(Editor's note: MSUB Athletics release)
PORTLAND, Ore. – Seniors Brittanee Fisher and Allie Hughes led seven players from the Montana State University Billings softball team named all-Great Northwest Athletic Conference for the 2021 season as the league announced its award winners on Wednesday.
Fisher and Hughes, two of the team’s senior leaders, each garnered first-team all-conference selection after standout campaigns on the field. Freshman Brie Frazier and junior Sidney Pollard were second-team all-GNAC picks, while seniors Taylor Anderson and Hailee Gregerson and sophomore Marin Penney were honorable mention all-GNAC selections.
Fisher led the team and tied for the GNAC lead in home runs, matching her personal season best with 11 long balls despite the abbreviated, 36-game season. Fisher also led MSUB with 29 RBIs, which ranked her sixth in the GNAC, and with a slugging percentage of .705, which ranked her fourth. Fisher upped her career home run total to 31, which ranks her third in program history. She also ended the season with a career slugging percentage of .583, ranking her sixth in school history.
“Brit had a great year, stepping up her defense by covering more ground,” said MSUB head coach Lisa McKinney on the first baseman. “She continued to be a big part of our lineup, leading the team in home runs.”
Hughes was close behind Fisher, finishing the season with eight home runs and 24 RBIs while batting .263. Hughes reached base at a clip of .357 and slugged .547, while leading the team with 23 runs scored. Her 18 career home runs rank her tied for No. 13 in program history as well. Both Hughes and Fisher will return for the 2022 spring season, retaining eligibility from the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
“Allie continued to be a consistent bat in our lineup,” McKinney said. “She came up with several clutch hits and grabs in the outfield. We look forward to having Brittanee and Allie back next season.”
The only Yellowjacket to play in all 36 games, Frazier had a standout collegiate debut season and was among the finalists for the GNAC Freshman of the Year award. Frazier batted .321 with five doubles and one home run while hitting primarily out of the leadoff spot or No. 2 spot in the batting order. Frazier got on base at a clip of .351, and led the team with five stolen bases while scoring 22 runs. Her defense in center field was unparalleled, as she committed just three errors in 76 chances while logging five outfield assists and making numerous highlight catches.
“Brie had a standout freshman season,” McKinney said. “She was asked to step into a big role as our starting center fielder and in one of the top-two spots in the lineup. She did an amazing job at both.”
Pollard enjoyed a breakout campaign as the team’s starting shortstop, ranking second behind Fisher with a .329 batting average while starting 31 games. Pollard had five doubles, two home runs, and 15 RBIs, while slugging .463 and reaching base at a clip of .433 to lead the team. Showing great discipline at the plate, Pollard struck out just 12 times in 100 plate appearances, while drawing 13 walks.
“Pollard had a tremendous year at short for us,” said McKinney. “Her range improved throughout the season and she always found a way on base when we needed it the most.”
Gregerson finished her collegiate career with a bang, tying for third on the team with seven home runs and 21 RBIs. The Park City native batted .263, while reaching base at .308 and slugging .495 in her fifth college campaign. Gregerson’s year was highlighted by well-timed individual moments, including her walk-off home run on March 22 against Central Washington. She also earned her first-career GNAC Player of the Week award this spring.
“Hailee was a great leader for this team and tracked down several balls in the outfield that helped our defense,” said McKinney. “She was also an important part of our lineup. She was in the top-three of our lineup with home runs and figured out a way to spark our offense when we were struggling highlighted by her player of the week performance against Central.”
Penney matched Gregerson with seven home runs, while batting .294 and driving in 14 in her second season in the MSUB program. Penney earned a GNAC Player of the Week award, after hitting .727 in MSUB’s 3-1 series win over Western Oregon at home. Penney hit a grand slam in MSUB’s season finale against Northwest Nazarene, and ranked second on the team with a .635 slugging percentage including a team-leading six doubles. Penney was also among the top defensive third basemen in the league, holding a .932 fielding percentage in 88 chances.
“Marin was a solid third baseman that did a fabulous job of taking away the slow-rolling hit,” McKinney said. “She was another asset in our lineup, highlighting her hitting skills with her grand slam on our last day and earning player of the week against WOU.”
The top catcher for the Yellowjackets this spring, Anderson hit .315 while playing in 26 games and starting 24 behind the plate. Anderson had four doubles, one home run, and 14 RBIs, while reaching base at a clip of .359 and slugging .411. Anderson committed just two errors in 61 chances behind the plate, while catching three runners stealing. Her season highlight was a walk-off single on April 11, helping MSUB complete a six-run comeback in the seventh inning to clinch a series victory over Western Oregon.
“Taylor had a solid year behind the plate and ran our defense well,” said McKinney. “Her hitting really came around towards the end of the season including her first home run as a ‘Jacket.”
Brittany Genuardi of Northwest Nazarene University was named the GNAC Player of the Year, the Nighthawks’ Sidney Booth was selected as the GNAC Pitcher of the Year, and NNU’s Rich Wagner was named the GNAC Coach of the Year after leading his team to the regular-season title. Britney Patrick of Saint Martin’s University was named the GNAC Freshman of the Year, and Tatum Dow of Western Washington University earned GNAC Newcomer of the Year honors.
MSUB’s softball team finished the 2021 season with a record of 10-26 and went 6-14 in conference play to take sixth place.