Spring Hill College Badger Athletics added two additional championships to the College’s inaugural season of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II play. On May 4 and 5, the softball and baseball teams took top spots in the 2019 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) Championships at the Gordon Sports Complex in Albany, Georgia
The Badger softball team defeated Tuskegee University, 3-1, to win the 2019 SIAC Championship on Saturday, May 4.
"The whole coaching staff, we're all extremely proud of them," said second-year SHC head coach Steve Kittrell, who was named SIAC Coach of the Year for winning his first collegiate softball conference tournament. SIAC Tournament Most Valuable Player (MVP) Hannah Brenton pitched her third complete game of the tournament, allowing only one unearned run while striking out eight batters to pick up the victory for the Badgers.
This win marks the first conference tournament championship for the softball program since taking the Southern States Athletic Conference crown as members of the NAIA in 2014. Brenton would be joined on the All-Tournament Team by Delaney Thomas and Aly Fowler.
On Sunday, May 5, the baseball team defeated Albany State University, 17-5, to win the 2019 SIAC Championship. In four games, the Spring Hill offense outscored their opponents 55-14.
"Sometimes you get hot, and we were hitting everything," said head coach Frank Sims. "I think the confidence level skyrocketed as soon as [Daniel Rodriguez] hit that grand slam, it was just a boat race from there."
Rodriguez finished the game 3-for-5 with nine RBI, a Spring Hill record in a single game. Grayson Williams was 2-for-4 with three RBI and four runs scored. Rodriguez and Williams were both named to the All-Tournament Team. Brennan Fontenot, who was named tournament MVP, was 2-for-3 with two RBI. Fontenot ended the tournament with 10 RBI and a .688 batting average. A.J. Fell was also named to the All-Tournament team for his performance in the semifinal game where he struck out seven batters in 6.0 innings of work.
"We are all thrilled that these individuals and teams were able to showcase their talents and drive to achieve excellence both in the competitive arena and in the classroom,” said interim Athletics Director Chad LeBlanc. “It's one thing for coaches and staff to surmise that we had student-athletes here capable of doing great things. It's something else entirely to have the student-athletes finally get a chance to prove it.”
The College recently announced Joe Niland will join the Badgers as Athletics Director in June 2019.
These wins give SHC Athletics its fourth and fifth conference tournament championships this season (SIAC - women's volleyball, women's cross country; Gulf South Conference - Men's Soccer) in the first athletic year it has been eligible for postseason play in NCAA Division II.
Spring Hill College Athletics officially entered their first season of NCAA Division II play on September 1, 2018 and have wrapped up their inaugural year not only with conference championships but also multiple All-American accolades. Spring Hill is a member of the SIAC and also holds affiliate membership in the Gulf South Conference (GSC) in the sports of men’s soccer, women’s soccer and women’s golf.