YORK, Pa. – After the announcement of taking over the No. 1 spot in the nation on Wednesday, the Salisbury University softball team has more to celebrate as sophomore pitcher Rachel Johnson was named the Capital Athletic Conference Player of the Year along with nine other Sea Gulls being named to the All-Conference team.
Head Coach Margie Knight was recognized by the league as the CAC Coach of the Year, her sixth-straight honor. Knight has been named the CAC Coach of the Year 12 times in her 17 seasons at SU.
Johnson is the 19th Sea Gull to garner the Player of the Year award while Salisbury has seen a Sea Gull named Player of the Year for 17 consecutive seasons. She is also just the fourth sophomore to claim the accolade, along with Lacey Lister and Kelly Waskewicz.
The Preston, Md., native has been stellar in the circle for the maroon and gold this season, tossing two perfect games and ranking first in the nation in strikeouts per seven innings (13.1). Johnson has accumulated 275 strikeouts in 27 appearances in the circle, with a record of 22-1 and two saves. In conference play, Johnson had a 0.00 ERA.
Joining Johnson on the All-CAC first team are junior pitcher Kathryn Larson, senior catcher Michelle Gravdahl, senior second baseman Carly Read, senior shortstop Hannah Mills, senior outfielder Sarah Alpaugh and freshman designated player Paige Knussman.
This is the first appearance for Larson and Knussman on the all-conference team. Larson kept conference opponents in check with a .141 opponent batting average while fanning 20 and walking only one. Knussman maintained a .583 batting average in CAC play going 7-for-12 while batting .396 overall.
Gravdahl and Read make their fourth appearance on the All-CAC squad. Gravdahl leads the Sea Gulls with a .453 batting average while blasting eight home runs, this is her fourth first-team honor. Read is making her third first team appearance on the squad after a second-team selection in 2012. The senior batted .368 against conference opponents with seven RBIs, two doubles and a triple.
Mills returns to the first team having earned the accolade in 2012 and second team in 2011. The shortstop leads SU in home runs (nine) and RBIs (42) and is tied with Alpaugh with two triples. Alpaugh makes her second consecutive appearance on the first team after leading the Sea Gulls in batting average against CAC opponents. The outfielder batted .706 in conference while hitting .417 overall.
Senior Lindsay McCabe, junior first baseman Harley Hill and freshmen third baseman Katie Sebbane were named to the second team.
Hill is a three-time member while McCabe picks up her second honor, after being named to the first team in 2011. All three Sea Gulls have become staples in the SU lineup while Hill is second in the team in hits 46 while also touching home 28 times. The junior has hit six doubles and one homer. McCabe batted .400 in conference with seven RBIs and a double while Sebbane has an overall batting average of .325 and scored the game-winning run in the conference championship game off the bat of Read.
The 10 conference nods ties a program record of 10 selections back in 1998 when Salisbury made its first World Series appearance.
Salisbury now awaits to see where it will be placed in the NCAA tournament field.