Valdosta, GA -- Valdosta State made a clean sweep of the Gulf South Conference awards with one player even being honored twice. Head Coach Thomas Macera was named the GSC Coach of the Year for the first time in his career while Alanna Hadley took home the GSC Pitcher of the Year award. Freshman Courtney Albritton has put together such an impressive freshman campaign that not only was she named the GSC Freshman of the Year, but was awarded the GSC Player of the Year as well. Seven other Blazers made All-GSC.
Valdosta State’s nine Blazers honored was the league high with seven named to the All-GSC First Team, also a league high. Alabama-Huntsville had seven All-GSC selections with six on the first team while West Alabama had two, both first teamers. Rounding out the second team was North Alabama and West Florida with two picks and Delta State and West Georgia with one each.
The All-GSC First Team Blazers in addition to Hadley and Albritton were second baseman April Hutchens, shortstop Marti Littlefield, third baseman Samantha Posey, outfielder Morgan Johnson and first baseman Natalia Morozova. Catcher Ashley Steinhilber and pitcher Brianna Hancock earned All-GSC Second Team honors.
Hadley earning the GSC Pitcher of the Year award marks the third consecutive season the award comes to Valdosta State with Holly Satterfield winning it the previous two seasons. Hadley took the GSC by storm this season, winning five GSC Pitcher of the Week awards, including four consecutive weeks. Once this season she was even named the National Pitcher of the Week. Hadley lost her first and last starts of the regular season by 1-0 scores, but was unbeatable between those starts, winning 22 consecutive games with three saves. She finished the season with a 0.66 ERA and .164 opponents’ batting average. She has 121 strikeouts on the years with 22 complete games and 10 shutouts in 158 innings.
Albritton marks the third Blazer in four seasons to earn the GSC Freshman of the Year award following in the footsteps of Morgan Johnson and Marti Littlefield. Albritton added her own spin to it though, also taking home the GSC Player of the Year award. She was twice named GSC Player of the Week this season and leads the league in runs scored (57). Albritton is also among league leaders in all major offensive statistics including home runs (13, second), RBI (48, third), batting average (.445, second), slugging percentage (.817, second), on-base percentage (.481, sixth), hits (73, second) and doubles (16, third).
Macera earned the GSC’s Coach of the Year by leading his team to the regular season title and setting a new league record for consecutive wins (36) and conference wins (26) en route. Valdosta State enters the GSC Tournament with a 44-3 record and has spent the past five weeks as the No. 1 ranked team in the nation. Macera has reached a few individual milestones this season as well, winning his 500th career game and surpassing 300 career victories at Valdosta State while also setting the new mark for career wins at VSU (currently 326).
The All-GSC Blazers along with the rest of the team, led by Macera, will take to the field at 12 p.m. against West Georgia to start the GSC Tournament Friday with a second game against either West Alabama or Delta State at 2:30 p.m. Continue to follow www.vstateblazers.com for updates throughout the GSC Tournament. Watch live stats here and listen live here. For selected webcasts, check www.gscsports.org.