A trio of Northern Illinois University softball players garnered all conference honors from league coaches as the Mid-American Conference announced its annual awards Tuesday.
Senior Dani Parrish (Plainfield, Ind./Plainfield) and sophomore Nicole Gremillion (Missouri City, Texas/Elkins) earned first team All-MAC honors as outfielders, while Jennifer Barnett (Indianapolis, Ind./Roncalli) took second-team accolades as a utility non-pitcher.
“It’s a great honor,” said NIU head coach Lindsay Chouinard. “All three of them batted over .400 in conference play and were an integral part in the offense all the way through for us. I’m sure it means a great deal to them to be recognized and honored by other coaches.”
Parrish, who earned first-team honors in 2010, ranks in the top five on the team in 16 team offensive categories. A .336 hitter on the season, she excelled in conference play, batting .403. Of her 49 hits on the season, 27 came against MAC foes, including three doubles, two triples, two home runs and 14 runs batted in. Parrish, who started 49 of 51 games, finished the season with six doubles, three triples, four home runs and 26 RBIs.
“Dani did a great job. We moved her around in the line up and she found a way to hit everywhere,” Chouinard said. “That speaks to what Megan Ciolli was able to do with her, rebuilding her swing from scratch. It speaks to Dani’s hard work and what Megan taught her.”
Gremillion led the league in hits with 70 and led the Huskie offense in seven other categories including batting average (.395), runs scored (47), doubles (9) and triples (4). She started 51 of 51 games, making 36 starts in the outfield.
The sophomore’s .395 average was second best in the league, while her four triples tied for first in the MAC. “Nicole made a big improvement from last season,” she said. “She’s just been getting better every year. I’m very proud of her.”
The Huskies’ leadoff hitter, Gremillion stole 15 bases on the season to rank seventh in the league and her 47 runs scored ranked fourth in the conference. In conference games, she batted .408 with 31 hits, including three double, four triples and a home run.
Barnett is earning conference honors for the second time in her career as she was named to the 2010 MAC All-Freshmen Team. A junior, she played in 47 games for the Huskies, predominantly at the designated player spot. She ranked ninth in the league with a .357 batting average, hitting .407 in conference play. Barnett was fifth on the team in hits with 41 and finished the season with a .417 slugging percentage and a .413 on base percentage.
“We knew when we recruited JB she had the ability to have a huge impact offensively,” Chouinard said. “She has an incredible swing, great hand to eye coordination. She always seems o find a way to touch the ball somewhere.”
For more information on NIU softball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.