AUGUSTA, GA – The Peach Belt Conference has released the 2013 softball preseason All-Conference team from the league office in Augusta. The 13-member team features players from eight PBC schools with North Georgia leading all teams with four selections. The players were selected by the league's head coaches.
At first base, Katherine Martin was a 2011 PBC first team All-Conference and All-tournament selection as well as a 2010 third team NFCA All-American for North Georgia. Martin finished her 2012 campaign tied for sixth in the conference with seven home runs on the year. She also boasted a .984 fielding percentage while totaling 35 RBIs.
Lander's Brittany Sheriff was named first-team All-Conference last year after starting 48 games at second base. A returning senior from Belton, S.C., she was fourth in the PBC with a .405 batting average and was sixth in the league with a .454 on-base percentage. Sheriff drove in 13 runs last season, stole four bases and had a .971 fielding percentage at second, helping turn 12 double plays.
In her first season at North Georgia senior third baseman Karlie Gilliam was named to the 2012 PBC first-team All-Conference as an at large selection. She put up a .329 batting average, started 57 of 58 games and was also an NFCA All-Southeast Region selection as well as a Daktronics All-Southeast Region selection. Gilliam hit seven home runs, 14 doubles, and drove in 28 runs en route to a .559 slugging percentage.
Also at third base is three-time Academic All-American Tristan Faile of Francis Marion. Faile played in all 51 games of the 2012 season for the Patriots and was seventh in the PBC with a .361 batting average, and ninth in the league with 39 RBIs. She led the Patriots with six home runs and 14 doubles.
At shortstop is Casey Googe of Columbus State who enters her third season as a Cougar. She led her team in nearly every offensive category, boasting a .360 average with a PBC single-season record 22 home runs, 55 RBIs, and a .423 OBP. Not only was she a second team All-PBC selection in 2012 but she was also a an NFCA Third Team All-American and a Daktronics All-American Honorable Mention.
The PBC preseason All-Conference catcher is Breanna Hartley from UNC Pembroke. As a freshman, Hartley hit .355 for the Braves with 15 RBIs and a team-best 12 doubles. She also led the team in slugging percentage and total bases and was named a PBC Freshman of the Week.
In the outfield, Georgia College's Whitney Okvist ended her 2012 season ranked third in the nation with 52 stolen bases. She led her team with a .413 average, .487 OBP and was a First Team NFCA All-American in 2012. Okvist was also selected to the PBC All-Conference teams consecutive years in 2011 and 2012.
Also in the outfield is returning senior Shelby Duff, this is her second pre-season All-Conference selection in the last two years. Duff was second in the PBC batting .416 with 77 hits and 30 RBIs. She was also an NFCA all-southeast region honoree and a Second-team Capital One/CoSIDA Academic-All American, Duff is only the second Armstrong softball player to receive such an award.
Senior outfielder Kayla Minger saw action in 52 games in her first season with the Saints of North Georgia. Minger registered a .966 fielding percentage with 27 put outs as a right fielder while only committing 1 error. She finished the 2012 season ranked fourth on the team in batting average (.308) and collected 40 hits, 12 of which were doubles.
USC Aiken pitcher India Kornegay was named All-Conference for the second straight year in 2012. A returning junior pitcher from Eufaula, Ala., she was 20-12 with a 1.78 ERA for the Pacers last year, setting a single-season school record with 260 strikeouts and 20 victories. In just two seasons, she set the school's career strikeout record with 479.
North Georgia's Melissa Dickie was named the 2012 PBC Freshman of the Year and to the All-Conference team. A pitcher from Buford, Ga., she was 21-1 in her freshman season with a 1.15 ERA and 109 strikeouts, holding opponents to a .175 batting average. She was ranked second in the PBC in wins and ERA and named a third-team All-American by Daktronics.
Mollie Russell led Columbus State to the 2012 PBC Tournament title and was named Tournament MVP after going 3-0 with no earned runs allowed and 11 strikeouts. A returning senior from Decatur, Ala., she was 21-12 overall last year and led the PBC with a 0.93 ERA and 14 shutouts. Russell was named All-Conference and All-Region by the NFCA and Daktronics.
Georgia College's Danielle Gallucci is the preseason selection at Utility Player. A senior from Orlando, Fla., she was third on the team with a .343 batting average last season, cranking out two home runs and driving in 17. Gallucci spent time at third base and in the pitcher's circle, where she made five appearances and two starts, striking out 15.
The softball preseason coaches poll will be released on Monday.
Peach Belt Conference Softball
2013 Preseason All-Conference Team
1b - Katherine Martin, North Georgia
2b - Brittany Sheriff, Lander
3b - Karlie Gilliam, North Georgia
3b - Tristan Faile, Francis Marion
SS - Casey Googe, Columbus State
C - Breanna Hartley, UNC Pembroke
OF - Whitney Okvist, Georgia College
OF - Shelby Duff, Armstrong
OF - Kayla Minger, North Georgia
P - India Kornegay, USC Aiken
P - Melissa Dickie, North Georgia
P - Mollie Russell, Columbus State
UT - Danielle Gallucci, Georgia College