May 7, 2008
FRISCO, Texas -
The Southland Conference announced its 2008 Softball All-SLC teams Wednesday, and, for the first time in a decade, Stephen F. Austin earned four representatives, including two first-team selections. Highlighting the list, pitcher Monika Covington was one of the two first-team honorees, in addition to earning the school's first SLC Freshman of the Year award in softball.
Senior first baseman Jessica Tullos joined Covington on the first team, sophomore outfielder Kendal Harper earned second-team consideration and junior catcher Kim Daley was named to the third team.
Covington's pair of honors come on the heels of a sterling rookie campaign. She was the ace of the Southland's top pitching staff, leading the Ladyjack hurlers to a league-best 1.95 earned run average. No other conference team finished the regular season with an ERA below 2.30. Covington went 17-12 on the season -- the second-best win total in the league -- and posted the SLC's second-lowest ERA at 1.39. Covington's 232 strikeouts lead the next-best total in the conference by 46, and her 211-and-two-thirds innings pitched pace the league.
Like Covington with the pitching staff, Tullos helped lead a resurgence by the Ladyjacks at the plate. Her .338 batting average is a career-high and ranks second on the team, helping take SFA from the No. 9 offensive team in the league in 2007 to the conference's second-best hitting squad in 2008. Tullos leads the Ladyjacks in home runs and set a new single-season school record with her 10 long balls this season. Her 10th homer of the year was also her 22nd career blast, making her the all-time leader in career home runs at SFA. Wednesday's SLC honor is the first of Tullos' career.
Harper leads the Ladyjacks and ranks fourth in the SLC with her .379 average. She has scored a league-high 40 runs and paces the Southland with 28 stolen bases, a new single-season record at SFA. Harper's 69 hits this season are also a new Ladyjack record and rank second in the conference. In addition, she ranks in the league's top 10 in doubles, triples, total bases and sacrifice bunts.
Daley is in the midst of a career year, having posted some of the best power numbers on the squad to earn her Third-Team All-SLC honor. She finished the regular season ranked fifth on the team in slugging percentage at .442, second in runs batted in with 30 and second in home runs with seven. Her 13 doubles lead the team, and her 23 runs scored rank fourth on the squad. She has started all but one of the Ladyjacks' 56 games behind the plate this season and has thrown out nine of 31 runners attempting to steal.
The four All-SLC selections are the most for an SFA squad since four Ladyjacks were named to the first team in 1998. Covington's Freshman of the Year honor is the first superlative raked in by an SFA player since Angela Froboese won the SLC Utility Player of the Year award in 2001.
The Ladyjacks will begin play in the Southland Conference Tournament Thursday at 4 p.m. No. 4 seed SFA will meet the winner of Thursday morning's first-round game between No. 5 McNeese State and No. 8 Southeastern Louisiana. The tournament will be held at Texas State's Bobcat Field in San Marcos, Texas.
-- SFA --