Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Opdenbrouw Out at Tennessee State

Tennessee State head coach Tom Opdenbrouw will not return as the Tigers' head coach in 2018, the school announced on Friday.

Opdenbrouw assembled a 33-119 record during his three-year tenure at TSU, including just nine victories in conference play. The Tigers posted a 9-64 mark in Ohio Valley Conference games during Opdenbrouw's time at the helm of the program.

In 2017, Tennessee State went 12-37 overall with a 2-19 mark in conference play.

Opdenbrouw was in his second tenure with TSU softball, following a two-year stint as an assistant coach from 2008-2010. From 2010-2014, he served as Director of Football Operations for the Tigers' squad on the gridiron.

An Army veteran, Opdenbrouw's resume also includes several years spent as head coach at Lindsey Wilson College of the NAIA, as well as assistant coaching stops at SUNY Utica/Rome and SUNY Oneonta.

Austin Peay Declines to Renew Showalter's Contract

Shane Showalter is out at Austin Peay, and the Governors will look for the third head coach in four years in 2018.

Showalter served as head coach from 2016-17, following a three-year stint as an assistant at the school. He amassed a 26-69 overall record in his two seasons, including a 10-37 conference record.

Prior to joining the staff at Austin Peay, Showalter served for a decade as head coach at Colorado State-Pueblo. His resume also includes multiple other stops at lower-level colleges, including Adams State, his alma mater.

Showalter also is in his first year as head coach of the Greek National team.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Division II Player of the Year Finalists Announced

The three finalists for Division II National Player of the Year have been announced. Kaitlyn Bannister of Alabama-Huntsville (UAH); Coley Ries of Minnesota State; and Lyndsay Butler of Wayne State have been named as finalists for the award.

Butler, who won the award in 2016, won her second straight Great Lake Valley Conference Player of the Year award this season after hitting .450 with seven home runs and thirty-nine RBI. Not just a hitter, Butler also boasts a 24-9 record in the circle for the Warriors and holds a Division II-leading 0.61 ERA and more than 200 strikeouts.

Bannister has two conference Player of the Year awards herself, coming out of the Gulf Court Conference, and leads all of Division II with seventy-one RBI on the year. Her .482 batting average set a new UAH program record, while she also amassed a .906 slugging percentage and twenty-one home runs.

Ries leads the NCAA with 403 strikeouts and averages twelve KOs per seven innings. She also boasts thirty-four wins on the season, as well as a 0.89 ERA. Opponents have hit just .143 against Ries, as she set program records for wins and strikeouts.

The award’s winner will be announced on May 24, Wednesday, at the Division 2 championship banquet. The award is in its third year of existence, after being created in 2015 to mimic the similar award at the Division 1 level.

Vecchione to Reach UCLA Hall of Fame

Cal Poly associate head coach Gina Vecchione will be inducted into her alma mater, UCLA’s, Hall of Fame later this year.

Vecchione, one of nine inductees in the class of 2017 for the Bruins, was part of the Bruins’ first-ever Women’s College World Series-winning squad, and was named to the all-WCWS tournament squad in 1982.

A three-time all-region winner, Vecchione was named an all-American in 1982. She earned an admission to the PAC-12’s all-Century team.

In 2007, the Bruins softball program retired her #2 jersey. Vecchione was inducted into the ASA Hall of Fame in 1997.

She is joined in induction into the Bruins Hall of Fame in 2017 by Toby Bailey (basketball); Robin Beauregard (water polo); Monique Henderson (track and field); Maurice Jones-Drew (football); Bob Larsen (coach); Kristen Maloney (gymnastics); Brandon Taliaferro (volleyball); and Bobby Field (extraordinary service).

Auburn's Woodard to be Inducted Into WNMU Hall of Fame

Auburn assistant coach Scott Woodard will be inducted into the Western New Mexico University Athletics Hall of Fame later this year, the school announced this week.

Woodard, who played at, graduated from, and coached at WNMU, spent twenty years at the school as a coach and administrator, at various times serving as head softball coach, head baseball coach, assistant football coach, and athletic director.

During Woodard's tenure as a Mustang, the school transitioned from the NAIA level to Division II, as well as restarted the softball program in 1998.

As a baseball player, Woodard earned all-star honors as a shortstop and was twice nominated to the all-conference team.

A longtime Clint Myers associate, Woodard served as an assistant at Arizona State under Myers, helping build the Sun Devils into the 2011 National championship-winning program. When Myers left ASU for Auburn, Woodard was the only "holdover" staff member to also make the move, and, ultimately, the only non-Myers on the coaching staff of the Tigers' new regime.

Woodard will be joined in induction by volleyball player Liz Narkon. The ceremony will be held September 23rd.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

UIC's Heflin Breaks Ankle During Game

Illinois-Chicago pitcher Elaine Heflin suffered a broken ankle during her team's regional-opening matchup against #3 overall seed Oregon, likely ending her season and her career as a Flame.

The senior hurler started the regional matchup against the Ducks, but failed to record an out before suffering the injury. Heflin faced just two batters, who both reached base on bunt singles, before exiting.

Heflin, the three-time defending Horizon League Pitcher of the Year, was a major catalyst toward helping the Flames take home the Horizon League championship, leading the team with more than 140 innings of work and amassing a 2.08 ERA and 151 strikeouts during the regular season.

The injury likely ends a stellar career that saw Heflin become just the third Horizon League pitcher in history to earn three conference Pitcher of the Year awards during her career, joining fellow Flame Samantha Luli, who did it from 1998-2000, and Cleveland State's Amanda Macenko, who accomplished the feat from 2009-2011.

The school did not comment on the injury, though Heflin confirmed the injury's severity on Twitter:

Alyssa Palomino Tears ACL, Out for Year

Arizona redshirt freshman Alyssa Palomino will miss the remainder of the postseason after suffering an ACL tear.

The slugging star suffered the injury Wednesday, during the Wildcats' practice in preparation for the Tucson regional that started Friday.

Palomino was initially ruled day-to-day after suffering the injury, before an MRI revealed the tear and ended her season.

The injury is the outfielder's second ACL injury in as many years. She suffered an ACL tear in her right knee prior to the 2016 year and missed the entire season.

Palomino was part of an impressive freshman class of Wildcats this season, earning all-freshman and all-conference second-team honors after hitting sixteen home runs and driving in fifty-four during the course of the regular season.