Akron, Oh. - The United States Collegiate Athletic Association Softball National Championships kicked off on Sunday night with the annual awards banquet where several LAdy Lions were honored for their performances throughout the 2016 season. Sophomore Kayla Rhome (Marysville, Pa.) was named a first team All-American, sophomore Vanessa Michael was named second team All-American, while freshman Moriah Lynn (Berwick, Pa.) and sophomore Sara Stauffer (Mifflinburg, Pa.) were name honorable mention All-Americans. In addition to their fine play on the field both Kayla Rhome and Sara Stauffer were named to the USCAA National All-Academic team, an award reserved for upper class student-athletes carrying a cumulative grade point avereage of 3.5 or higher.
Kayla Rhome (P/1B) - 1st Team All-American, National All-Academic Team
Rhome followed up an All-American year in 2015 with another outstanding season as the ace of the Lady Lion pitching staff. Rhome was a three-time pitcher of the week in the PSUAC and named national pitcher of the week by the USCAA back on April 5. The sophomore ranked fifth in the USCAA and first in the PSUAC in earned run average with a mark of 2.03 runs per game and led all pitchers in the PSUAC with 121 strikeouts, the fourth most nationally. Rhome tossed 15 complete games in 2016, finishing the season with a record of 14-6, the fourth most winningest pitcher in the country. Rhome five shutouts were the second most in the USCAA and included a pair of no-hitters coming against Summit University and SUNY Delhi.
Vanessa Michael (RF/1B) - 2nd Team All-American
The sophomore hit .414 in her first season in a Lady Lion uniform and led both the United States Collegiate Athletic Association and PSUAC in RBI with 48 runs driven in. Michael was a force in the middle of the Hazleton order all season, notching 14 multi-hit games, 11 multi-RBI performances and slugged seven home runs, the seventh most by any player in the USCAA. Michael finished the season with a slugging percentage of .640 and her totals of 36 runs scored and 46 hits ranked her sixth and ninth in the nations in those categories. The sophomore was named player of the week by the PSUAC back on March 16, for a stretch of games in Titusville, Fl. where Michael hit three home runs and drove in six RBI in a pair of wins over Delaware Valley University and Iowa Wesleyan. Michael hit two grand slams in 2016 in a pair of monster offensive outputs, racking up seven RBI against Cairn University and a season best eight RBI versus Penn State New Kensington.
Moriah Lynn (3B) Honorable Mention All-American
The Lady Lions lead-off hitter finished her first season with a .409 batting average, knocking 54 hits in 2016, tied for the most hits of any player in the country. Lynn hit 14 extra base hits in 2016 including two home runs, nine doubles and three triples, helping her to score 41 times to lead the team and place her third in scoring in the USCAA. The freshman hit safely in ten straight games on two separate occasions during the 2016 season and had a team best 18 multi-hit game performances. In addition to her outstanding work at the plate, the freshman came into her own at third base for Hazleton, notching a .918 fielding percentage at the hot corner with 54 assists, the second most in the Lions infield.
Sara Stauffer (CF/P) Honorable Mention All-American, National All-Academic Team
In her second season as a Lady Lion, Stuaffer hit .383 with four home runs for the season, driving in 28 runs for third best on the team. Over an nine game stretch from March 18 to April 13, the sophomore collected eight multi-hit games including two hits in seven straight contests. Stauffer's 44 hits in 2016 were the 17th most of any player in the USCAA and her 39 runs scored were the fourth most in the country. Stauffer led the squad with nine stolen bases and tied for second on the team with four wins from the circle, sporting a 2.10 earned run average over 40 innings pitched, the sixth best E.R.A. in the USCAA.