Jones and Company Earn More Accolades on the Diamond

Written By: Michael Brown, Palm Beach Atlantic University SID

Bouschet (Left) and Jones (Right) Both Give Sailfish Softball Fans Reasons to be Excited About the Future for PBA SoftballBouschet (Left) and Jones (Right) Both Give Sailfish Softball Fans Reasons to be Excited About the Future for PBA Softball

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.- After a terrific season that culminated in making their way all the way to the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) National Championship game, the Palm Beach Atlantic University softball team continues to rake in accolades and awards. The most recent awards have come from the Independent Collegiate Athletic Association as five Sailfish players have earned the ICAA’s recognition.

Sophomore Ashley Jones was joined by freshman Caitlin Bouschet and sophomore Chelsea Gravini on the 1st-Team while sophomore Heather Laird and senior Casey Gibson made their way onto the 2nd Team listing of All-ICAA selections. These honors become especially significant to current Sailfish student-athletes as PBA currently stands as an independent school in the NCAA.

Perhaps earning the biggest accomplishment was Jones who was tagged as the ICAA Pitcher of the Year after posting an impressive season performance of a 17-10 record with an amazing 1.03 earned-run average. Jones proved to be dominant at times throughout the season as she posted 205 strikeouts while limiting opposing batters to a .205 batting average.

Joining Jones on the first-team were two offensive standouts for PBA second-year head coach Kimmy Bloemers in freshman Caitlin Bouschet and Chelsea Gravini.

Bouschet made an immediate impact on the Sailfish softball program as the nearby Lake Worth, Florida native became the starting shortstop as soon as she stepped on campus.

Blessed with power and athleticism, Bouschet led the Fish in nearly every major offensive categories as she posted a team-high .386 batting average, drove in 32 runs, collected 12 doubles, two homeruns, and registered a .500 on-base percentage.

Batting in front of Bouschet for most of the season was the smooth left-handed stroke of outfielder Chelsea Gravini. Making a big jump from a slapper to a hitter is one thing, however Gravini proved throughout the season she had big-play potential as she connected for three homeruns, three triples, and 25 RBI’s while also possessing the versatility to play all three outfield positions during the 2008 season.

Helping roam the outfield in center-field was the strong senior play of Casey Gibson who was named to the ICAA 2nd Team. Known for her speed and terrific throwing arm, Gibson rounded out her collegiate career in fine fashion as she registered 12 hits in the national tournament while creating havoc on the bases.

With her solid finish, Gibson raised her final batting average to .314, good for second on the squad behind Bouschet, while also finishing second on the team in stolen bases with 23 swipes in 24 chances.

Rounding out the PBA ICAA honorees was sophomore right-hander Heather Laird who came to PBA from Manatee Community College. Versatile enough to start or relieve, Laird quickly proved to her coach and teammates that she could pitch at this level as she posted a 12-win season in her first campaign with the Sailfish.

Finishing 12-7 on the year, Laird posted an impressive 1.84 ERA with 88 strikeouts in 130 innings pitched.

With seven starters returning including their top two pitchers, Sailfish softball fans have a lot to be excited about in the coming seasons as head coach Kimmy Bloemers continues to shape the PBA softball program into one of the most up-and-coming programs in the region.

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