Five Blazers Make NFCA All-Region

By: VSU Sports Communications
By: VSU Sports Communications

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Valdosta State leads the nation, along with Alabama-Huntsville, in National Fastpitch Coaches’ Association All-Region First Team players with five Blazers making the first team squad. Marti Littlefield, April Hutchens, Alanna Hadley, Morgan Johnson and Courtney Albritton all made the NFCA All-South Region First Team. With that, all five players are eligible for NFCA All-America status.

All five players also made the All-GSC First Team as well as the Daktronics All-South Region squad. Hadley, Hutchens and Albritton were the only Daktronics first teamers, but all five made the first team on which the coaches vote.

Albritton earns her first NFCA All-Region award as it is her freshman season while Hadley does the same in her first season at Valdosta State. Hutchens makes her first All-Region team while Johnson makes her second NFCA All-Region team after also making it her freshman season. Littlefield impressively makes it four consecutive seasons on the NFCA All-Region squad.

In her senior season, Littlefield has cemented her legacy at Valdosta State by breaking the Gulf South Conference record for most RBI in a career. She currently has knocked 239 RBI with an outstanding grand slam against Alabama-Huntsville in the second game of the South Regional Tournament. With nine home runs this season, Littlefield has knocked 56 career homers and needs just one to tie the GSC career record in home runs. She's batting .343 with 57 hits, nine home runs, 16 doubles, two triples and 54 RBI. She has been walked a team high 37 times. Littlefield also made the All-Gulf South Conference First Team.

Other seniors on the squad were Hutchens and Hadley. Hutchens has been considered one of the best defensive players in the region and maybe the nation all of three previous seasons at VSU, but this year she has put together her best offensive output to date. She is batting .313 on the year, her highest of her career. She has scored 35 runs on 45 hits this season with nine doubles and a home run. So far this year Hutchens has knocked 25 RBI. Hutchens was another All-GSC First Teamer along with Littlefield and Hadley.

Hadley has been the ace for VSU in her only season in the Blazers' pitcher's circle. She was named the GSC Pitcher of the Year and earned the GSC Pitcher of the Week award five times this season. With an impressive 27-3 record and an 0.97 earned run average, Hadley will lead VSU against Florida Southern. She has 11 solo shutouts on the season with 27 complete games and 194.0 innings pitched. To date, she has struck out 146 batters and allows opponents just a .174 batting average.

The other two Blazers to make the NFCA All-South Region Team have been the team's most prolific offensive forces. The duo of Johnson and Albritton have flip flopped throughout the season for the team's highest batting average. Currently it's Johnson with a .450 batting average and a team high .520 on-base percentage. Johnson has knocked 44 RBI, nine home runs, two triples, 17 doubles and 76 hits. She's scored 50 runs and is slugging .734. She was another All-GSC first teamer and knocked the winning and only RBI against Rollins in the final game of the South Regional.

Albritton took VSU and the entire Gulf South Conference by storm in just her freshman season. She was named the GSC's Freshman and Player of the Year while leading the conference in most categories. She is first on the VSU squad in runs scored (67), hits (88), doubles (19), triples (3), home runs (15), RBI (58), slugging percentage (.794) and stolen bases (12-12). She robbed Rollins of a home run in the seventh inning to secure VSU's path to the Super Regionals.

Albritton, Hutchens, Hadley, Johnson and Littlefield will lead Valdosta State in the team's quest to the NCAA Division II National Tournament when they face Florida Southern in the South Super Regional starting at 6 p.m. Friday.

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