CHARLOTTE – Gardner-Webb had four softball student-athletes earn Big South Conference postseason honors Tuesday afternoon, with the league announcing its annual All-Conference Teams.
First baseman Alia Booth (Dacula, Ga. / Archer HS) earned first-team All-Big South Conference honors and also landed a spot on the Big South's All-Freshman Team.
Outfielder Kaylee Wacaster (Boiling Springs, N.C. / Crest HS) was named honorable mention All-Conference, pitcher Olivia Henson (Gaffney, S.C. / Gaffney HS) was named to the All-Freshman Team and Callie Thornton (Rosewood, N.C. / Rosewood HS) earned a spot on the Big South Conference All-Academic Team
Booth enjoyed a breakout season very early in Boiling Springs, leading the team at the plate. She batted .311 with six doubles, four triples and three home runs, driving in a team-high 29 runs as well. Booth started 49 games at first base and slugged a team-high .466 with an solid .396 on base percentage.
The rookie slugger is the first true freshman to earn first-team All-Big South Conference honors since Samantha Meenaghan did so in 2011. Meenaghan went on to earn All-Big South honors four times during her career, and is the lone Gardner-Webb student-athlete to accomplish that feat in softball.
Wacaster built on a steady freshman campaign, improving in several areas offensively while manning centerfield.
The sophomore batted a career-best .277 with 44 hits, four home runs and 27 RBI in 49 starts. She scored 28 runs, stole five bases and struck out only 15 times in 159 at bats. She forged a career-high .382 on base percentage and earned Big South Conference Player of the Week honors after the series at Campbell. Wacaster also had three outfield assists.
Henson made 18 appearances as a true freshman, earning three starts in the circle. She went 2-1 in her rookie season, hurling 45.2 innings pitched and striking out 28 batters. Henson compiled a 4.91 ERA in her work this past season and did not allow a run in seven of her 18 appearances.
Thornton started all 50 games for the Runnin' Bulldogs, one of only two players to do so in 2017. She also excelled in the classroom, forging a 3.49 cumulative GPA in her major of exercise science.
Thornton batted .255 with four doubles, four home runs and 24 RBI in 2017 and had a solid .378 on base percentage on the strength of 21 walks drawn – and drawing six free passes when she was hit by pitches.