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AU’s Folts named Empire 8 softball Co-Player of the Year
5/05/09

ALFRED, NY — Karen Folts (Penn Yan, NY/Penn Yan), a junior second baseman on the Alfred University softball team, has been named Empire 8 Conference Co-Player of the Year.

Folts was one of eight Saxons to earn all-conference honors, determined by a vote of Empire 8 coaches. She shares Co-Player of the Year honors with Ithaca utility player Brittany Lillie.

AU players joining Folts on the Empire 8 First Team were junior centerfielder Jessica Figallo (Ridgewood, NJ/Ridgewood), sophomore designated player Madison Snyder (Medford, NY/Patchogue-Medford), and freshman pitcher Nicole Hedrick (Albany, NY/Catholic Central). Second Team picks from AU were junior third baseman Jesika LeBarron (Campbell, NY/Corning West) and sophomore pitcher Chelsey Cary (Corfu, NY/Pembroke). Earning honorable mention were junior shortstop Samantha Rollins (Hornell, NY/Hornell) and freshman utility player Molly Shepherd (Camillus, NY/West Genesee).

Players were considered for all-conference honors based on statistics they compiled in 12 conference games played during the season.

Folts batted .450 in Empire 8 play (18 for 40) and belted a conference-record six homeruns. She scored 14 runs and drove in 14 while slugging 1.000, second in the league behind Lillie. She had a .946 fielding percentage in her first season at second base. Folts played shortstop her first two seasons at AU and earned First Team honors last year.

Figallo, a Second Team pick as a sophomore in 2008, batted .389 (14 for 36) in conference play, scoring five runs and driving in four and posting a .929 fielding percentage. Snyder earned all-conference honors for the first time in her career after hitting .371 (13 for 35) in Empire 8 play with two homeruns, seven runs scored and five RBIs. Hedrick went 2-2 with a 0.71 ERA in six appearances in conference games. She gave up eight runs (two earned) in 25 1/3 innings, striking out 17 and holding opponents to a .173 batting average.

LeBarron earned Second Team honors a second straight season after hitting .375 in Empire 8 games (15 for 40) with five homeruns, nine runs scored and 12 RBIs. Cary, in her first season at AU after transferring from Monroe Community College, posted a 4-2 record in nine conference games, with a 4.22 ERA and 41 strikeouts.

Rollins transferred to AU after two seasons at Monroe Community College, where she led her team to two Junior College national championships and was a two-time Junior College All-American (Junior College Player of the Year in 2008). She batted .395 (15 for 38) with a homerun, 10 runs scored and two RBIs. Shepherd hit .414 (12 for 29, one homerun) in 10 Empire 8 games, scoring six runs and driving in 11.

Each season, the Empire 8 honors students-athletes from each conference school, who play on teams sponsored by the conference, with Sportsperson of the Year awards. Honorees, chosen by their coaches, exhibited outstanding sportsmanship in keeping with the conference’s mission of “competing with honor and integrity.” Alfred’s honoree from the softball team is Shepherd.

The Saxons went 7-5 in conference play this year and entered the Empire 8 championship tournament as the third seed. AU lost both its games in the Empire 8 tournament, and has been invited to play in this week’s Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Upstate championship tournament. AU is seeded third in the ECAC tournament and will host sixth-seeded Medaille at 7 p.m. Wednesday (May 6) at Hornell High School. If the Saxons (25-9) beat Medaille, they advance to double-elimination semifinal play Saturday at Union College. Union is the top seed in the tournament and Brockport is seeded second. Fourth-seeded RPI hosts fifth-seeded Elmira in Wednesday’s other play-in game.