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All three Buckeyes are eligible for selection to the All-America teams

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Just one day after earning First Team All-Big Ten honors, three members of the Ohio State softball team in senior catcher Sam Marder, sophomore shortstop Alicia Herron and freshman pitcher Melanie Nichols have been named First Team 2010 Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-Midwest selections, the National Fastpitch Coaches Association announced Thursday.

The all-region teams were chosen by NFCA member coaches from each region, and all the honorees are now eligible for selection to the Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-America first, second or third teams. In addition, conference pitchers and players of the year not selected to the regional teams were added for All-America consideration.

“You can nominate up to six players from one team so to have half of our nominees earn first team honors is really something,” Linda Kalafatis, Ohio State head coach, said. “Looking at the list, I knew our kids were up tough competition so it is really exciting to see their names pop up.

“What we have been able to accomplish in the last couple of seasons has been a total team effort. It is good to see these three earning recognition for their hard work.”

Marder, already a two-time All-American, has earned her fourth first-team all-region honor and now has the opportunity to become the only three-time All-American in Ohio State history. Nationally, the Buckeye all-time home run leader ranks third in walks per game (1.12), 10th in on-base percentage (.564), 11th in slugging percentage (.826), 12th in home runs per game (0.35) and 17th in home runs (17).

Herron, a second-year starter at shortstop, has led the Big Ten Conference in batting for the majority of the season and is currently ranked 19th in the NCAA with a .421 batting average. She has hit a career-best 15 doubles while adding three triples and nine home runs. The Cypress, Calif., native leads Ohio State with 45 RBI while scoring 37 runs, the second most on the team.

Nichols, the 2010 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, owns the all-time wins record for a rookie with 21 victories which also tie for sixth overall in the Ohio State season record book. She leads the Buckeyes with a 1.83 ERA and 129 strikeouts in 35 appearances. Nichols holds 24th in the national rankings after allowing just 1.28 walks per game. The San Jacinto, Calif., native is currently on a 10-game win streak, which ranks fifth overall in the program record book for consecutive wins in a season.

“There were a lot of great candidates so for Mel to get up there and get her name out as a freshman is telling of her ability,” Kalafatis said. “A lot of it goes into our strength of schedule and she has done well, rising to the occasion in big games. But pitchers also have to have a great team behind them to get the wins and Mel certainly has that as well.”

Ohio State opens NCAA regional play at 7:30 p.m. Friday vs. Kentucky at Buckeye Field in Columbus. Tickets will cost $10 for adults and $5 for students and are currently available for purchase at Ticketmaster.com. All day-of-game ticket sales will be cash only at Buckeye Field for the NCAA regional Friday through Saturday.

Midwest Region

First Team

Pos.

 Name

 School

P

Melanie Nichols

Ohio State University

P

Tara Oltman

Creighton University

C

Sam Marder

Ohio State University

1B

Meredith Hackett

University of Illinois

2B

Danielle Zymkowitz

University of Illinois

3B

Molly Garst

Purdue University

SS

Alicia Herron

Ohio State University

UT/P

Stacie Townsend

University of Texas, El Paso

UT/DP

Camillia Carrera

University of Texas, El Paso

OF

Hope Howell

University of Illinois

OF

Lauren Lindsay

University of Tulsa

OF

Rhea Taylor

University of Missouri

     
 

Second Team

Pos.

 Name

 School

P

Kat Espinoza

Oklahoma State University

P

Amanda Macenko

Cleveland State University

P

Anna Whiddon

Oklahoma State University

C

Ashley Guile

University of Nebraska

1B

Melissa Chmielewski

North Dakota State University

1B

Renae Sinkler

Creighton University

2B

Julie Brechtel

University of Nebraska

3B

Mariah Gearhart

Oklahoma State University

SS

Jenna Marston

University of Missouri

SS

Tess Sito

Cleveland State University

UT/P

Vanessa Walle

University of Memphis

UT/DP

Lindsey Digmann

University of Iowa

OF

Ashley Fleming

University of Missouri

OF

Sara Strickland

Valparaiso University

OF

Brooke Thomason

University of Nebraska