NEW ORLEANS – The Sun Belt Conference announced its 2019 softball postseason honors Tuesday, highlighted by Louisiana capturing four individual awards – junior shortstop Alissa Dalton named Player of the Year, junior pitcher Summer Ellyson named Pitcher of the Year, junior outfielder Sarah Hudek named Newcomer of the Year and head coach Gerry Glasco named Coach of the Year – and Troy freshman pitcher Leanna Johnson earning Freshman of the Year honors.
These awards, along with the All-Sun Belt first and second teams, were voted on by the league’s 10 head coaches.
Dalton is playing a key role in Louisiana’s success and ascension as one of the top teams in the nation this season. The All-Sun Belt first-team selection has raised her batting average nearly 100 points, going from .312 on March 8 to her present .410 mark entering the Sun Belt Softball Championship. Dalton has surpassed 50 hits for the second straight season, recording at least one hit in 39 of 51 games. She is arguably the toughest out in the Ragin’ Cajuns’ lineup, having struck out just five times in 173 plate appearances overall and only once in 83 plate appearances in conference play. The 2018 Sun Belt Newcomer of the Year is showing excellent range and accuracy at shortstop, committing only six errors over 137 total chances.
Ellyson is putting together one of the best seasons for a Sun Belt pitcher in recent history, leading NCAA Division I in victories with 34. She is the first Ragin’ Cajuns pitcher to reach the 30-win mark since 2013. The All-Sun Belt first-team choice is also among the nation’s best in strikeouts (303, third), ERA (0.98, fifth) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (6.45, ninth). Ellyson owns a perfect 20-0 record with a 0.58 ERA in conference play, recording all three wins in a Sun Belt series four times. The 2019 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year finalist has had a hand in 15 shutouts and yielded one earned run or less in 35 of her 43 appearances.
Johnson has been impressive in the circle for Troy with 25 wins, which ranks second in the Sun Belt and tied for eighth in the nation. She is one of 28 pitchers in the country with 200 or more strikeouts – exactly half (112) of her 224 strikeouts have come in Sun Belt contests. The All-Sun Belt first-team pick has seven complete game shutouts and one combined shutout to her credit so far this season. Johnson’s first collegiate no-hitter came in the series finale on April 7 against Georgia State when she was a walk and a hit by pitch away from a perfect game. She is the second Trojan in as many seasons to be named Sun Belt Freshman of the Year following Annie Willis in 2018.
Hudek is making her presence known on offense and defense for Louisiana in her first season in Lafayette. She is tied for the conference lead in total bases (100) and leads the Ragin’ Cajuns in home runs (10), runs scored (48) and multiple-hit games (15). The All-Sun Belt first-team selection has shored up Louisiana’s defensive efforts in left field, especially since the onset of Sun Belt play.
Glasco has guided Louisiana to top 10 rankings in all three national polls and a top 20 RPI for the majority of the regular season. He led the Ragin’ Cajuns to a perfect 25-0 record in conference play, becoming just the second team in program and Sun Belt history to finish league play undefeated. His Louisiana squad is on a 24-game winning streak and enters the Sun Belt Championship with its sights on capturing a 15th Sun Belt Tournament title.
Among the All-Sun Belt honors, Louisiana leads the way with nine with UTA is second with six.
The 2019 Sun Belt Softball Championship begins on Wednesday, May 8 and concludes on Saturday, May 11 at Bobcat Softball Stadium in San Marcos, Texas. All 12 games are set for live coverage on ESPN+, available online and via the ESPN app. Live statistics are available on SunBeltSports.org.