CLEVELAND, Ohio - - The Ball State softball team was heavily rewarded for its 2012 Mid-American Conference regular season title run, with a league-high six members of its squad being honor by the conference's 12 head coaches Tuesday afternoon.
The Cardinals' six All-MAC selections (either first or second team) were one ahead of Ohio and three more than any other conference program. BSU's three first team honorees were also a league-high, with only three other schools (Bowling Green, Northern Illinois and Toledo) having two representatives.
Highlighting the list is 2012 MAC Player of the Year Jennifer Gilbert (McKinney, Texas/McKinney). Gilbert, a sophomore left fielder, along with senior designated player/catcher Amanda Montalto (Las Vegas, Nev./Palo Verde) and senior shortstop Alison Mercado (Perris, Calif./Arizona Western College) were named First Team All-MAC.
Junior center fielder Amanda Carpenter (Santee, Calif./Santana), sophomore third baseman Audrey Bickel (Munster, Ind./Andrean) and freshman right fielder/designated player Hanne Stuedemann (Mattawan, Mich./Mattawan) earned Second Team All-MAC accolades. Stuedemann was also named to the MAC All-Freshman team.
The Ball State softball team returns to action Thursday, when it opens play in the 2012 Mid-American Conference Tournament as the No. 1 seed and will face either No. 4 Ohio, No. 5 Western Michigan or No. 8 Toledo in a scheduled 5 p.m. first pitch.
Jennifer Gilbert (McKinney, Texas/McKinney) - MAC Player of the Year/First Team All-MAC
Gilbert, who becomes just the fifth player in program history to earn MAC Player of the Year, turned in one of the most dominating conference seasons ever recorded. A starter in all 20 of BSU's MAC games, Gilbert tallied a .380 batting average in league action with 22 of her 27 hits going for multiple bases. The effort, which included 13 home runs, seven doubles and a pair of triples, equated to an 1.085 slugging percentage. She also drew four walks and was hit by a pitch twice for a .457 on base percentage. Gilbert also led the MAC in both runs scored (30) and RBI (28) in league play.
For the year, Gilbert is the only player in the MAC and one of just nine players nationally to average at least one run (1.19) and one RBI (1.00) per game. Gilbert ranks in the top 35 nationally in runs per game (5th / 1.19), doubles per game (9th / 0.35), home runs (13th / 18), home runs per game (15th / 0.35), triples (25th / 4), slugging percentage (27th / .783) and RBI per game (31st / 1.00).
Amanda Montalto (Las Vegas, Nev./Palo Verde) - First Team All-MAC
Montalto, who becomes the first three-time First Team All-MAC selection (2009, 2011 and 2012) in program history, is one of just three players in Ball State annals to earn All-MAC honors her entire career as she was also a second team honoree in 2010. A starter in all 20 of BSU's MAC games, Montalto paced all league players with a .431 batting average and a .570 on base percentage in conference play. Her 27 runs scored and .948 slugging percentage were both second in the conference, trailing on Gilbert's numbers. She also ranked among the league leaders with 20 RBI, 17 walks, eight home runs and six doubles.
For the year, Montalto leads the MAC and ranks 51st nationally with a .403 batting average. She also ranks in the top 65 nationally in doubles per game (9th / 0.35), slugging percentage (19th / 0.836), runs per game (28th / 0.98), home runs (29th / 14), home runs per game (35th / 0.39), RBI per game (55th / 0.90) and walks per game (64th / 0.63).
Alison Mercado (Perris, Calif./Arizona Western College) - First Team All-MAC
Mercado, who earns All-MAC accolades for the first time in her career, has started all 20 league games at shortstop of the Cardinals. She ranked second on the team and eighth in the conference with a .386 batting average in league-only contests, while adding 16 runs scored and 12 RBI. She also posted a .426 on base percentage by adding three walks and a hit by pitch.
For the year, Mercardo has helped the Ball State defense climb to first in the nation with 31 double plays, and to 31st nationally with a 0.970 team fielding percentage. She ranks second in the Mid-American Conference, behind only Montalto, with a .402 batting average. She also hit her first two collegiate home runs.
Amanda Carpenter (Santee, Calif./Santana) - Second Team All-MAC
Carpenter, who earns All-MAC honors for the first time in her career, started all 20 MAC games in center field for the Cardinals. She posted a .344 batting average in league action, with three doubles, two triples and a grand slam. She also drew eight walks and was hit by a pitch three times for a .438 on base percentage. In addition to her solid offensive numbers, Carpenter posted a perfect fielding percentage.
For the year, Carpenter is batting .335 with 10 doubles, six home runs and a pair of triples. Her 58 total hits rank 10th in the conference, and she has also racked up 35 RBI and 33 runs scored. The team leader with 13 stolen bases, Carpenter also owns a perfect fielding percentage for the season.
Audrey Bickel (Munster, Ind./Andrean) - Second Team All-MAC
Bickel, who earns All-MAC honors for the first time in her career, started all 20 MAC games in the hot corner for the Cardinals. She posted a .364 batting average in league action, including five home runs, three doubles and a triple for a .667 slugging percentage. She also drew nine walks for a .440 on base percentage, while ranking second in the conference with 26 RBI and scoring 10 runs.
For the year, Bickel ranks second in the MAC with 48 RBI and 47th nationally with a 0.92 RBI-per-game average. She also ranks among the league leaders in home runs (7th/10), total bases (9th/96), walks (9th/24), slugging percentage (9th/.604) and on base percentage (10th/.435).
Hanne Stuedemann (Mattawan, Mich./Mattawan) - Second Team All-MAC / MAC All-Freshman Team
Stuedemann, who earns All-MAC honors for the first time in her career, played in all 20 of BSU's league games and earned 19 starts. She reached base safely in 19 of the 20 contests, hitting .333 with seven doubles and three home runs. She also added seven walk and was hit by a pitch five times for a .430 on base percentage. Her 23 RBI in conference action ranked fourth in MAC-only games, while her 17 runs scored were 10th.
For the year, Stuedemann has put together a brilliant freshman campaign, including reaching base in 40 consecutive games at one point during the year. She is a .324 batter with 12 doubles, six home runs and a triple. She ranks seventh in the conference in RBI (43) and on base percentage (.448), while ranking eighth in walks (25), runs scored (36), doubles (12).
2012 Mid-American Conference All-Conference Teams
First Team All-MAC
Catcher - Alexis Curtiss, Buffalo
Catcher - Lauren Gellerman, Ohio
1B - Alissa Birkhimer, Akron
2B - Brooke Gates, Toledo
SS - Hannah Fulk, Bowling Green
SS - Alison Mercado, Ball State
3B - Jessica Richards, Eastern Michigan
Outfield - Jennifer Gilbert, Ball State
Outfield- Nicole Gremillion, Northern Illinois
Outfield - Lindasy Tobias, Toledo
Outfield - Danielle Parish, Northern Illinois
Pitcher - Jessica Simpson, Miami
Pitcher -- Jamie Kertes, Bowling Green
Utility Non-Pitcher - Amanda Montalto, Ball State
Utility Pitcher- Meredith Whitney, Western Michigan
Second Team All-MAC
Catcher - Kayla Ledbetter, Miami
1B - Tara Buchanan, Western Michigan
1B - Molly Coldren, Central Michigan
1B - Raven King, Ohio
2B - Sammi Gallardo, Buffalo
SS- Alexis Joseph, Ohio
3B - Audrey Bickel, Ball State
Utility Non-Pitcher - Jennifer Barnett, Northern Illinois
Pitcher - Lauren McClary, Ohio
Pitcher - Kara Dornbos, Central Michigan
Pitcher - Emma Johnson, Kent State
Outfield - Jillian VanWagnen, Ohio
Outfield - Shanyn McIntyre, Miami
Outfield - Hanne Stuedemann, Ball State
Outfield - Amanda Carpenter, Ball State
Keelia Nester, Akron
Hanne Stuedemann, Ball State
Paris Imholz, Bowling Green
Jamie Kertes, Bowling Green
Alexis Curtiss, Buffalo
Chelsea DeLamielluere, Central Michigan
Emma Johnson, Kent State
Dani Ramos, Kent State
Shanyn McIntyre, Miami
Lauren McClary, Ohio
Freshman of the Year -- Jamie Kertes, Bowling Green
Pitcher of the Year - Jessica Simpson, Miami
Player of the Year - Jennifer Gilbert, Ball State
Nan Harvey Award -- Jordan McElroy, Miami
Coach of the Year - Shannon Salsburg, Bowling Green