Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

May 27, 2014

VSU places four on all-tourney team

Valdosta State nearly missed on its second NCAA Division II softball national championship in three years Monday, but four Blazers were recognized for their stellar performances in Salem, Va.

After falling 3-2 to top-ranked West Texas A&M in the title game at the Moyer Sports Complex, the Blazers had the most representatives on the all-tournament team as seniors Shelby Altman and Brianna Hancock, and juniors Courtney Albritton and Fran Johnson were honored.

Albritton, a first-team All-American, went 4-for-12 during VSU’s four-game tournament run with three runs, two RBIs and a home run against Southeastern Oklahoma during Sunday’s semifinal round. That blast gave the junior sole possession of the Gulf South Conference career home run record with 63.

Altman, a second-team All-American, hit .500 for the week with six hits, including two doubles. She also scored three times and drove in two runs, both RBIs coming against the Savage Storm in the Blazers’ 5-3 win that advanced them to the championship game.

Johnson likely earned her spot on the team Thursday when she played the hero role in VSU’s comeback win against Wayne State to open the tournament. After getting the game-tying single in the seventh, Johnson smacked a three-run home run to win the game in the ninth. She finished the tournament with six RBIs and two runs on a 5-for-11 hitting performance.

Hancock started all four of the Blazers’ games in the tournament and threw absolute gems in two of them. Against Dixie State on Friday, the right-hander allowed just a leadoff single to Courtney Sherwin in the fourth inning as the Blazers rolled to the semifinal round. Then in the championship game, she didn’t allow a hit until the sixth to powerful West Texas A&M. Overall, she allowed 15 hits and nine runs in 20 innings at the tournament, striking out 18 and walking 12.

West Texas, which won its first national title, had the tournament MVP in pitcher Rita Hokianga as well as Jessica Sipe and Renee Erwin honored.

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