The Valdosta Daily Times
For someone that isn't worried about awards or recognition, Courtney Albritton sure has a knack for attracting it.
The Valdosta State junior star was named the Gulf South Conference Player of the Year for the third straight season Wednesday. Albritton becomes only the second player to earn the conference's top honor three times as Alabama-Huntsville's Stephanie Pinto won the award from 2004-06.
“It is such an honor to be recognizes as the Player of the Year, especially on a team and as part of a conference with such great players,” Albritton said in a release. “This could never have been achieved without our great team and coaching staff.
“I mentioned earlier in the year that God has given me the talent. I love to play, and I just feel extremely blessed.”
In helping lead the Blazers to their No. 19 ranking and the second seed in the conference tournament, which begins at noon today with VSU facing seventh seeded West Georgia in the first round, Albritton is near the conference in most offensive categories. The Tiftarea Academy product leads the league with 73 hits, 66 runs and 157 total bases, while second in batting average (.445), home runs (21) and slugging percentage (.957). She is also in the top five in three others as she is fifth with 51 RBIs, third with 15 doubles and third with a .521 on-base percentage.
The 21 home runs is a career high for Albritton and she also has set the school record for career home runs with 57, which ranks second in GSC history as she has tied the former record set by Pinto. West Georgia senior Nicole Yancey, who was also a first-team all-conference selection, currently has the mark with 60 and 23 on the season.
Joining Albritton on the all-GSC first team were VSU teammates Shelby Altman, Chelsea Canara and Brianna Hancock. Altman repeated on the first team, while Hancock was a second-team selection a year ago and Canara is a freshman.
“You're talking about four starters who have done a lot for this program,” VSU coach Thomas Macera said in a release. “Each one of them has been very consistent all season long, and their strong play week in and week out have put us in a great position going into the postseason.”
Altman, a transfer from Georgia, joined Albritton among the GSC leaders in nearly every offensive category, second to Yancey with 61 RBIs and second to Albritton with 55 runs scored. She is also in the top six in average, slugging, hits and total bases.
Hancock, who has a 17-6 mark in the circle, is one of three pitchers tied for the conference lead in wins and is second with 161 strikeouts, just one behind the leader.
Canara hit .346 with four home runs and 34 RBIs to earn the all-conference accolades as a freshman, a campaign that also saw her win the year's first weekly award.
Alabama-Huntsville, the top seed for the weekend's conference tournament in Cullman, Ala., had a league-high eight players honored on the two squads and the Chargers also had the league's Freshman of the Year in Tyler Harrison and Coach of the Year in Les Stuedeman. North Alabama's Hillary Carpenter was the Pitcher of the Year.