July 3, 2012

Holly Thomas headlines softball team awards

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- After one of the most successful careers in Tennessee Tech softball history, Holly Thomas has been named the Most Valuable Player for the 2012 season by head coach Tory Acheson.

The Ooltewah, Tenn. native also took the title of Best Pitcher, racking up 20 wins for the Golden Eagles.

Chanelle Spalding was named Best Offensive Player and Cassie Garrett was named the Best Defensive Infielder while Angi Sakamoto was named both the Best Defensive Outfielder and Freshman of the Year. Christian Gibbs took the title of Most Improved and Brooke Basten won the Coach's Award.

Thomas wrapped up her career with a stunning display of pitching at the 2012 Ohio Valley Conference tournament, in which she won four of her five decisions, defeating each of the top four seeds. She struck out 158 batters in her 38 appearances on the year. Her opponents batting average of .204 ranked the best in the conference. Thomas led the Golden Eagles in every pitching category, hurling three shutouts and 23 complete games in 218.2 innings in the circle.

Sakamoto made a stellar impression in her freshman campaign, tallying a team-high eight doubles and third-best 20 runs batted in. She was the only player on the team to start each of Tech's 59 games on the year and committed just four errors in left field. Leading the squad with nine sacrifice hits, the Waipahu, Hawaii native was also hit by pitches a team-high eight time.

Chanelle Spalding was continued her consistent career at the plate, batting .287 with seven doubles. She drove in 14 runs and scored 26 times. She drew a team-high 21 walks and stole five bases in her junior season.

Garrett's presence was made known around the league in her first season as a Golden Eagle. She helped turn 11 double plays on the year and had a fielding percentage of .948 at a mix of second base and shortstop.

After not seeing action in her first year at Tech, Gibbs played a vital role in clutch situations. In back-to-back games against OVC foe SIU-Edwardsville, she was called upon to pinch hit with the bases loaded. In both occurances, she drew RBI walks, aiding Tech in winning both contests.

Basten took home the Coach's Award, given to the player who demonstrates the most heart. A senior from Green Bay, Wis., Basten showed tremendous leadership over the course of the season, helping to lead the Golden Eagles to the OVC Championship game. Brooke was also named to the OVC All-Tournament team for her efforts.