Clark and Lions earn conference honors

Senior first baseman Brooklynn Clark makes contact against Mississippi College April 10. Clark earned the 2016 Gulf South Conference Player of the Year award, head coach Ashley Cozart received Coach of the Year and six Lions made the All-GSC first team.

The Gulf South Conference released its end-of-the-year honors for softball April 26, and the UNA softball team left their mark on the list.

Senior first baseman Brooklynn Clark, who leads the GSC in multiple hitting categories, received the 2016 GSC Player of the Year award. Clark is the first UNA player to win the award since its start in 1997.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” Clark said. “I didn’t expect to get Player of the Year this year (coming in), but I’ve been working hard all year. Not for myself, but for my team.”

The Seadrift, Texas, native set the school’s RBI record and continues to add to it with 67 so far. She is also one home run shy of the school record with 14. Her current batting average is .476, and her on-base percentage is .508.

Clark said after having a mediocre season in 2015, she wanted to make a statement and have a memorable senior season.

“I want to leave a legacy not only for myself, but for my team, as well,” she said. “I want people to not only to look up to me, but to this team and the season we had.”

After finishing the regular season 46-5 and going 30-3 in conference play, head coach Ashley Cozart earned GSC coach of the year. In addition, six Lions made the All-GSC first team, which is an all-time school record.

Clark, Courtney Shields, Madeline Lee, Reagan Tittle, Hillary Carpenter and Raven Cole each made the All-GSC team. Clark and Shields are both batting above .400, while Lee and Tittle each have batting averages above .350.

Both Carpenter and Cole took home All-GSC after posting dominant pitching numbers, as both kept GSC hitters below a .200 batting average.

Cozart said she is proud of the team’s accomplishments so far, but is especially proud of Clark’s team-oriented attitude after taking home the individual accolade.

“She makes our team chemistry what it is,” Cozart said. “She’s just one of those humble kids that leads by the way she plays.”