Tennessee's Ellen Renfroe named USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Week
OKLAHOMA CITY - The Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball announced today that Tennessee’s Ellen Renfroe (Jackson, Tenn.) was named the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Week for the week of May 9-15. The freshman pitcher was named the Southeastern (SEC) Conference Tournament’s Most Valuable Player after helping lead third-seeded and then- No. 7-ranked Tennessee to the program’s second SEC Tournament title.
“It is such a terrific honor to be chosen as the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Week,” said Renfroe. “When you are pitching against great teams like Kentucky, Auburn and Georgia, you have to have a solid defense behind you and a great offense to give you support, so my teammates deserve most of the credit for this award. I especially want to thank the Lord for granting me the ability to play softball at this level and for giving me the opportunity to play with such a great group of teammates.”
With victories against then-No.20 Kentucky (4-1), then-No.20 Auburn (2-1) and then-No.9 Georgia (6-5, 8 innings), she was also a selection to the SEC All-Tournament Team. Renfroe registered a 3-0 record in the circle with a 0.76 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 18.1 innings of work while holding three ranked teams to a miniscule .179 batting average. As the starting pitcher during the tourney opener versus Kentucky, the right-hander worked five innings, allowing just a single run to the .300-hitting Wildcats while striking out three.
Easily her finest performances of the weekend came in vital relief as Renfroe entered in the second inning versus Auburn in the semifinal with two base runners already on and no one retired. She eventually struck out the side to help the Big Orange escape a huge early jam. From there she allowed just a single hit over the final five frames to the Tigers as Tennessee held on for a 2-1 victory.
“Being named USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Week is a huge honor for both Ellen and our team,” Lady Vol Co-Head Coach Karen Weekly said. “Ellen’s performance during the entire SEC Tournament was masterful. Her relief appearance against Georgia in the Championship Game was especially clutch, holding UGA’s powerful offense to just one run over 7.1 innings. These types of awards come after great individual and team performances. Ellen would be the first to credit her teammates for the SEC Championship.”
Renfroe entered the match-up in relief versus a power-hitting Georgia squad in the first inning of the SEC Championship Game with Tennessee already down 4-0. In a crucial effort from the circle, she held Georgia to only one run on five hits with five strikeouts in 7.1 innings of work as Tennessee rallied for 6-5 (8 innings), walk-off victory.
This is the first-time honor for the freshman and the only Player of the Week honor for Tennessee of the season. This also marks the final Player of the Week selection of the 2011 softball season.
The Amateur Softball Association, founded in 1933, is the National Governing Body of softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. The ASA has become one of the nation’s largest sports organizations and now sanctions competition in every state through a network of 76 local associations. The ASA has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 210,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than three million. For more information on the ASA, visit http://www.asasoftball.com/.
About USA Softball
USA Softball is the brand created, operated and owned by the ASA that links the USA Men’s, Women’s, Junior Boys’ and Junior Girls’ National Team programs together. USA Softball is responsible for training, equipping and promoting these four National Teams to compete in international and domestic competitions. The USA Softball Women’s National Team is one of the only two women’s sports involved in the Olympic movement to capture three consecutive gold medals at the Olympic Games since 1996. The U.S. women have also won nine World Championship titles including the last seven consecutive as well as claimed four World Cup of Softball titles. For more information about USA Softball, please visit http://www.usasoftball.com/.