Greensboro, N.C. — Guilford College’s Dennis Shores won the 2008 Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Softball Coach of the Year Award and three Quakers’ students were honored Friday according a vote of the league’s head softball coaches. Junior first baseman Kelly Hale (Toler, Ky./Belfry) became Guilford’s second First Team All-ODAC selection in school history, junior shortstop Amber Stapler (Glen Burnie, Md./Glen Burnie (Anne Arundel C.C.)) was a second-team all-league pick and junior outfielder Kelly Guarnieri (Wallingford, Conn./Mark T. Sheehan) earned honorable mention laurels for the third straight season.
In his second season, Shores coached the Quakers back to the six-team ODAC Tournament after a five-year absence. With a lineup that featured at many a seven students in their first or second Guilford softball season, the Quakers set the school standards for wins in a season with a 20-21-1 (8-10 ODAC) record, a 10-win improvement on 2007 and more than the total wins of 2006 and 2007 combined (19). Shores’ squad also set school records for runs, batting average and hits in a season. Guilford secured its second postseason bid in school history with eight ODAC wins in its last 12 games, including an April 6 upset of sixth-ranked Lynchburg College.
Hale, a three-year starter, captured her first All-ODAC award after hitting a team-high .431 with a school-record nine homers and 43 RBIs. She ranks second in the league in batting average and on-base percentage (.529) and third in homers and slugging percentage (.741) through games of April 28. The left-handed hitting Hale had 13 multiple-hit games this year and led the club with 12 contests with at least two RBIs. She ended the season on a 13-game hitting streak. One of her best games came in Guilford’s April 8 win at Mary Baldwin College when she went four-for-four with a double, home run and three RBIs. She takes a school-record 15 career home runs into her senior season.
Stapler, Guilford’s first All-ODAC Tournament selection, finished her first Guilford softball season ranked third among the team’s batting leaders with a .348 average. She set school records with 42 starts, 155 at bats, 41 runs scored and three triples. Stapler also led Guilford with 54 hits, the second-highest total in the team’s seven-year history. She led the Quakers with 16 multiple-hit games, including three three-hit efforts. Stapler ended the year on a seven-game hitting streak, three shy of her longest streak of the season. One of her best games was a three-for-five performance with three runs scored and an RBI in the Quakers’ Apr. 13 upset of sixth-ranked Lynchburg College.
Guarnieri, Guilford’s first three-time honorable mention All-ODAC softball pick, finished second on team with a career-high .400 batting average that stands third in school history and seventh in the ODAC. Her 34 runs scored and 13 doubles both rank second in school history. She had 13 multiple-hit games, including two four-hit performances. She was four-for-four, with three RBIs, three runs, and a double versus Mary Baldwin April 8. Guarnieri also went four-for-four with a homer in the Quakers’ ODAC Tournament loss to Bridgewater College April 26. She enters her senior season with school records for career runs (82), walks (45) and doubles (32).
Shores could return as many as 14 letter winners from this seasonâ€™s team in 2009, including Hale, Stapler, and Guarnieri.