FOREST — Ferrum College freshman Allison McGehee and senior Cheyenne Strickland have earned Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) honors in softball for the 2019 season by a vote of the league’s head coaches.
The Panthers completed their first year in the league after competing in the NCAA Division III USA South Athletic Conference for 30 years with a 20-21 overall record and a seventh-place finish.
The Panthers qualified for ODAC postseason play and finished 1-2 in last week’s tournament, which was contested at the James I. Moyer Sports Complex in Salem.
Ferrum defeated No. 6 seed Guilford (North Carolina) College and lost to No. 2 seed Emory & Henry College and No. 1 seed Virginia Wesleyan University, the two-time reigning Division III national champion and four-time reigning ODAC titleholder, in the tournament.
McGehee is a second-team choice at designated player, Strickland is a third-team at-large selection.
McGehee, who hails from King William, batted .268 with a team-best seven home runs, 10 doubles, 33 RBIs, a .545 slugging percentage and a .339. on-base percentage.
Strickland, who hails from Galax, closed her final collegiate campaign with a .341 batting average, seven doubles, one home run, 16 RBIs, a .341 on-base percentage and a .413 slugging percentage.
Strickland, a two-sport student-athlete for Ferrum who played shortstop and second base during her softball career, is a former USA South second-team All-East Division selection (2018) and a former all-tournament choice and the Most Valuable Player of the conference tournament in 2016.
Ferrum captured the USA South championship in 2016, Strickland’s freshman year, and earned an automatic berth in the Division III tournament; the Panthers were eliminated from the event in two games.
In 2017, Ferrum lost to Averett University in the finals of the conference tournament in a rematch of the previous year’s title round.
Former Franklin County prep softball standouts Mackenzie Chitwood, a senior at the University of Lynchburg, and Carla Hall, a sophomore at Virginia Wesleyan each garnered first-team accolades.
Chitwood, a first baseman and a two-time All-ODAC honoree, has tied or set new single-season program records in home runs (17) and RBIs (62) and leads Division III in both categories.
Also, Chitwood, an at-large first-team choice, holds the Lynchburg and ODAC career home run standard with 40.
Chitwood was named ODAC Player of the Week three times this season. Also, she has earned all-region and all-state accolades during her career.
Chitwood is joined on the first team by senior teammate Taylor Mabry, a third baseman and a former prep star at Class 4 Bassett.
Mabry began her college career at NCAA Division I Liberty University.
Lynchburg is ranked nationally by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) and learns on Monday if it has received an at-large berth in the Division III tournament.
Hall, a starting righthander who was on the Marlins’ 2018 national championship squad, allows just 3.90 hits-per-seven innings, which ranks were seventh in Division III.
Hall’s 1.57 earned-run-average (ERA) ranks second in the conference and 35th nationally.
During the campaign, Hall struck out single-game, personal-best eight batters in a victory over Keuka College and threw her first regular-season no-hitter in a victory over Guilford.
Hall is 12-2 this season and has 22 career wins.
Hall, who earned Player of the Week accolades in the conference this season, is one of six Virginia Wesleyan players who garnered first-team citations.
Virginia Wesleyan is the top-ranked team in Division III and has earned the ODAC’s automatic berth in the Division III tournament.
Also chosen to the first team is Emory & Henry sophomore first baseman Kendall Varner, a former Bassett prep standout who ranks among the Division III leaders in home runs with 12.
Receiving the ODAC’s top individual awards this season are Guilford senior Makayla Carver (Player of the Year), Virginia Wesleyan junior lefthander Hannah Hull (Pitcher of the Year), Brandon Elliott of Virginia Wesleyan (Coach of the Year), freshman Anna Thomas of Emory & Henry College (Rookie of the Year) and Lynchburg senior Taylor Belknap (Scholar Athlete of the Year) and Guilford junior Natalie Conrad (Scholar Athlete of the Year).
Other ODAC teams represented are Randolph-Macon College, Roanoke College, Bridgewater College, Eastern Mennonite University and Shenandoah University.