OKLAHOMA CITY – In leading the Oklahoma City Stars to the Sooner Athletic Conference regular season title, senior infielder Kennedy Jackson earned her first ever player of the year award.
Junior pitcher Emily Cerny of Science & Arts collected her fourth pitcher of the year award after guiding the Drovers to the SAC tournament title, pitching every inning for S&A during its title run.
Mid-America Christian senior pitcher Katie Long was tabbed with the newcomer of the year award while Texas Wesleyan utility player Brynna Foster was selected as the league’s freshman of the year.
Rounding out the honorees, MACU head coach Robert Wakefield garnered his first ever SAC coach of the year accolade.
Boasting the league’s highest batting average by 32 points, Jackson led OCU with a .454 average on the season, ranking 16th in the entire NAIA. The Moore, Okla. native also led the conference in runs scored (50) while her 40 stolen bases were the second-most in the SAC as well as the sixth-highest mark in the NAIA.
Jackson was able to get on-base in more than half of her plate appearances, as her team-leading 27 walks was able to help her register a .536 on-base percentage to become the only player in the conference to record an above .500 OBP.
Jackson was able to lead the second-ranked Stars to a 43-4 overall record and a 31-1 record against SAC competition to win the conference title by four games.
Earning pitcher of the year in all four of her seasons with the Drovers, Cerny was a workhorse for S&A in her senior season. The Newcastle, Okla. product has so far not only led the SAC, but also the NAIA in wins (33) and innings pitched (233.1) while posting the nation’s fourth-best opponent batting average (.155) and 10th-best earned run average (1.05).
As of completing the SAC championship, Cerny is the only player in the SAC to strike out more than 300 batters, registering 318 on the season while her 9.54 strikeouts per nine innings is by far and away the highest clip in the conference.
Cerny was a force to be reckoned with for the Drovers in their SAC tournament run, allowing just two earned run in 31 innings (0.45 ERA), limiting opponents to just a .150 batting average while recording a tourney-high 38 strikeouts.
In her lone season with the Evangels, Long put up unprecedented pitching numbers. The Norman, Okla. native who transferred in from NCAA Division II Oklahoma Baptist finished second in the SAC in strikeouts (170) and posted the conference’s fourth-lowest ERA (1.23).
Long’s 17 wins and 170 strikeouts are both MACU records since the program joined the SAC in 2008.
In her freshman season, Foster made a major impact for Texas Wesleyan both from the plate and in the circle. The Eastland, Texas native turned in the SAC’s ninth-highest batting average (.371) to go with the ninth-most doubles (11), 13th-most homers (3) and 14th-most RBI’s (26).
Foster was also one of the Lady Rams’ primary starters, going 8-11 in 20 pitching appearances, allowing a 4.88 ERA with 27 walks and 70 strikeouts over 86 innings of work.
In his 10th year at the helm of the Mid-America Christian softball program, Wakefield helped lead the Evangels to their best ever finish in SAC play. MACU rounded out the regular season with a 33-14 (.702) overall record and turned in its best ever record in SAC play, going 21-9 (.700). Wakefield led the Evangels to some of their biggest wins in program history, which included defeating No. 2 Science & Arts 3-2 in Chickasha, Okla. for its first win ever at Bill Smith Ballpark while also splitting the season series against the Drovers for the first time since 2010 after picking up a 4-2 win against third-ranked S&A at Jack Allen Field on Apr. 10.