Tritons softball infielder named GLVC Player of the Year
Senior utility player JaCee Ellis of the University of Missouri–St. Louis Tritons softball team was named the Great Lakes Valley Conference Player of the Year. And first-year head coach Brian Levin was named GLVC Coach of the Year. The conference made both announcements today.
Ellis earns first team all-GLVC honors for the second straight year. She finished in the top five in the league in batting average (.386), slugging percentage (.758) and on-base percentage (.494). She led the league in runs batted in (44), doubles (16), home runs (11), total bases (100) and walks (32). Ellis split time at second base and catcher for the Tritons during the season. Her 11 home runs this season ties a single season UMSL record.
“I think it gives the team confidence when I’m at the plate,” Ellis told KSDK (Channel 5) during a recent interview. “They know I’m at least going to put the ball in play, and we’re going to keep the inning going.”
The Tritons had five other players earn all-conference accolades, including senior outfielder Karey Kruse, who joined Ellis on the conference’s first team. Senior pitcher Crystal Koehler, junior third baseman Shannon Beatty and sophomore designated player Leslie Davis were selected to the second team. Junior outfielder Erin Driskell earned third team accolades.
Kruse, a second team all-GLVC pick last season, paced the team in batting average (.404) and hits (55) and also finished with 38 RBIs and 36 runs. She’s the UMSL career leader in RBIs (114) and ranks second in home runs (23). Kruse also ranks in the top 10 in runs, doubles, hits and total bases.
Koehler, Beatty, Davis and Driskell all earn all-GLVC honors for the first time in their careers. Koehler owns a 10-2 record in the circle for the Tritons and has won five straight games. Beatty is batting .256 this season for the Tritons with 20 hits and 17 RBIs. Davis owns a batting average of .289 with 27 hits, including six home runs and three triples, 33 RBIs and 23 runs scored. Driskell is batting .292, recording 35 hits and 22 runs scored. She also leads the team with 14 stolen bases.
In his first season with the Tritons, Levin led the Tritons to the GLVC regular season title with a 20-5 league mark after being selected to finish seventh in the GLVC Coaches’ Preseason Poll. It marked the Tritons’ second regular season title in the past three seasons, and the team is the No. 1 seed at the GLVC Tournament May 6-8 in Peoria, Ill. UMSL is 29-18 overall and won seven straight games to finish the regular season.
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