UL sophomore catcher Lexie Elkins is the 2014 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year


Seven members of the 12th-ranked Louisiana Ragin' Cajun softball team were named to either the first or second team on the 2014 All-Sun Belt Conference teams, announced Tuesday night.

Pitcher Christina Hamilton, catcher Lexie Elkins, second baseman Natalie Fernandez, along with outfielders Hayley Hayden and Shellie Landry were named to the first team, while first baseman Kelsey Vincent and outfielder Shelbi Refearn received second team honors.

Louisiana also took home most of the major individual awards, as Hamilton received Pitcher of the Year, while Elkins was tabbed Player of the Year, and head coach Michael Lotief was named the Coach of the year.

The awards for Hamilton and Elkins means that Louisiana has boosted the Pitcher of Year, as well as the Player of the Year, in 11 of the 13 years that the honors have been handed out.

The Cajuns won their 11th Sun Belt Conference regular season crown in the 13 years that the league has been playing softball this year, going 41-7-1, overall, and an impressive 19-1 in conference play.

Louisiana goes into the postseason Sun belt Conference Tournament as the top-seed, having won 12-consecutive games, and 33 of their last 35.

Hamilton, a junior right-hander from Rosepine High School in Leesville, La. who has a personal 19-game win streak, earned her first Sun Belt Pitcher of the Year award, after compiling a 22-1 record with a 1.46 earned run average, along with 159 strikeouts.

Elkins, a sophomore from Victoria, Texas, hit a .386 in her first season with the Cajuns, while leading the league in home runs, with 17, runs batted in, with 64, and slugging percentage, at a .784.

Lotief, who has won 589 career games at UL, has coached the Cajuns into a NCAA Regional in each one of his 11 seasons as either the head coach or co-head coach, along with five NCAA Super Regional appearances. Under Lotief, Louisiana has won at least 40 wins in every season, and 50 or more wins in eight of those seasons.

Fernandez, a senior from Live Oak High School in Denham Springs, led the conference in hitting (.456), on-base percentage (.552), and runs scored (59).

Hayden, a freshman from West Monroe High School, hit a .337 this season, and was second in the league in both homers (14) and RBI's (50), behind Elkins.

Landry, a sophomore from St. Thomas more High School in Lafayette, hit a .291, while driving home 33 runs.

Redfearn, one of only two seniors on the squad, hit a .280 with 12 homers and 37 RBI's in her second season with UL.

Vincent, a sophomore from Tomball High School in Tomball, Texas, hit a .283 in her first year as a starter, with six homers and 23 runs batted in.

ULM outfielder Rochelle Roberts earned the Freshman of the Year award.

Of the 15 players who received first team honors, Louisiana had five, followed by South Alabama with four, WKU with three, and Gerogia St., ULM, and UT-Arlington each with one.

Below is the complete 2014 All-Sun Belt Conference selections:


2014 Sun Belt First Team All-Conference
P – Christina Hamilton (Louisiana, Junior)
P – Hannah Campbell (South Alabama, Senior)
C – Lexie Elkins (Louisiana, Sophomore)
1B – Lauren Coleman (Georgia State, Junior)
2B – Olivia Watkins (WKU, Senior)
SS – Nina Villanueva (UT-Arlington, Junior)
3B – Preslie Cruce (WKU, Junior)
OF – Stephanie Pilkington (South Alabama, Sophomore)
OF – Hayley Hayden (Louisiana, Freshman)
OF – Rochelle Roberts (ULM, Freshman)
DP – Chloe Rathburn (South Alabama, Freshman)
At-Large – Farish Beard (South Alabama, Junior, P)
At-Large – Natalie Fernandez (Louisiana, Senior, 2B)
At-Large – Shellie Landry (Louisiana, Sophomore, OF)
At-Large – Kelsie Mattox (WKU, Senior, OF)


2014 Sun Belt Second Team All-Conference
P – Kaitlyn Medlam (Georgia State, Senior)
P – Emily Rousseau (WKU, Senior)
C – Callie Alford (Georgia State, Junior, C)
1B – Kelsey Vincent (Louisiana, Sophomore)
2B – Miyuki Navarrete (ULM, Junior)
SS – Amanda Thomas (WKU, Senior)
3B – Courtney Harris (Texas State, Junior)
OF – Shelbi Redfearn (Louisiana, Senior)
OF – Blair Johnson (South Alabama, Junior)
OF – Ebony Wright (Troy, Senior)
DP – Kortney Koroll (Texas State, Junior)
At-Large – Rayn House (Texas State, Senior, P)
At-Large – Kacey Everett (UT-Arlington, Freshman)
At-Large – Ashley Christy (Georgia State, Junior, OF)
At-Large – Timishia North (Texas State, Senior, OF)

2014 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year
Lexie Elkins (Louisiana, Sophomore, C)

2014 Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Year
Christina Hamilton (Louisiana, Junior, P)

2014 Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year
Rochelle Roberts (ULM, Freshman, OF)

2014 Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year
Michael Lotief, Louisiana

2014 Sun Belt Team Academic Award
South Alabama