Special photo. Dacula graduate Allie Miles pitches earlier this year for Georgia Southern.
Relying on a freshman in the pitcher's circle can be risky, but Georgia Southern's fastpitch softball team has seen only rewards from it this season.
The Eagles are rolling because of a decision to make freshman Allie Miles the No. 1 pitcher. The Dacula grad also has received her own personal rewards over the past few weeks for her outstanding debut season.
Miles was named the Southern Conference freshman of the year this week and also was a second-team all-conference selection. Earlier she was the SoCon player of the month for April (after winning six games with a 1.25 ERA that month), in addition earning SoCon player of the week three times.
The right-hander leads the conference in strikeouts (153) and has a 14-8 record, which features two one-hitters and a pair of two-hitters. Her pitching has been most impressive in conference play, where she sports a SoCon-best 9-2 record in league games.
Locals honored by SEC
Shiloh's Megan Wiggins, North Gwinnett's Brianna Hesson and Buford's Ashley Razey -- Georgia fastpitch softball teammates -- earned Southeastern Conference honors this week, as did Collins Hill's Sammy Lenahan, a freshman at Mississippi State.
Wiggins was a first-team selection for the third time in her career after hitting a team-high .378 in conference play with 22 runs, 12 RBIs and nine doubles. The left fielder also made the SEC All-Defensive Team, as did Hesson at first base.
Hesson was a second-team All-SEC pick for the second time. She hit .359 in SEC play with six home runs and 22 RBIs.
Razey also made the second team for her first SEC honor. The catcher hit .342 with five homers and 24 RBIs in SEC games. She had the game-winning RBI in seven Bulldog games this season.
Lenahan was named to the SEC's All-Freshman Team after starting 53 games and throwing out a league-best 21 attempted base stealers. She hit .282 with eight homers and 35 RBIs.
Rudnik named All-ACC in first season
Buford grad Alysha Rudnik was an impact player in her first college season for Georgia Tech, earning first-team All-ACC honors on Friday.
Rudnik hit .324 this season and scored 40 runs (tied for third in the ACC), in addition to ranking second in the ACC and 17th nationally with 16 home runs. She also drove in 39 runs and had a .738 slugging percentage.
Anderson shining at TCC
The offensive production of North Gwinnett grad Alexis Anderson is a big reason why the Tallahassee Community College softball team is headed to the NJCAA Division I Softball National Tournament on Monday.
Anderson, a freshman, leads TCC with a .382 batting average and also has seven homers and 23 RBIs. She earned first-team All-Panhandle honors and also made the FCSAA and Gulf District All-Tournament Teams.
Bennett gets national honor
Greater Atlanta Christian's Brock Bennett was named the College Baseball 360 national player of the week last week after going 10-for-17 (.588) with five RBIs and three runs scored in a series win over Mississippi State and a single win over Southern Miss.
Bennett, a senior catcher at Alabama, has moved from walk-on to one of the SEC's best players. His .364 batting average leads the Crimson Tide and is fifth in the SEC. He also has 20 RBIs, 31 runs scored and eight stolen bases.
Three locals make Peach Belt first team
Three Gwinnett grads on three different college teams made the All-Peach Belt Conference first team this week.
North Georgia's Kenny Bellavance (Parkview), Georgia College and State University's Richard Pirkle (Norcross) and Columbus State's Ryan Lewis (Brookwood) were all first-teamers.
Pirkle, a catcher, hit .305 with a league-high 12 home runs and 37 RBIs to become the first three-time All-Peach Belt selection in GCSU history.
Bellavance, a centerfielder, hit .319 with 32 RBIs this season while Lewis, also an outfielder, hit .359 with eight homers, 32 runs scored and 13 stolen bases. The sophomore also maintains a 3.97 GPA and was named to North Georgia's President's List for a third time this spring for having a 4.0 semester GPA.
North Georgia's Troy Snitker (Brookwood) made the second team after driving in 44 runs and leading the league in runners picked off (11).
GPC gets automatic berth
Four Gwinnett players have helped Georgia Perimeter College to an automatic berth in the National Junior College Athletic Association Regional Tournament. GPC also is ranked 20th nationally.
Brookwood grads Cameron Hall and Matt Adams have a combined 18 appearances and eight starts, while Grayson's Scott King (.323) and Collins Hill's Garritt Church (.322) are both batting over .300.
Freeman gets academic honor
Kennesaw State's Ronnie Freeman, a Brookwood grad, was named to the Capital One Academic All-District first team this week. Freeman also is a key player on the field for the Owls, hitting a team-high .370 with five home runs and 36 RBIs. He had a 42-game hitting streak earlier in the season.
Gwinnett Grads is a column that runs on Saturdays spotlighting the achievements of past Gwinnett standouts. Coaches and parents are urged to send suggestions via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or via fax to 770-339-8081.