SEGUIN, Texas – The Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) released the 2017 All-Conference Softball Team on Friday evening prior to the final game of the tournament's opening round. The University of Dallas placed a quartet of players on the teams and one of them secured the team's first SCAC Player of the Year.
Jade Miller (Plano, Texas) headlined the Crusaders' awards with 2017 SCAC Co-Player-of-the-Year with Texas Lutheran University's Kaymee Gooden. Miller was a freshman that leaped into the top half of the lineup immediately and led the conference most of the season in batting average (.472). Miller was also near the top five in stolen bases and ended the regular season in second for the league with 29. That team-high helped Dallas post 99 overall entering the tournament. Miller also totaled 58 hits by the conclusion of the regular season which set a new individual program record.
Miller is only the second player in the softball program to receive a conference Player-of-the-Year honor. Jessica Swaja ('09) was tabbed in 2009 as the Association of Division III Independents (AD3I) Player-of-the-Year when UD was a member then. Miller added to her accolades to reflect a strong debut season with All-SCAC First Team. Only Katie Lee (Houston, Texas) and Lyda Tesauro ('14-'16) have garnered such accolades for the Crusaders in the SCAC. Both were named in 2015 when Dallas set a program record 22 wins.
Mackenzie Tano (Wylie, Texas) captured All-SCAC Second Team for utility player. The freshman started in 39 games this spring and was penciled in the lineup for a couple different positions. Tano was primarily on the lineup card as a designated player or right fielder. She did see some time at second base throughout the season. Tano brought some punch with her bat, notching a .280 average with two home runs and 21 RBI, which was second on the squad. Her 22 runs scored were also second on the team at the end of the regular season. She is also top three on the team in doubles with five (3rd) and runs scored with 22 (2nd). Tano's two triples occurred in the same game against Schreiner University on March 25 to become the seventh player to tie the school record in a single game. Finally, Tano has 10 stolen bases to complete a quartet of Crusaders in double figures.
Avery Finch (Jamul, Calif.) was one-of-two softball players to gain All-SCAC Honorable Mention. Finch batted exactly .300 to give her an average north of the mark all four years in the senior's career. She batted a career .325 and notched 152 hits. The all-time leader entering this campaign in stolen bases swiped 17 on the year and reached the century mark on Senior Day on April 23rd. Finch ends her career by cementing herself as the career leader in steals (102) and at bats (480). Her individual amount of steals aided the squad in surpassing 100 as a team for consecutive seasons for the only times in school history. The team finished with 106 at the time of this release.
Allison Kotlar (Edna, Texas) was the other All-SCAC Honorable Mention for Dallas. Kotlar was another senior like Finch that left her mark on the program. The outfielder bounced around all three outfield positions this season and stepped up on defense to fill the gaps due to injuries at times. She batted a .280 average on the season and was third on the squad in total hits (33). Kotlar tied the school record for games played in a single season with 44 in 2016, and the projected four-year letterwinner set the career UD record for games played with 153.
(Miller pictured with SCAC Commissioner Dwayne Hanberry)