay (Fr., OF)
Zahrya McFarland, NKU (Fr., OF)
Haley Zemmer, Oakland (So., P)
Brittney Miller, Oakland (Fr., 3B)
Skylee James, UIC (Fr., SS)
Tiana Mack-Miller, UIC (So., 3B)
Taylor Weissenhofer, Valparaiso (Sr., P)
Carly Trepanier, Valparaiso (Fr., 2B)
Vivi Marquez, WSU (Jr., UT/DP)
Sarah Dowd, YSU (Jr., OF)
Riley Ries, Cleveland State (C)
Jordan Manno, Detroit (2B/SS)
Acacia Tupa, Green Bay (OF)
Zahrya McFarland, NKU (OF)
Brittney Miller, Oakland (3B)
Lexi Watts, UIC (CF)
Skylee James, UIC (SS)
Carly Trepanier, Valparaiso (2B)
Paige Geanangel, YSU (P)