LEXINGTON, Ky. – Four Kentucky softball players were named to the All-Southeastern Conference postseason teams, it was announced on Tuesday afternoon by the league office. Senior pitcher Kelsey Nunley was named first-team All-SEC in addition to being named the SEC Pitcher of the year, Abbey Cheek was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team, and seniors Maisie Steed and Christian Stokes were named to the SEC All-Defensive Team.
Those four awards combined with head coach Rachel Lawson being named the SEC’s Coach of the Year gives Kentucky five postseason conference awards – a new program record, surpassing the four gained by the 2011 team that got Kentucky to its first-ever NCAA Super Regional that season.
Nunley becomes the seventh player to be named first team All-SEC in Kentucky history, and the first since Brittany Cervantes in 2012. That duo joins Megan Yocke, Molly Johnson (Belcher), Nikki Jones, Lyndsey Angus and Leslie Kwiatikowski as the only first team All-SEC members in UK history.
Freshman Abbey Cheek was named to the All-SEC Freshman team after hitting .331 on the season with a freshman record 49 runs batted in. Cheek leads UK in a number of offensive categories including RBI, home runs (9), total bases (90), sits second in doubles (8) hits (51) and at-bats (154). Cheek becomes the 12th all-time player at Kentucky to be named to the SEC All-Freshman Team, and first since Kelsey Nunley did it back in 2013.
Both Maisie Steed and Christian Stokes were named to the All-SEC Defensive Team on Tuesday for the first time in their careers in the Blue and White. Steed was selected as the All-SEC Defensive first basemen, with Stokes being chosen as the All-SEC Defensive selection for the shortstop position.
Stokes, who was drafted 26th overall in the fourth round of the 2016 National Pro Fastpitch Draft last month by the ScrapYard Dawgs, had a fielding percentage above .900 for the fourth year in a row, recording 99 assists on the season, and now has over 400 for her career, which currently ranks third on Kentucky’s all-time defensive assists list.
Steed, who like Nunley and Stokes is in her senior season, had a banner defensive season at first base, recording a .992 defensive fielding percentage as she only had three errors charged to her all season in 355 opportunities. The Georgian led off in the UK order a majority of the season, hitting .258 in the lead-off spot for UK, drawing 27 walks and driving in 15 runs on the year.
Kentucky will open SEC Tournament play on Thursday afternoon in Starkville, Miss., at 2:30 p.m. ET live on the SEC Network. The second-seeded Wildcats will play either the seventh-seeded LSU Tigers,