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All-ACC Notebook: Awards Season

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What can’t Valerie Cagle do?

From teammates to opponents to fans, that’s the question nearly everyone was asking about the freshman this season?

Cagle has been a multidimensional sensation for Clemson, and has helped lead the program to immediate success.

The Tigers captured the ACC regular-season title in their first full season of softball and only second year of existence.

Cagle has been the foundational rock to build around. 

In the circle, Cagle was 24-4 with a 1.15 ERA, 213 strikeouts and 38 walks in 176.2 innings pitched. At the plate, she batted .420 with 14 home runs, 11 doubles, 39 runs scored and 40 RBIs.

Cagle started all 45 regular-season games for the Tigers, either pitching, playing the outfield or as the DH. She is the only ACC player to be named a top 10 finalist for USA Softball Player of the Year award.

Along with being D1Softball’s 2021 ACC Player of the Year, Cagle was named the 2021 ACC Freshman of the Year.

Pitcher of the Year: Keely Rochard, Virginia Tech, Junior 

Rochard is the definition of a staff workhorse. The right-hander was 24-7 with a 1.12 ERA, 288 strikeouts and 52 walks in 194 innings pitched. Rochard led the nation in strikeouts and shutouts (13) and leads the ACC in complete games (25), opponent batting average (.144). She threw two no-hitters this season.

Coach of the Year: John Rittman, Clemson

The Tigers couldn’t have picked a better coach to build a program from the ground up. Rittman was hired in 2017, and carefully choreographed every step until the program’s debut in 2020. Clemson finished the 2021 regular season 40-5, including 29-5 in the ACC. Along with capturing the conference title in their very first season, the Tigers had win streaks of 19 and 17 games. Rittman, who was Pac-10 Coach of the Year in 2001 and 2004 while leading Stanford, matched the on-field success with off-the-field advocacy to help generate excitement among the Clemson fans and generate funding and facilities for the program.

The 2021 D1Softball All-ACC Lineup: 

1B: Tricia Awald, Georgia Tech, Junior 
Overall Stats: .413, 11 HRs, 6 2Bs, 31 RBIs

2B: Devyn Flaherty, Florida State, Freshman 
Overall Stats: .295, 4 HRs, 7 2Bs, 20 RBIs, 34 runs

3B: Sydney Sherrill, Florida State, Junior 
Overall Stats: .299, 11 2Bs, 25 RBIs, 39 runs 

SS: Deja Davis, Duke, Junior 
Overall Stats: .411, 7 HRs, 9 2Bs, 6 3Bs, 28 RBIs

C: Emma Kauf, Georgia Tech, Freshman 
Overall Stats: .356, 10 HRs, 7 2Bs, 31 RBIs

OF: McKenzie Clark, Clemson, Freshman
Overall Stats: .367, 9 HRs, 6 3Bs, 8 2Bs, 28 RBIs, 45 runs

OF: Kelsey Brown, Virginia Tech, Sophomore
Overall Stats: .403, 4 3Bs, 41 runs, 29-of-29 stolen bases

OF: Abby Sweet, Notre Dame 
Overall Stats: .466, 5 HRs, 16 2Bs, 20 RBIs, 18 stolen bases

P: Keely Rochard, Virginia Tech
Overall Stats: 24-7, 1.12 ERA, 288 Ks, 52 walks, 194.0 IP

P: Peyton St. George, Duke 
Overall Stats 16-6, 2.14, 174 Ks, 33 walks, 130.2 IP

P: Kathryn Sandercock, FSU
Overall Stats: 21-1, 1.17 ERA, 89 Ks, 19 walks, 119.2 IP

UT: Valerie Cagle, Clemson 
Overall Stats: .420, 14 HRs, 11 2Bs, 40 RBIs, 39 runs; 24-4, 1.15 ERA, 213 Ks, 38 walks, 176.2 IP

UT: Carmyn Greenwood, Louisville 
Overall Stats: .435, 3 HRs, 9 2Bs, 28 RBIs, 11 stolen bases

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