Softball's Schkade Earns Preseason All-Conference Recognition
Senior Hit .393 In Junior Campaign
IRVING, Texas – After a breakout junior campaign, Kelli Schkade was tabbed as one of 15 players on Conference USA’s Preseason All-Conference Team, announced by the league office on Wednesday.
Schkade, who garnered first-team honors last season, lit up opposing pitchers, hitting .393 with 70 hits, 16 doubles, 13 home runs and 42 RBI in 178 at bats.
“I think this preseason nod to Kelli is well deserved,” head softball coach Tracey Kee said. “She’s an incredibly hard worker who doesn’t shy away from challenges and pressure. To witness first-hand her growth as a player has been a complete joy. To actually see her practice and play is the true epitome of competition at its best.”
In 2016, Schkade led C-USA in total bases (127) and slugging percentage (.713), while finishing third in runs scored (52).
As a team, North Texas was picked to finish 12th in the field of competition after going 22-33, with a 5-19 mark in conference play a year ago.
“This preseason team ranking was expected,” Kee added. “We have worked diligently on our skill sets, our mental toughness, and fine tuning our game this off-season. We don’t dwell on the past, but instead use it to motivate us on a daily basis.”
Kee and her coaching staff are confident in this team, which returns its staff from last season as well as its two highest offensive producers in Schkade and Danielle Gregory. Additionally, the Mean Green added six newcomers (five freshmen, one junior) to bring in much needed depth across the diamond.
“This squad understands the task at hand going into our traditional season, and the confidence in which they are currently practicing at will indeed pay dividends in the end so long as we keep getting better with each opportunity laid before us,” Kee explained.
Florida Atlantic (10 first-place votes) was picked to repeat as C-USA champions. FAU’s Kylee Hanson was tabbed as the Preseason Pitcher of the Year after winning the award last season, while Marshall’s Morgan Zerkle was selected Preseason Player of the Year.
Fans can get their first look at the 2017 squad when the team opens the season Feb. 10-12 with the North Texas Invitational at Lovelace Stadium.
Preseason All-Conference Team
Pitcher: Kylee Hanson, Florida Atlantic, Sr.
Pitcher: Amanda Wilson, Florida Atlantic, Sr.
Pitcher: Jordan Dixon, Marshall, Sr.
Catcher: Taylor McCord, Marshall, Jr.
Catcher: Alex Miller, Florida Atlantic, Jr.
Infielder: Stephanie Texeira, FIU, Sr.
Infielder: Morgan Zerkle, Marshall, Sr.
Infielder: Kelli Schkade, North Texas, Sr.
Infielder: Emily Lochten, Florida Atlantic, Jr.
Infielder: Courtney Clayton, UTEP, Jr.
Outfielder: Madisyn Palmer, Florida Atlantic, So.
Outfielder: Gabby Spallone, FIU, Sr.
Outfielder: Shaelynn Braxton, Marshall, Sr.
Outfielder: Precious Birdsong, Middle Tennessee, Jr.
DP/Utility: Kaitlyn Ryder, UTEP, Jr.
Predicted Order of Finish
1. Florida Atlantic (10)
3. Marshall (1)
4. Louisiana Tech
5. Southern Miss
11. Middle Tennessee
12. North Texas
2017 Preseason Player of the Year
Morgan Zerkle, Marshall, Sr.
2017 Preseason Pitcher of the Year
Kylee Hanson, Florida Atlantic, Sr.