NORMAN, Okla. – A school record eight Sooners were named to the 2014 National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division I All-Central Region Team, including four first-team honorees, the NFCA announced Thursday. The previous OU record of six was set in 2005 and matched in both 2007 and 2013.
Juniors Lauren Chamberlain, Georgia Casey and Shelby Pendley were joined by sophomore Kady Self on the All-Region First Team. Senior Brittany Williams earned second-team honors along with sophomores Whitney Ellis and Kelsey Stevens, while senior Destinee Martinez was placed on the third team.
Oklahoma joins Arizona and Hofstra as the only three schools in the country to have all eight of their nominees earn All-Region accolades.
The first-team selection is the third of Chamberlain’s career, while Casey, Pendley and Self each picked up the first in their respective careers. Previously, Casey was named Second-Team All-Region in 2012, while Pendley earned second-team honors a year ago.
Williams, who was First-Team All-Region as a freshman in 2011, becomes an All-Region honoree for the second time in her career. For Ellis and Stevens, it is their first time on an All-Region squad. Martinez was a first-teamer in 2011 and a second-teamer last season to go along with her third-team selection this year.
Despite missing 24 games due to injury, Chamberlain still hit .338 in the regular season with eight home runs and 40 runs scored. Her 47 walks led the team and are tied for seventh in the nation. Her .612 on-base percentage would rank second in the country if she had enough plate appearances to qualify.
Pendley leads the Sooners in several offensive categories, including hits (68), runs (56), home runs (13), runs batted in (63), doubles (17) and slugging percentage (.771). Right behind Pendley in most categories is Casey, who ranks second in hits (60), doubles (15), homers (11) and RBI (45).
Self missed the final four games of the season due to a season-ending ACL injury. She finished the year with a team-high .425 batting average and added six home runs, 16 walks, a .528 OBP and .726 slugging percentage.
Williams closed out the regular season with a career-best batting average of .356 and has set career highs in hits (48), RBI (43) and on-base percentage (.494). Starting all 55 games behind the plate, Ellis hit .313 with nine home runs and 47 runs batted in. Ellis also controlled other team’s run games, throwing out 14 of 22 would-be basestealers.
In her first season at OU, Stevens tied for the nation’s lead with 33 wins this year against just seven losses. She struck out 229 in 223.2 innings with a 2.10 earned run average. Stevens also threw eight shutouts on her own and combined on five more.
Martinez led OU during the regular season with 13 stolen bases in 13 attempts and started all 55 games. She hit .327 and has already established career highs in runs batted in (27) and walks (9). She’s also on pace to establish a career best in runs scored.
The awards honor softball student-athletes from the Association’s 10 regions with first, second and third teams selected for each region. The all-region teams were voted on by NFCA member coaches from each respective region, and all the honorees now become eligible for selection to one of three 2014 NFCA Division I All-American teams.
The 2014 NFCA Division I All-America teams will be announced at approximately 4 p.m. CT on Wednesday, May 28, via NFCA.org.