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OC senior Thomas, freshman Coats named as NCCAA 1st-team All-Americans

Pitcher Shea Coats (left) and catcher Martha Thomas (right) -- here after OC played Shorter (Ga.) on Saturday in the NCCAA Championship -- each earned NCCAA All-America first-team honors in softball this season.
Pitcher Shea Coats (left) and catcher Martha Thomas (right) -- here after OC played Shorter (Ga.) on Saturday in the NCCAA Championship -- each earned NCCAA All-America first-team honors in softball this season.

TROUTVILLE, Va. (May 18, 2014) – Following arguably the most successful season in Oklahoma Christian softball history, two OC standouts have been named to the National Christian College Athletic Association All-America first-team list.

Senior Martha Thomas and freshman Shea Coats, the Central Region hitter and pitcher of the year, respectively, were chosen to the national honor list during the just-completed NCCAA Championship, in which OC finished as the national runner-up.

It was the first All-America honor for both players and marked the fifth time that the Lady Eagles had multiple All-Americans in one season, most recently in 2003, when OC was a member of the NAIA.

Thomas, a catcher-designated player from North Richland Hills, Texas, hit .422 with 13 home runs and 53 RBIs this season as the Lady Eagles went 42-16, tying the program’s single-season wins record.

Individually, Thomas broke single-season school records for on-base percentage (.536) and slugging percentage (.812), tied the single-season home run mark and finished only two RBIs shy of matching the single-season school record in that category. She also went 12-for-12 in stolen-base attempts.

“Martha just had an awesome year offensively,” OC coach Tom Heath said. “She broke some records and set some records, and catching, too, she did an awesome job. I’m very proud of her. She earned that award. “

Coats, a right-handed pitcher from Tuttle, went 24-4 with a 1.80 ERA and 197 strikeouts in 183 innings. She threw 20 complete games and recorded 11 shutouts, including four straight in one stretch, during which she blanked opponents for 30 straight innings. She recorded 21 straight winning decisions before losing twice to national champion Shorter (Ga.) on the season’s final day.

She set the single-season school record for winning percentage by a pitcher (.857) and was only one win shy of tying the single-season record in that category. Coats, a four-time winner of the NCCAA’s student-athlete of the week award, became OC’s first-ever freshman to earn All-America honors.

“Shea, as a freshman, that’s just the kind of respect that she has earned, to get that kind of award,” Heath said. “She had a tremendous freshman season and I’m very proud of her.”

Both Thomas and Coats earlier had earned All-Heartland Conference first-team honors and All-South Central Region second-team honors from the National Fastpitch Coaches Association.