Duckworth, Jones, Sullinger Receive MVC Scholar-Athlete Accolades
May 19, 2014
ST. LOUIS, Mo. - Three Missouri State softball players were recognized by the Missouri Valley Conference for their athletic and academic accomplishments. Senior Heather Duckworth received MVC Scholar-Athlete first team honors while junior Chelsea Jones and sophomore Bethany Sullinger were named to the honorable mention team.
Duckworth, a psychology major with a 3.77 grade point average, picks up her second postseason academic honor after earning the Capital One Academic All-District VI first team honors earlier in May. She hit .293 in her senior season and moved into the top-five all-time in doubles (36) and fielding assists (376). Duckworth tied for the league and team lead with four triples and set career highs in hits (46), home runs (4), RBI (32) and walks (21). In the Bears' win in the opening round of the MVC Tournament, she had a double, a walk, a RBI and scored the game-winning run. Duckworth was an All-MVC second team selection in 2013.
Jones, who holds a 3.76 GPA as a history education and religion major, earns her second-straight Scholar-Athlete honorable mention nod. A two-time recipient of the MVC Pitcher of the Week award this season (March 3 & 17), Jones finished the year 9-9 with six complete games and a 3.50 ERA. She allowed just 25 walks on the year and ranked atop the league in fewest walks allowed per game (1.43). At the plate, Jones hit .268 for the Bears and tied for the team-lead with 12 doubles. She set career highs in every offensive category including four home runs, 32 RBI and 15 runs scored. Her five sacrifice flies this season were a single-season best in school history.
Sullinger, a middle school education major with a 3.36 GPA, tied the single-season school record with 46 RBI this year. She was named MVC Player of the Week on February 17 after hitting a scorching .625 for MSU as the Bears swept through a 5-0 weekend at the UTA Maverick Invitational. She was the league's Scholar-Athlete of the Week on May 7. The team-leader with six home runs, Sullinger was the only Bear to club two homers in a game, doing so against MAC-favorite Central Michigan on Valentine's Day. She led all Valley players with an incredible 28 two-out RBI and tied for the league lead with four triples. A .317 hitter this season, Sullinger had 86 total bases two shy of the top-five single season totals at MSU and a top-10 figure in the Valley this year.
In order to be eligible for MVC Scholar-Athlete team accolades, student-athletes must have a cumulative 3.2 GPA or higher, be at least a sophomore in athletic and academic standing and meet certain playing requirements.