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Midseason Recognition: Players of the Year

(Graphics by Don Olea)

The 2019 Player of the Year watch list includes three players who have impacted the game in their own way this season. One has been a consistent workhorse in the infield in the SEC, another transferred and has turned into a dual threat and the third is defending her title as Player of the Year.

Abbey Cheek, Kentucky

Abbey Cheek was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team in 2016 and became the first UK player with 20-plus home runs in two seasons by 2017.

She has started every game for the Wildcats since arriving in Lexington and her presence is felt every time she takes the field.

The senior leads the SEC with a .462 batting average overall and .448 in conference play. She is having her best season, by far, and leads Kentucky in several other categories including runs scored (45), hits (55), home runs (16), slugging (.950), walks (48) and on-base percentage (.622).

This season she became UK’s all-time home run leader and all-time runs scored leader.

Miranda Elish, Texas

Miranda Elish was a second-team All-American last season at Oregon but has transformed into a dual threat this season at Texas.

Through 121 innings pitched, Elish has a 1.91 earned run average and is 11-8. Opponents are batting .169 against her and she has struck out 165 batters.

While her pitching numbers may not be the same as last season, her offensive numbers have improved tremendously. Her .340 batting average is good for third on the team and her .594 slugging percentage is second. She has nine doubles, six home runs and 25 RBIs in 106 at-bats. She has a .412 on-base percentage and has only struck out nine times.

Rachel Garcia, UCLA

The 2018 USA Softball Player of the Year is headed towards a repeat in 2019.

In the circle, she is 18-0 with a 0.68 ERA in 113.1 innings pitched. She has appeared in 20 games with 13 starts and two saves. Only 11 of the 17 runs scored against her have been earned and she has struck out 177 batters.

At the plate, she is batting .351 with 40 hits, 23 runs scored, seven doubles, one triple, seven home runs and 37 RBIs. She is slugging .614 and has a .462 on-base percentage.

Compared to last season’s offensive numbers, her RBIs are down but she is on pace or better with every other category. On the mound, she has improved in every category.

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