Cassady, Bice, Fronk earn SCAC post-season honors

Kimball Cassady, Ashley Bice, Bethany Fronk
Kimball Cassady, Ashley Bice, Bethany Fronk

JACKSON, Tenn.—Senior Ashley Bice, freshman Bethany Fronk, and Head Coach Kimball Cassady were named Player-, Pitcher-, and Coach-of-the-Year today in exclusive voting by the league's head softball coaches.

Bice was voted Tri-Player-of-the-Year along with Caitlynn Dykes of Trinity University and Allison Tarbox of Millsaps College, and Cassady was Co-Coach-of-the-Year with Trinity's Selena Collins.

Bice, a senior outfielder from Indian Springs, Ala., and two-time First Team All-SCAC honoree led the Panthers to their second 30-win season in the past four years – the only SCAC program that can make that claim. Bice finished the regular season ranked in the top five in the conference in virtually every offensive category. She led the SCAC in total bases (83) and finished second in hits (54), was tied for fourth in RBIs (33), fourth in slugging percentage (.638), tied for fourth in home runs (5) and was fifth in batting average (.415). Bice was also in the top ten in runs scored (29, tied for seventh), on-base percentage (.451, seventh) and stolen bases (11, eighth). Her 180 career hits currently ranks tenth all-time on the league's all-time list and her 123 runs batted in finds her tied for eighth. Bice became just the fourth player in SCAC history to post at least 180 hits and drive in 120 or more runs.

Bice, Dykes and Tarbox each received three votes for SCAC Player-of-the-Year, while junior utility player Ashley Halbert of Hendrix College received the lone remaining vote. Dykes was also named Newcomer-of-the-Year.

Fronk, a first-year right-hander from Clay, Ala., led the SCAC during the regular season in saves (7) and earned run average (0.93). Her earned run average is good for seventh in the nation and is currently tied for third-best single season ERA in SCAC history. She also finished the regular season third in opponents' batting average (.209), tied for third in wins (12), fourth in shutouts (4) and seventh in strikeouts (77). Fronk led a Birmingham-College staff that posted a team-low 0.67 ERA in conference play. She was unbeaten in conference games (8-0) and allowed just a single earned run (0.14 ERA) during those contests. In the program's fourth year as a member of the SCAC, Fronk is the first Panther to earn SCAC Pitcher-of-the-Year honors and Fronk and Bice represent the sixth combination of teammates to earn Offensive and Pitcher-of-the-Year in the same year.

Fronk received five votes from the coaches in the balloting for SCAC Pitcher-of-the-Year to earn the award. Senior Lyndsy Maus of Southwestern University and junior Sydney Friday of Trinity each garnered two votes, while junior Ashley Halbert of Hendrix received the final vote.

Under the guidance of second-year head coach Kimball Cassady, the Birmingham-Southern Panthers currently sport an overall mark of 30-8 and are 15-1 in SCAC play. The Panthers, who are in their first year of eligibility for NCAA post-season play after a four-year reclassification process, are taking full advantage of the opportunity after earning the top seed out of the Eastern Division. Cassady, who holds a career record of 55-17 at BSC, led the Panthers to their second 30-win season in the last four years. Cassady, Bice and Fronk represent just the fourth combination from the same school to earn Coach, Offensive and Pitcher-of-the-Year honors in the same year.

Cassady and Collins garnered three votes each from their peers for SCAC Coach-of-the-Year honors, edging Millsaps College head coach Roland Rodriguez, who received two votes. Jackie Davis of Austin College and Amber Gilliam of Sewanee-The University of the South each received one vote.

Bice, Fronk, and junior Brittany Berkopec were all named First-Team All-Conference, and junior Chelsea Fernandez earned an Honorable Mention nod.

The Panthers defeated Rhodes earlier today in their first-ever appearance in the SCAC Championship, and will face Trinity tomorrow at 2 p.m.