McGinley awarded Kansas softball’s top honor
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas softball head coach Megan Smith announced the 2017 team awards on Monday, including junior outfielder Erin McGinley as the winner of the Big Jay Award, Offensive Player of the Year and the Academic Award.
Smith and the KU softball coaching staff also named junior catcher Harli Ridling as the Defensive Player of the Year, freshman infielder Becki Monaghan as the Rookie of the Year and administrative assistant Carie Gallagher as the support staffer of the year.
Erin McGinley – Big Jay Award, Offensive Player of the Year, Academic Award
McGinley’s standout junior season was highlighted by being named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-Region Second Team and to the Academic All-Big 12 First Team. The Prairie Village, Kansas, native played in all of KU’s 52 games in centerfield, leading the squad with a .337 batting average, 57 hits, and 19 stolen bases.
The Big Jay Award is the top award in Kansas softball and is presented to the student-athlete that best exemplifies what it means to be a part of Kansas softball on the field, in the classroom and in the community.
McGinley earned KU softball’s Academic Award a year after her sister, Shannon, took home the same honor after the 2016 season. The coaching staff awards the academic honor to the member of the roster who earned the highest GPA over the last year.
Coach Smith on Erin McGinley: “Erin had an outstanding season for us both on and off the field. She was a leader for us. She does a great job in the classroom, which is why she is our academic award winner. She is the person who exemplifies what Kansas softball is all about the most. She was dynamic on the field, was a great centerfielder for us and also a force up at the plate. Erin showed her speed with 19 stolen bases and led our team in a lot of offensive categories. She is a good leader on the team – a good example for her teammates. She is always working hard. Cares about her the program and her teammates first.”
Harli Ridling – Defensive Player of the Year
Ridling earned All-Big 12 Second Team honors after one of the most impressive seasons by a KU catcher since Coach Smith arrived in Lawrence. Ridling started 49 of Kansas’ 52 games during her junior season, posting a .326 clip with 47 hits and a team-high 11 home runs. In the field, Ridling totaled 206 putouts, 35 assists and just three errors behind the plate for a .988 fielding percentage.
Coach Smith on Harli Ridling: “Harli had a phenomenal defensive season for us – the best I’ve ever seen a catcher have here at Kansas since I’ve been here. She was super dynamic behind the plate in handling our pitching staff, but also a fierce competitor. She led our team defensively. Her arm was tremendous this year – throwing out a lot of runners.”
Becki Monaghan – Rookie of the Year
Monaghan’s debut season as a Jayhawk included 47 starts with a .261 batting average – the highest batting average among KU freshmen, seven doubles, 15 RBIs and 12 runs scored. At first base, Monaghan totaled 337 putouts and 15 assists for a .989 fielding percentage. The Stony Plain, Alberta, native is currently competing for Canada’s Junior National Team at the WBSC Junior Women’s Softball Championship in Clearwater, Florida.
Coach Smtih on Becki Monaghan: “Becki had an outstanding freshman season. From the fall to the spring, she grew a lot as a player and was very dynamic for us on both sides of the ball this past season – playing really solid defense at first base and producing offensively up at the plate. She just had great character and a great work ethic throughout the entire season.”
Carie Gallagher – Support Staff of the Year
Carie Gallagher serves as the Administrative Assistant for KU softball, as well as the swimming & diving, tennis and soccer programs at Kansas.
Coach Smith on Carie Gallagher: “Our support staff does so much for us to help us succeed. A lot of times they don’t get the credit they deserve for their work behind the scenes, so it was important for us to recognize Carie and all of the work she puts into our program. She helps out every single day with our coaching staff and she is always a selfless person who is willing to do whatever we need to be successful. We are really lucky to have her as a part of our program.”
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