Five Tigers named to All-SEC softball team

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A.J. Andrews, Jacee Blades, Bianka Bell, Rachele Fico and Kellsi Kloss represented the No. 10 LSU softball team on the All-Southeastern Conference squads announced Tuesday by the league office. Andrews, an outfielder, was a first-team selection. She batted .359 with 32 RBIs and 19 steals for the season. In SEC play, she hit .306 with two homers, 15 RBIs and six stolen bases.

“It’s nice that the rest of the SEC coaches respect and see how valuable A.J. is to our team as much as we do,” coach Beth Torina said. “She really jumpstarts our offense and has been a huge spark plug for us at the top of the lineup. She also makes spectacular defensive plays in the outfield. On top of it, A.J. is a hard worker and always is trying to make herself a better player. She has huge expectations and goals for herself.”

Blades, Bell and Fico each were named to the second team.

Blades, an outfielder, batted .354 overall. In the SEC, she hit .329 with nine RBIs.

“Jacee is so much fun and a pleasure to be around on a daily basis,” Torina said. “I don’t know where we would be without her and A.J. at the top of the lineup.”

Bell, a shortstop, batted .357 with 12 homers, 47 RBIs and 11 stolen bases for the season. In conference, she hit .356 with five homers, 18 RBIs and six steals. She also shared Freshman of the Year honors with Georgia’s Geri Ann Glasco.

“Bianka is extremely deserving of being the SEC’s Co-Freshman of the Year,” Torina said. “She will go down in the history of LSU as one of the most special hitters that we’ve had. She’s been a cornerstone of our offense all season.”

Fico, a USA Softball Top 25 Player of the Year and Senior Class Award Top 10 finalist, was one of two pitchers to rank among the SEC’s Top 4 in wins (11), ERA (2.27), strikeouts (94) and opponent batting average (.198). For the season, Fico was 24-10 with 10 shutouts, a 2.23 ERA and 215 strikeouts in 204.1 innings.

“Rachele is not only a special pitcher but a great teammate,” Torina said. “I know for her, the season starts right now with postseason play, this is how she plays.”

Kloss, a catcher, was named to the All-Freshman team. She batted .275 with five homers overall, .255 in the SEC>

“Kellsi is another player that’s really earned her way into lineup and has now found herself in the middle of our lineup because she’s done so well,” Torina said.

LSU meets Georgia at 12:30 p.m. Thursday in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament in Lexington, Ky. The game will be on televised by ESPNU aned on the radio at KYPY-FM, 104.9.

All-SEC team

First team

Pitcher: Chelsea Thomas, Missouri

Pitcher: Hannah Rogers, Florida

Infielder: Raven Chavanne, Tennessee

Infielder: Lauren Gibson, Tennessee

Infielder: Madison Shipman, Tennessee

Infielder: Paige Wilson, Georgia

Outfielder: A.J. Andrews, LSU

Outfielder: Kayla Braud, Alabama

Outfielder: Kat Dotson, Tennessee

Outfielder: Kaylee Puailoa, Georgia

Catcher: Jenna Marston, Missouri

Utility: Lauren Haeger, Florida

Second team

Pitcher: Rachele Fico, LSU

Pitcher: Kimmy Beasley, Arkansas

Infielder: Bianka Bell, LSU

Infielder: Samie Garcia, South Carolina

Infielder: Kaila Hunt, Alabama

Infielder: Kelsey Stewart, Florida

Outfielder: Jacee Blades, LSU

Outfielder: Kelsey Horton, Florida

Outfielder: Haylie McCleney, Alabama

Outfielder: Branndi Melero, Auburn

Catcher: Griffin Joiner, Kentucky

Utility: Mel Dumezich, Texas A&M

All-freshman team

Pitcher: Kelsey Nunley, Kentucky

Pitcher: Chelsea Wilkinson, Georgia

Infielder: Bianka Bell, LSU

Infielder: Emily Carosone, Auburn

Infielder: Geri Ann Glasco, Georgia

Infielder: Kelsey Stewart, Florida

Outfielder: Andrea Hawkins, Alabama

Outfielder: Tiffany Howard, Auburn

Outfielder: Kristi Merritt, Florida

Outfielder: Haylie McCleney, Alabama

Outfielder: Kaylee Puailoa, Georgia

Catcher: Kellsi Kloss, LSU

Utility: Cali Lanphear, Texas A&M

All- defensive team

Pitcher: Chelsea Thomas, Missouri

Catcher: Griffin Joiner, Kentucky

First base: Morgan Estell, Auburn

Second base: Lauren Gibson, Tennessee

Shortstop: Madison Shipman, Tennessee

Third base: Raven Chavanne, Tennessee

Left field: Kayla Braud, Alabama

Center field: Haylie McCleney, Alabama

Right field: Kat Dotson, Tennessee

Special honors

Player of the year: Lauren Gibson, Tennessee

Pitcher of the year: Chelsea Thomas, Missouri

Co-freshmen of the year: Bianka Bell, LSU; Geri Ann Glasco, Georgia

Coach of the year: Tim Walton, Florida

Scholar-athlete of the year: Jenna Marston, Missouri