Smith Honored with NFCA All-Midwest Region Selection
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Missouri State senior shortstop Jessie Smith added another award to her already impressive list of accomplishments as a Bear, picking up Louisville Slugger/NFCA First-Team All-Midwest Region recognition Thursday. Smith is the first Bear to be honored by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association with an all-region selection since 2006 and the first MSU player to earn first-team honors since 2003.
Smith was named to her second All-Missouri Valley Conference squad last week after turning in one of the top all-around seasons in the history of the MSU program. The Blue Springs, Mo., native led the Bears with a .388 batting average, while posting team highs in nearly every offensive category this season and taking her place among some of the greatest players to ever don the Missouri State uniform. Smith’s .657 slugging percentage in 2009 is a new single-season record at MSU, while her season marks for batting average, home runs (7) and total bases (88) all rank among the top five figures in school history. She also rated among the MVC’s top 10 individual leaders in batting average, stolen bases (13), hits (52), doubles (11), triples (2), runs scored (27) and on-base percentage.
Smith, who started 200 consecutive games during her Missouri State career, eclipsed or tied four MSU career records in 2009. She set the marks for home runs (27), slugging percentage (.556) and total bases (328) and tied Kate Madden’s career record for runs scored (123) by a Bear.
Additionally, Smith was the toughest player in the Valley to strike out in 2009, fanning only six times 134 at-bats and just twice in 56 at-bats during conference play.
“Jessie contributed tremendously on both sides of the ball for us this season,” Bears’ head coach Holly Hesse says. “She made only six errors at shortstop this season and she’s been solid defensively throughout her career. Offensively, she’s been the spark for us really since she stepped on campus. She was near the .400 mark all season long and hit above .300 in each of her four years here, so she’s been a consistent performer for us, and this honor tops off a really solid career for her.”
One of nine Valley standouts to be named to all-regional squads Thursday, Smith now becomes eligible for All-America consideration. The NFCA will announce its All-America teams on May 27.
The 2009 Bears concluded their season with an opening-round loss to eventual league champ Bradley at the MVC Softball Championship in East Peoria, Ill., on May 7. MSU, which finished seventh in the MVC’s regular-season race, wrapped up the year with an overall record of 19-25.