Saint Leo notebook: Softball team reaps honors
ST. LEO -
On the eve of its return to the NCAA II South Regional, the Saint Leo softball team took in a healthy share of the season-ending awards from the Sunshine State Conference.
Eight Lions made the All-SSC squads, including three first-team members. In addition, coach John Conway was honored with SSC Coach of the Year honors.
C Kylee Hardesty, OF McKenzie Burns and UT/P Sarah Steiner were Saint Leo’s first-team selections. Steiner led the Lions with a .376 average and 30 RBIs. Burns hit .346 with an SSC-best 54 steals, and 50 runs scored. And Hardesty hit .308 with a team-best four homers.
On the second team were pitchers Alana Tabel and Megan Still, as well as outfielder Chelsey Steedley.
The Lions were awarded the No. 5 seed in the NCAA II South Regional, which began late Friday and is being hosted by top seed Valdosta State. They faced No. 4 Tampa in a game that was not complete at press time.
The tournament continues through the weekend. The winner advancing to the super regionals beginning on May 17.
Primed for postseason The baseball team (35-14-1, 14-9-1) swept Florida Southern by a combined score of 43-6 to state its case for a berth in its South Regional, which begins next week.
The Lions ended the regular season on a five-game winning streak, scoring 10 or more runs in each of those games.
They are ranked seventh in the latest NCAA regional rankings, which makes them a likely at-large pick for the regional. Those selections will be made on Sunday at 10 p.m. on ncaasports.com. They also received two votes in the Division II national top-25 poll.
Michael Revell was named South Region player of the week after going 10-for-15 in the victories. The Lions went 5-0 this season against the Moccasins, one of the traditionally tough programs in the SSC.
Connolly edged out After a superb back nine vaulted her into contention, sophomore golfer Clare Connolly lost a three-way playoff to earn a berth in the National Finals on Tuesday at Lone Palm Golf Club in Lakeland.
Connolly finished tied for eighth with rounds of 76-78-73. She birdied three consecutive holes on the back nine to make the playoff, but a bogey on the first playoff hole knocked her out of contention.
Rollins’ Annie Dulman won medalist honors with a 217, 10 shots clear of Connolly.
Lions leftovers Men’s golfer Nick Brothers finished a strong season tied for 28th in his regional and did not advance to the finals. … The women’s tennis team finished seventh in the final national rankings.
Correspondent Bart O’Connell can be reached at [email protected] He can be followed on Twitter @BartOTrib.