URG softball quartet honored by NFCA

By Randy Payton - For Ohio Valley Publishing

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Four University of Rio Grande softball players were among those who recently received 2016 NAIA All-Region accolades from the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA).

Sophomore catcher Tayler Arndt, senior first baseman Ariel Roder, sophomore third baseman Gabby Gregg and junior pitcher Jenna Jones all were named to the Great Lakes Region second team after leading the RedStorm to a school-record 41 wins, the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference’s regular season and tournament championships and the program’s second straight appearance in the NAIA National Tournament Opening Round.

The awards honor softball student-athletes from the Association’s six regions with first and second-team recognition. NFCA member coaches from each respective region voted on the teams.

Jones, who was named an Honorable Mention All-American on Saturday, posted an 18-2 record and a 1.38 earned run average for the RedStorm. Both of her losses came against Central Methodist (Mo.) University in the NAIA National Tournament Opening Round.

In 22 apperances – 21 of which were starts – the Lancaster, Ohio native authored 12 complete games and five shutouts, including a no-hitter against Cincinnati Christian University on April 16. She allowed 83 hits and 34 runs – 26 earned – while walking 40 and striking out 93 over 131-2/3 innings.

Opposing batters hit just .180 against Jones, a first team All-KIAC honoree and a unanimous selection for KIAC Pitcher of the Year.

Roder, the KIAC’s Player of the Year, batted .380 for the season, including .491 in conference games, with a team-high six home runs and a .613 slugging percentage. The Parma Heights, Ohio product ranked second on the team with two triples and also tied for second on the team in doubles (10).

Gregg, who hails from Ashville, Ohio, batted a team-high .384 with two home runs, a team-high four triples, 56 total hits and 18 sacrifice hits, and 26 runs batted in while Arndt – a native of Clyde, Ohio – had a team-high 14 doubles and 41 RBI while batting .349 with five home runs.

No other players representing a KIAC school were recognized.

No. 1 Oklahoma City out of the Southwest Region led the way with seven selections, while regional foe and No. 9 LSU-Alexandria and No. 4 Campellsville University (Midwest) recorded six honorees. No. 17 Marian University (Ind.) from the Great Lakes and No. 18 Arizona Christian (West) earned five nods.

Leading the way in the Central Region with four selections were No. 23 Grand View University and No. 15 Morningside, while in the Southeastern University posted an East Region-best four recognitions.

Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.

By Randy Payton

For Ohio Valley Publishing