STARKVILLE, Miss. - The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga softball team surpassed another milestone this season by having five players selected to the Louisville Slugger/National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-South Region team on Thursday. Senior third baseman Tiffany Baker (East Ridge, Tenn.) was represented on the first team while junior catcher Vivian Morimoto (Sao Paulo, Brazil), sophomore second baseman Sara Poteat (Thomaston, Ga.), senior outfielder Lyndsey Stiles (Hixson, Tenn.) and junior designated player and pitcher Michelle Fuzzard (Huntington Beach, Calif.) were selected to the second team.
The Lady Mocs were one of 11 teams in the nation to have at least five selections on the 10 region teams across the country. Alabama, Arizona State, Florida, Notre Dame and Texas had six players honored, while Harvard, Illinois State, Michigan, South Florida and Washington joined Chattanooga with five.
All five players are now eligible for the Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-America first, second or third teams that will be announced on June 1. A total of
258 players from 126 different institutions were recognized on all-region teams.
Third baseman Baker is the Southern Conference and Chattanooga all-time home run leader with 47 career round trippers. She compiled a .369 batting average and .719 slugging percentage along with a school-record 15 home runs and 61 RBI. This is the second time that Baker has been named to the first team accomplishing the feat in 2009 at second base, while being named second team last year at third. She is the first Lady Mocs to be named to the first team all-region twice in her career.
The SoCon Player of the Year Fuzzard was represented on the second team as a utility/pitcher. Fuzzard had a career year posting a .412 batting average and breaking the SoCon and Chattanooga single-season RBI record with 75 so far this season, ranking second nationally. This is the first region selection for the Huntington Beach, Calif., native as she was the SoCon Freshman of the Year and placed on the first and second team All-SoCon in 2009.
Tearing up SoCon play was Morimoto, who became more dangerous at the plate as the season progressed after transferring from Miami Dade as a two-time NJCCAA NFCA All-American. She paces the Lady Mocs with a .422 batting avg. and has driven in 31 runs on the season. Morimoto started the season alternating with freshman Natalie Powers (Gleenpool, Okla.), but solidified herself in the lineup as a designated player and catcher as conference play started in March.
The Southern Conference Tournament Most Outstanding Player Poteat was another second team selection as she hit for a .387 average, scored 46 runs and recorded a .487 on-base percentage. The second baseman was a standout defensively for the Lady Mocs making hard plays look routine. She was additionally named to the All-SoCon Second Team.
A four-time All-SoCon honoree was Stiles, who earned her first spot on the region team as a senior. The Hixson, Tenn., native has been a dynamic leadoff hitter for the Lady Mocs this season in posting a .393 batting average and compiling a .493 on-base percentage. She broke the Chattanooga single-season records with 63 runs scored and 33 stolen bases, while ranking in the top 20 nationally in both categories. Stiles has been outstanding defensively for the Lady Mocs in making diving catches and covering a lot of ground in center field throughout her career.
Chattanooga is the No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional and plays No. 3 Memphis on Friday at 4:30 p.m. (EDT). GoMocs.com, the official website of Chattanooga Athletics, has complete coverage of the regional with links to live stats, audio and video available through the softball schedule page.