• Special to The Sun

Gravens earns NAIA second team All-American honors

KELSEY GRAVENS, a junior on the Midway University softball team, capped off her 2017 postseason honors after she was named to the NAIA All-American Second Team. (Photo courtesy of Midway Athletics)

In just one season in a Midway University softball uniform, Kelsey Gravens has accomplished a lot, but her latest accomplishment might just be the cherry on top, earning All-American honors from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). The 2017 Softball All-America teams were announced the day after the conclusion of the 2017 NAIA Softball World Series and were selected by the NAIA All-America committee. The All-America teams are comprised of First Team, Second Team and Honorable Mention selections. When the All-America teams were released, Gravens anxiously scrolled through the list hoping to find her team. She didn't have to scroll long as she found her name under the Second Team and it was at that time, she realized that she accomplished one of her biggest goals in her collegiate career. The junior from Mt. Washington earns her first career All-America honor after playing her first two years of collegiate softball at St. Catharine College. Gravens and others were forced to find a new home after St. Catharine closed its doors in June 2016. The NAIA All-America honor tops off a long list of accomplishments for the 2014 Bullitt East High School graduate. In her junior campaign, she was named First Team All-Region by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA), she was named River States Conference Softball Newcomer of the Year as well as earning All-RSC First Team honors, she earned NAIA National Softball Player of the Week honors on April 4th and she was twice named RSC Softball Player of the Week on March 20 and April 3. Gravens was not only Midway's best hitter throughout the season, but she was one of the most durable. The catcher was one of only two players who started all 47 games for Midway on the season. For the season, Gravens hit .438, while slugging .876 with an on base percentage of .486. She went 67-of-153 at the plate with 20 doubles, a triple and 15 home runs, while driving in 49 and scoring 45 runs. She also collected 134 total bases and stole six bases. She ranks in the top four in 15 different statistical categories in the RSC. Gravens also led the conference in seven of those categories. She ranks fourth in runs (45), third in RBI (49) and second in batting average (.438), runs per game (.96), hits per game (1.43), hits (67), runs-batted-in per game (1.04) and on-base percentage (.486). She also led the conference in slugging percentage (.876), doubles per game (.43), doubles (20), home runs per game (.32), home runs (15), total bases per game (2.85) and total bases (134). She also ranks in 12 different national statistical categories nationally. She is 44th in runs scored per game, 39th in runs batted in, 38th in hits per game, 34th in runs batted in per game, 31st in batting average, 16th in doubles, 14th in total bases, 10th in home runs, eighth in doubles per game, seventh in home runs per game, sixth in slugging percentage and fifth in total bases per game. Gravens helped lead the Eagles to a 29-18 record overall. They also went 12-6 in the RSC which was good enough for a second-place finish in the final standings.

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