The rewards for an outstanding regular season began pouring in for the USC Beaufort softball team Wednesday night, as the 10th-ranked Sand Sharks swept the top annual honors at the Sun Conference softball banquet in Clermont, Fla.
Junior shortstop C.J. Browder garnered Player of the Year honors, sophomore Kristy Cook was named the Pitcher of the Year and Ty Rietkovich claimed Coach of the Year honors on the eve of the Sun Conference Tournament, where the Sand Sharks (38-4, 14-2 Sun) will be the top seed starting Thursday.
Sophomore first baseman Maddie Byrd and junior second baseman Katie Rietkovich joined Browder and Cook on the All-Sun Conference team. Byrd, Rietkovich, senior catcher Caitlin Vaughn and sophomore outfielder Chelsey Blasingame were named to the Academic All-Conference team.
Browder has been a tremendous boost for the offense, leading the team with a .485 average, 14 doubles, 16 homers, 62 RBIs and 50 runs scored. She also has swiped 14 bases and provided outstanding defense at shortstop.
Never miss a local story.
Cook has followed up her All-Sun Conference freshman season with an even better sophomore campaign, going 18-0 with a 1.84 ERA in 24 games (20 starts) with 113 strikeouts against 32 walks.
Rietkovich also repeated as an All-Sun Conference player, as she has compiled a .373 average with 13 home runs, 32 RBIs, 45 runs scored and nine stolen bases.
Byrd has provided another power bat in the lineup, hitting .383 with 11 doubles, two triples, six homers and 43 RBIs while also playing tremendous defense at first base with a .986 fielding percentage.
The four Academic All-Conference honorees boast cumulative GPAs of at 3.50.
The Sand Sharks are scheduled to open the Sun Conference Tournament at 4:30 p.m. Thursday. Rain is in the forecast for the Clermont area throughout the tournament.