SLU’s Manzer, SFA’s Wilbur Capture Season-Opening Weekly Softball Awards
FRISCO, Texas – Southeastern Louisiana’s Ella Manzer is the season’s first Hitter of the Week, while Stephen F. Austin’s Kassidy Wilbur is the season-opening Pitcher of the Week, the Southland Conference announced Tuesday. All Southland Conference Players of the Week are presented by MidSouth Bank.Southeastern Louisiana opened its season hosting the 2019 Lion Classic I capturing four wins through six games. Manzer led the Lady Lions to a tournament championship following a 7-3 victory over Mississippi Valley State Sunday afternoon. SLU returns to the diamond Wednesday evening in Ruston, La. to take on Louisiana Tech.Wilbur pushed the Ladyjacks to a 4-1 start to open their season, including a complete-game shutout over host and No. 24 Mississippi State at the 2019 Bulldog Kickoff Classic in her collegiate debut. The Ladyjacks claimed the tournament championship after their five-game showing. SFA returns to action at home Wednesday evening as it hosts Louisiana-Monroe in a 3 p.m. first pitch.Softball Hitter of the Week – Ella Manzer, Southeastern Louisiana – So. – Catcher – Alexandria, La.Manzer was the leading hitter for the Lady Lions, who won the season-opening Lion Classic I. Her highlights included a go-ahead two-run homer in an eventual 4-3 win over Southern Illinois and a 3-for-3 performance in a 7-3 win over Mississippi Valley State in the tournament finale. The sophomore recorded a .692 batting average to go along with a 1.077 slugging percentage. She was responsible for five runs and five RBI for the Lady Lions’ opening weekend of play, while registering a .765 on-base percentage.Honorable Mention: Amanda Gianelloni, Nicholls; Kaylyn Shepherd, Central Arkansas; Emily Wolfe, Stephen F. Austin; Justyce McClain, McNeese.Softball Pitcher of the Week – Kassidy Wilbur, Stephen F. Austin – Fr. – Bridge City, TexasWilbur opened her collegiate career with a 4-0 record over the weekend, including three complete game victories. The freshman also recorded a two-hit shutout at No. 24 Mississippi State. While not allowing an earned run in 22 innings of work on the rubber, Wilbur struck out 32 batters and walked just seven. She only gave up one extra-base hit. In her first start as a Division I softball player, Wilbur fanned 15 batters to set the program record for most strikeouts by a Ladyjack. The right-hander went the distance in SFA’s season-opening 6-2 win over Valparaiso, before tossing her second complete game and striking out six batters in the Ladyjacks’ 7-1 rout of Middle Tennessee. Wilbur appeared in one inning of relief and struck out a pair of batters as SFA won in walk-off fashion over Middle Tennessee (2-1) Saturday evening. She completed her first weekend by striking out the side in order during the bottom of the seventh to clinch the Ladyjacks’ 1-0 shutout of No. 24 Mississippi State, helping SFA capture the 2019 Bulldog Kickoff Classic.Honorable Mention: Bronte Rhoden, Northwestern State; Megan Landry, Nicholls; Kamryn Coleman, Central Arkansas; Alexsandra Flores, McNeese.Southland weekly award winners are nominated and voted upon by each school’s sports information director. Voting for one’s own athlete is not permitted. To earn honorable mention, a student-athlete must appear on at least 25 percent of ballots.