Four Softball Bears Earn All-Conference Honors at MVC Awards Banquet
May 8, 2013
OMAHA, Neb. - For the first time since 2006, four Missouri State softball players were among the All-Missouri Valley Conference teams announced at the league's award banquet in Omaha, Neb., on Wednesday evening. The Bears' middle infield duo of Ashley Brentz and Kirstin Cutter received first team nods while third baseman Heather Duckworth and designated player Mary Stephens picked up second team selections.
It is the second consecutive first-team honor for Brentz who has been solid at the plate and in the field all season. A preseason pick from St. Louis, Mo., Brentz enters the MVC Tournament this weekend with a .297 average and is tied for second on the team in hits (38) and walks (17). After a slow start at the plate, she heated up at just the right time leading into conference play. Beginning with game two of a doubleheader at Memphis on March 12, Brentz hit safely in 18 of 21 games, raising her season average over 100 points. During league play, she hit .362, hitting safely in 19 of the 25 games.
Cutter picks up her second career first-team honor after receiving the distinction in her sophomore season of 2011. This season, she had the more hits in conference play than any other Valley player with 35 base knocks. She leads Missouri State with 56 overall hits, 33 runs scored and is the only Bear to start every game. Her 15 stolen bases tops the squad for the third-consecutive season. The senior from Oklahoma City, Okla., has played in 208 games in an MSU uniform, seventh-most in school history. She also has 615 at-bats as a Bear, the third-most in history. Cutter has set career marks in nearly every offensive category this season.
Duckworth picks up her first league honor after being an all-tournament selection in 2011. The third baseman from Sunnyvale, Texas, is hitting .299 entering the MVC Tournament and is tied with Brentz for second on the team with 17 bases on balls and 38 hits. Duckworth has driven in 23 runs this year, highlights by her four-RBI performance at Illinois State on April 6. She has slammed three home runs this year, more than her first two seasons combined, and has career-best in runs scored (25), hits, RBI and walks.
Stephens has been a great addition to the middle of the Bears' lineup. The clean-up hitter most of the season, Stephens in batting .309 in her first year with the Bears. The Sachse, Texas, native is second on the team with 46 hits, 149 at-bats and 24 runs batted in. Stephens is the only player this season with different three-hit games. She has a total of 13 multi-hit games, second only to Cutter's 15. Stephens enters the tournament on a five-game hitting streak and narrowly missed her second home run of the year at No. 24 Tulsa last week.
Missouri State (22-29, 13-12) is the six-seed in this year's MVC Softball Championship and will face Evansville (20-29, 11-12) at 1:35 p.m. on Thursday in the opening round at CU Sports Complex in Omaha, Neb. The winner will face No. 3-seed Illinois State (28-19, 13-7) at 6:35 p.m. Thursday.