Rio’s Criner, Conkey named to NFCA All-Region team

By Randy Payton - For Ohio Valley Publishing

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Two University of Rio Grande softball standouts were among those named to the National FastPitch Coaches’ Association (NFCA) NAIA All-Region VI Team.

Junior shortstop Michaela Criner (Bremen, OH) was a first team selection, while senior pitcher/outfielder Kelsey Conkey (Minford, OH) was named to the second team as an at-large pick.

Criner batted a team-best .401 with 10 home runs and 34 runs batted in. She also finished with 11 doubles and 10 triples, becoming the only player in the country to finish with 10 or more hits in each of the three extra-base hit categories.

She also led the team in hits (71), runs scored (58), total bases (132), slugging percentage (.746) and on-base percentage (.475).

Conkey batted .309 with seven home runs and 37 RBIs. She also had 10 doubles and a .513 slugging percentage.

As a pitcher, Conkey posted a 16-6 record with two saves and a 1.97 earned run average. In 27 appearances, 22 of which were stars, she finished with 15 complete games and six shutouts.

Conkey allowed 124 hits over 142 innings, while walking just 24 and striking out 105.

The NFCA honored 192 players from 71 schools, selecting two 16-player teams in each of the country’s six NAIA regions.

Two schools placed the maximum eight players on their respective All-Region team, including national runner-up Oklahoma City University in Region III and last year’s NAIA titlist University of Sciences & Arts of Oklahoma in Region IV. Both schools placed seven of those eight on the first team.

Meanwhile, Georgia Gwinnett College and Marian University (Ind.) both had seven players selected, and first-time national champion Southern Oregon University, the University of Mobile, and Olivet Nazarene University all had six honorees apiece.

Six schools had five players on their respective All-Region squad, while one had four, 12 schools had three, 29 had two, and 15 had one player chosen.

All-Region players are nominated and selected by NFCA member head coaches in each of the six NAIA regions.

By Randy Payton

For Ohio Valley Publishing

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

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