All-SEC Notebook: Awards TimeFeatured
The amount of talent in the SEC this year made for an entertaining and competitive regular season that was played out in entirety despite the pandemic.
Given the “Super Seniors” that returned for an extra year of eligibility because of COVID-19, most of the teams were more experienced than ever.
It resulted in a deeper pool of candidates for honors and awards, with some players being left off lists that would have likely made the cut in any other season.
The D1Softball 2021 All-SEC team features program record holders, national statistical leaders and budding All-Americans.
Player of the Year: Kayla Kowalik, Kentucky, Junior
Kowalik is on a historic tear. The five-tool catcher/utility is a lead-off hitter with speed, smarts and power. Kowalik finished the regular season batting a nation-leading .509. She’s the first Kentucky player to finish a season batting higher than .500.
Kowalik had 28 multi-hit games, including nine straight vs. SEC opponents. She entered the SEC Tournament having reached base safely in 30 straight games, and scoring at least one run in 27 of the last 28 games.
Pitcher of the Year: Montana Fouts, Alabama, Junior
Fouts commanded the circle for the Tide and shouldered more of the load when injuries thinned the staff.
The right-hander finished the regular season 19-3 with a 1.63 ERA, 236 strikeouts and 40 walks in 155.0 innings pitched. She threw 14 games with double-digit strikeouts, and 17 complete games in 23 starts along with three saves.
Freshman of the Year: Jenna Laird, Missouri
Laird led all SEC freshmen with a .410 batting average in conference play and .406 for the season. The shortstop has 12 doubles, two triples and seven home runs with 37 RBIs.
Nicknamed “Quiet Thunder” by head coach Larissa Anderson, Laird was 11-for-11 in stealing bases and displayed defensive maturity beyond her years.
Coach of the Year: Courtney Deifel, Arkansas
Deifel led Arkansas to unprecedented heights. The Razorbacks captured the first SEC title in program history, sharing the regular-season crown with Florida.
From 1-23 in conference in her first season (2016), Deifel guided Arkansas to the most wins in program history (40-8) and a 19-5 record in the SEC.
D1Softball’s 2021 All-SEC Team
1B: Bailey Hemphill, Alabama, Senior
Regular season Stats: .412, 8 HRs, 7 2Bs, 49 RBIs
SEC Stats: .483, 6 HRs, 6 2Bs, 25 RBIs
2B: Hannah Adams, Florida, Senior
Regular season Stats: .395, 10 HRs, 7 2Bs, 37 RBIs
SEC Stats: .349, 7 HRs, 2 2Bs, 19 RBIs
SS: Braxton Burnside, Arkansas, Senior
Regular season Stats: .347, 24 HRs, 6 2Bs, 51 RBIs
SEC Stats: .286, 10 HRs, 4 2Bs, 19 RBIs
3B: Charla Echols, Florida, Junior
Regular season Stats: .368, 13 HRs, 9 2Bs, 49 RBIs
SEC Stats: .358, 6 HRs, 4 2Bs, 21 RBIs
C: Haley Lee, Texas A&M, Junior
Regular season Stats: .424, 22 HRs, 7 2Bs, 43 RBIs
SEC Stats: .391, 7 HRs, 2 2Bs, 16 RBIs
OF: Kiki Milloy, Tennessee, Sophomore
Regular season Stats: .382, 13 HRs, 36 RBIs, 36-of-38 stolen bases
SEC Stats: .324, 1 HR, 7 RBIs, 13-of-15 stolen bases
OF: Alexis Mack, Alabama, Senior
Regular season Stats: .414, 60 hits, 51 runs, 21-of-25 stolen bases
SEC Stats: .383, 31 hits, 25 runs, 9-of-9 stolen bases
OF: Aliyah Andrews, LSU, Senior
Regular season Stats: .368, 60 hits, 39 runs, 26-of-28 stolen bases
SEC Stats: .329, 27 hits, 14 runs, 13-of-13 stolen bases
UT: Kayla Kowalik, Kentucky, Junior
Regular season Stats: .509, 12 HRs, 6 3Bs, 9 2Bs, 35 RBIs, 19-of-21 stolen bases
SEC Stats: .476, 6 HRs, 6 2Bs, 2 3Bs, 11 RBIs, 7-of-8 stolen bases
UT: Jenna Laird, Missouri, Freshman
Regular season stats: .406, 7 HRs, 12 2Bs, 2 3Bs, 37 RBIs, 11-for-11 stolen bases
SEC Stats: .410, 4 HRs, 5 2Bs, 16 RBIs, 6-for-6 stolen bases
P: Montana Fouts, Alabama, Junior
Regular season Stats: 19-3, 1.63 ERA, 236 Ks, 40 walks, 155.0 IP
SEC Stats: 11-2, 1.80 ERA, 132 Ks, 34 walks, 97.1 IP
P: Ashley Rogers, Tennessee, Junior
Regular season Stats: 23-8, 1.29 ERA, 253 Ks, 39 walks, 184.1 IP
SEC Stats: 9-7, 2.00 ERA, 105 Ks, 26 walks, 101.2 IP
P: Mary Haff, Arkansas, Redshirt Junior
Regular season Stats: 23-5, 1.61 ERA, 175 Ks, 35 walks, 170.0 IP
SEC Stats: 11-3, 2.01 ERA, 79 Ks, 15 walks, 87.0 IP