Stiner Voted Sun Belt Newcomer of the Year; Ledbetter, Weiland and Mielke HonoredMay 10, 2006 · MT Media Relations
The Blue Raider club earned Sun Belt Newcomer of the Year honors in 2003 and 2004. Former standout Cortney Mitchell won the award in 2003 and Crystal Bobo garnered the trophy in 2004.
Stiner, a junior college transfer from Glendale Community College, joined the Blue Raider program and made an instant impact for the club. The junior shortstop from Peoria, Arizona leads the team and ranks second in the Sun Belt with a .341 batting average and has logged 16 stolen bases which leads the team and ranks her fourth in the Sun Belt Conference. Stiner's 58 hits are fourth-best in the Sun Belt and also lead the team. She has also notched 19 multiple hit games and ranks second on the team with 23 runs scored.
"I feel honored to be named Newcomer of the Year and all-conference," Stiner said. "All year long we have talked, as a team, about respect and I think it is a credit to the team, and those of us who were honored by the conference, that we have continued to work hard to earn everyone's respect."
Junior designated player Muriel Ledbetter has been a real spark for the Blue Raiders in the four spot in the lineup. Ledbetter, from Collierville, Tenn., broke the school record for homeruns in a season with 11 and also broke her own single-season record for walks with 30. She leads the team and the Sun Belt in doubles with 17 and also ranks fourth in the Sun Belt with a .329 batting average.
"It is a nice feeling to receive this award," Ledbetter said. "It was a team effort and it shows hard work does pay off."
Weiland, a junior third baseman, makes her first appearance on a Sun Belt All-Conference team. The Murfreesboro native has stepped it up in conference play as she is hitting .412 in league play and is also tied for second with 21 hits in conference games. Overall, Weiland has a .285 batting average and ranks second on the team with seven homeruns. She hit the game-winning homerun on April 22 in the Blue Raiders' 1-0 victory over Troy.
"I am happy for myself but more importantly happy for this team because we have come a long way," Weiland said. "When you get an award like this it takes the whole team."
Mielke, a sophomore catcher from Lombard, Illinois, is a transfer from Illinois State. She can be found behind the plate or at first base, and she is proficient at both. Mielke is currently hitting .275, which ranks her fourth on the team, and has 15 RBI, eight doubles and two homeruns. Her eight stolen bases ranks her second on the team.
"I feel honored as well," Mielke said. "I am just happy I can contribute and help out the team and I am very pleased with being named second team all-conference."
As a team, the Blue Raiders won the Sun Belt team Academic Award for the second year in a row. For 2005, Middle Tennessee had a team GPA of 3.1.
The Blue Raiders closed out the regular season with an overall record of 19-40-1 and 6-9 in the Sun Belt. Middle Tennessee is the No. 4 seed heading into the Sun Belt Softball Championships which begin on Thursday. The Blue Raiders will face No. 5 seed Troy at 12:30 p.m. Central in Miami, Florida at University Park on the campus of Florida International.
Pitcher: Ashley Kirchberg, Louisiana-Lafayette
Pitcher: Sarah Belanger, Florida International
Catcher: Jennifer Powell, Florida International
1st Base: Lacey Bertucci, Louisiana-Lafayette
2nd Base: Brittany Bryant, Louisiana-Lafayette
Shortstop: Shelby Stiner, Middle Tennessee
3rd Base: Susan Waters, North Texas
Outfield: Danyele Gomez, Louisiana-Lafayette
Outfield: Ashley Evans, Louisiana-Lafayette
Outfield: Deomni Murray, Florida International
Designated Player: Tabitha Embry, Florida International
Pitcher: Laine Harcourt, Troy
Pitcher: Krystal Lewallen, Louisiana-Lafayette
Catcher: Katie Mielke, Middle Tennessee
1st Base: Jessica Lyle, Troy
2nd Base: Brooke Powell, Troy
Shortstop: Bailey Rolfs, Western Kentucky
3rd Base: Melissa Weiland, Middle Tennessee
Outfield: Alana Towns, Western Kentucky
Outfield: Ashley Falk, Florida International
Outfield: Heidi Johnson, Troy
Designated Player: Muriel Ledbetter, Middle Tennessee
Player of the Year: Danyele Gomez, Louisiana-Lafayette
Pitcher of the Year: Ashley Kirchberg, Louisiana-Lafayette
Newcomer of the Year: Shelby Stiner, Middle Tennessee
Freshman of the Year: Sarah Belanger, Florida International
Coach of the Year: Stefni Lotief, Louisiana-Lafayette
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