• Special to The Sun

Midway softball athletes earn postseason awards

A number of Midway University softball players earned postseason awards from the River States Conference (RSC). After finishing in second in the final conference softball standings, Midway was well represented when conference officials released the All-River States Conference teams. Juniors Kelsey Gravens and Carly Benz and senior Tiffany Wickline all garnered All-RSC First Team honors, while junior Katelynn Mogelberg-Kauffman took home Second Team honors. Senior Addie Murphy was also honored by being named to the Champions of Character Team. The trio of Gravens, Benz and Wickline all transferred to Midway over the offseason from St. Catharine College (SCC) - an NAIA institution that closed its doors in June 2016. Not only was Gravens honored with First Team All-RSC, but she was also named the RSC Softball Newcomer of the Year. The Mt. Washington native was one of only two players who started all 47 of Midway's games this season. She led the way throughout the season for Midway as she collected a .438 batting average (67-153) and a .876 slugging clip. She also had 20 doubles and 15 home runs, while driving in 49 runs and scoring 45 runs. Gravens ranked in the top three in nine different statistical categories in the RSC. She ranked tied for third in runs (45), third in on-base percentage (.486), tied for second in runs batted in (49) and second in both batting average (.438) and hits (67). She also led the conference in doubles (20), home runs (15), slugging percentage (.876) and total bases (134). In addition, she was named the River States Conference Softball Player of the Week twice this season on March 20 and April 3. While at SCC, she was named First Team All-Mid-South Conference in both 2016 and 2015. Benz, who is from Brooks, Ky., was also named to the First Team as an outfielder. She hit .366 for the season and slugged .572. She also collected nine doubles, six triples, three home runs, and 34 RBI. She also scored a team best 47 runs. In the conference, she ranked tied for ninth in both batting average (.366) and hits (53), eighth in slugging percentage (.572), tied for sixth in RBI (34), sixth in total bases (83) and fifth in on-base percentage (.454). She also led the conference in stolen bases (16), runs (47) and triples (6). During her first two years at St. Catharine, Benz earned All-Mid-South Conference First Team honors in 2016. Taking one of the four pitchers' spots on the First Team All-RSC was Wickline. In the circle, the Georgetown native had an 18-9 record in 25 starts and 33 appearances. In 173.1 innings pitched, she has fanned 185 for an earned run average under two at 1.94. Her pitching numbers ranked among some of the best in the RSC. She ranked fourth in both ERA (1.94) and opponent batting average (.238), tied for third in saves (2) and second in wins (18). She is leading the RSC in innings pitched (173.1) and strikeouts (185). Wickline was twice named the River States Conference Softball Pitcher of the Week on April 3 and April 24. In her time at SCC, she took home All-MSC Second Team honors in 2016, 2015 and 2014. Rounding out the All-RSC honors was Mogelberg-Kauffman. From Modesto, Calif., she had a .350 batting average and a .537 slugging percentage. She had seven doubles, two triples and four home runs for 30 RBI. She also scored 18 runs. Like her teammates, Mogelberg-Kauffman numbers were some of the best in the conference. She tied for 10th in RBI (30), tied for ninth in home runs (4), tied for eighth in triples (2) and was fourth in on base percentage (.461). In addition to those honors, each team in the conference had one player selected for the RSC Champions of Character Team award, which is given to the player that best exhibits the NAIA's five core values of respect, responsibility, integrity, servant leadership and sportsmanship. The winner of the RSC Champions of Character Team award for Midway was Addie Murphy. The Eagles finished the regular season 29-18 overall and 12-6 in the RSC. Their record in the RSC led them to a second-place finish in the final standings.

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