Andrews earned her second-straight All-Valley First Team
selection by leading the ISU offense this season with a .331 batting
average and earned her first career MVC Player of the Week honor
April 30, following Illinois State's sweep of Creighton. The
Algonquin native led the Redbirds with 11 doubles and 24
walks, in addition to her five home runs, 22 RBIs and .424 on-base
percentage. In league play, Andrews posted a .350 batting average
with eight doubles, 12 RBIs and a .575 slugging percentage.
Defensively, the senior outfielder recorded 55 putouts and five
assists without committing an error.
Birch, who earned All-Valley First Team honors for the first time in
her career, ended the regular season with stellar numbers inside the
circle, going 21-12 with a 1.56 ERA, 10 shutouts and 209 strikeouts
in 198 innings, all career-best marks. The Monroe, Wash., native
held opposing hitters to a .204 average and issued just 37 walks in
25 complete games. A four-time MVC Pitcher of the Week this season,
the senior righty led the Valley in wins and strikeouts and ranks
second for earned-run average and opposing batting average. In
league games, Birch was 13-5 with a 1.15 ERA, six shutouts and 127
strikeouts. Earlier this season, Birch became just the second
Illinois State pitcher to record 600 career strikeouts and currently
ranks second on the all-time list with 617. She has struck out 10 or
more batters on nine occasions this season, including a career-high
14 against Iowa at the Littlewood Classic in Tempe, Ariz.
Juniors Jhavon Hamilton and Lauren Kellar were joined on the
All-Valley Second Team by sophomore Laura Canopy. The three
second-team selections were the most for Illinois State since 2010.
Hamilton, who was named to the All-Valley First Team last season and
earned second-team plaudits in 2010, owns a .310 batting average,
ranks second in the Valley with 11 homers and leads the Redbirds
with 32 RBIs and 54 hits. The Joliet native is slugging a
team-best .569 and belted eight of her home runs in conference
games. The junior designated player is also a perfect 10 for 10 in
stolen base attempts.
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Kellar's selection was her first career all-Valley honor, as the
junior outfielder reached base safely in 21 of her last 23
regular-season games to lift her batting average to .302. The Colfax native is tied for the league lead with three triples and
has legged out seven doubles. Kellar leads the Redbirds with 12
stolen bases in 14 attempts and leads all ISU outfielders with
79 putouts and seven assists without committing an error.
Canopy was named to an all-Valley team for the first time in her
career after hitting .310 with six doubles, a triple, a home run
and 16 RBIs during her sophomore campaign. The Hopedale native led ISU by hitting .368 in Valley contests, with all six
of her doubles coming in league games. Canopy has drawn 22 walks
and been hit by 10 pitches for a team-best .435 on-base
percentage and has committed just two errors at her position at
first base for a .994 fielding percentage. Earlier this season,
Canopy was named the MVC Player of the Week for the first time
in her career.
No. 2 seed Illinois State will open play at the State Farm MVC
Softball Championship at Charlotte West Stadium in Carbondale on Friday at 2:30 p.m. The Redbirds will play No. 3 seed
Drake, No. 6 seed Missouri State or No. 7 seed Bradley. The
winner of the Missouri State-Bradley game will play Drake, with
the victor of that contest advancing to play Illinois State in
the semifinal round.
news release received from Dustin Hall, Illinois State