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Cassady, Lee named SAA Coach, Newcomer of the Year

Kimball Cassady and Savannah Lee (photos by Jimmy Mitchell)
Kimball Cassady and Savannah Lee (photos by Jimmy Mitchell)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Birmingham-Southern Head Softball Coach Kimball Cassady and freshman Savannah Lee were honored Thursday evening by the Southern Athletic Association, being named Coach and Newcomer of the Year.

Additionally, five players, including Lee, earned First-Team All-Conference honors, and two Panthers were named to the Second Team.

A freshman from Lascassas, Tenn., Lee started all 40 games at first base for the Panthers and posted huge offensive numbers as her squad rolled to the regular season co-title and a 34-6 overall record. She recorded the league's third-best batting average at .418 and smacked nine homeruns to rank inside the nation's top 10 in long balls. Lee slugged a whopping .963 in conference play and paced the SAA in RBI (46), doubles (16), and total bases (94) on her way to a breakout season that earned her the Newcomer of the Year honor.

Lee was joined on the First Team by sophomore Micaela Beck (2B), freshman Abby Spencer (OF), junior Taylor Harkins (P), and freshman Haley Crumpton (DP). Second-Team honorees were junior outfielders Amanda Ballew and Maddie Ridgway.

Cassady just completed her sixth regular season at the helm of the Panther program, none finer than the 2016 campaign in which her squad amassed a 34-6 overall record, won a share of the SAA regular season title, and finished the regular season ranked No. 6 in the nation. Boasting a career record of 184-68-1, Cassady's Birmingham-Southern team rolls into the postseason on the strength of 14 consecutive victories. An All-American at Hewitt-Trussville High School, Cassady was a standout third baseman for the Auburn Tigers from 1998-2001. She also spent one year as a student assistant at Auburn before joining the Birmingham-Southern program.

The No. 6 Panthers begin post-season play Friday afternoon as the top seed in the SAA Championship in Collierville, Tenn., taking on the winner of the game between No. 4 Centre and No. 5 Hendrix at 4 p.m. CDT.