Trio of Lady Braves named to elite team

By: Staff report

GREENSBORO – The final postseason accolades have rolled in for the UNC-Pembroke softball squad, as the trio of Jamie Johnson, Abbey Walters and Alex Watkins was named to the North Carolina Sports Information Association College Division All-State Team, the organization recently announced.

This marks the fifth-consecutive season at least one Black & Gold softball player has been recognized on the all-state squad and also matches the program record for most selections (2008). Johnson (third base) and Walters (pitcher/outfielder) each picked up a spot on the first team, while Watkins was honored as the second-team catcher.

Walters, a Bladenboro native, hit .415 in 51 games this season, while racking up 27 extra-base hits and 39 runs batted in. The senior ranked second in the PBC with 54 runs scored, 68 hits, 115 total bases, 17 doubles and a .701 slugging percentage. The two-time all-PBC pick ranked fourth in stolen bases (28-for-28) and batting average, while slotting sixth in home runs and 12th in on-base percentage (.461). Walters notched 20 multi-hit games, including nine with at least three hits and eight multi-RBI games. She put together a team-best 19-game hitting streak at one point and reached base in 22-straight games.

In the circle, Walters won a team-high 12 games, while compiling a 2.59 ERA in 25 starts. She racked up a school-record 17 complete games and tossed five shutouts, while striking out 115 batters and limiting opponents to a .231 batting average. Her 17 complete games rank second in the PBC and her five shutouts are fifth-best in the league. She also ranked in the top 10 in games started games started, wins, innings pitched (143.1), strikeouts and strikeouts per game (5.6). Walters recorded her second-career no-hitter this season in a 13-0 win over Barton on Feb. 11.

Johnson, a Kenly native and 2017 NFCA All-American, led the PBC with a .421 batting average in the regular season and racked up a league-best 72 hits. The junior third baseman scored 46 runs in 51 games, drove in 30 runs and registered five home runs. She walked (17) more times than she struck out (14) and racked up 22 multi-hits games, including 10 outings with at least three hits.

In PBC play, Johnson led the league with 37 hits, was second in the league with a .451 batting average and third with nine doubles. Johnson reached bases in 19-straight games at one point and put together a 13-game hitting streak. In the final 19 games of the season, Johnson hit .508 (32-for-63) with 10 extra-base hits, 17 RBIs, 17 runs scored and 48 total bases.

A Swansboro product, Watkins was the third-leading hitter for the Braves as a freshman, compiling a .367 batting average in 48 games this season. The NFCA All-Region selection racked up 13 multi-hit games and put together a 15-game hitting streak at one point during the year. Watkins notched 13 extra-bases hits, including three home runs, and walked (12) more often than she struck out (eight).

She complied a .427 on-base percentage, a .523 slugging percentage and was a perfect 5-for-5 in stolen bases. Watkins hit .394 with runners on bases and .404 with runners in scoring position to drive in 19 runs and score 24 more. In the final eight games, Watkins hit .571 (12-for-21) with 18 total bases. Her .972 fielding percentage led all Braves with at least 175 chances.

Staff report