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RRAC announces 2024 softball all-conference team, players of the year

WACO, Texas – Following a season full of standout performances, the RRAC announced the conference's 2024 Softball All-Conference Team and end-of-year awards on Friday. Awards were announced tonight at a reception in Pineville, La., honoring the eight teams that reached the conference tournament.

Worthy of its No. 1 ranking in the NAIA and its 47-1 record, Our Lady of the Lake placed six players on the first team including Kayla Dreese, Madison Garza, Ava Hernandez, Natalie Rodriguez, Grace Ross and Cassandra Valdez.

Houston-Victoria was right behind with five first-teamers including Claire Blinka, Kenzie Chambers, Cameron Cowan, Madysin Leighton, and Kaylle Lopez.

Repeat selections included Blinka, Chambers, Bella Houck (Louisiana Christian), Fontenot, Garza and Valdez.

RRAC Player of the Year – Haley Fontenot (LSU Alexandria)One of the stars this season, Fontenot hit .568 this season to lead the conference and rank second nationally in that stat. The sophomore shortstop was also second in the conference in home runs (11) and fourth in RBI (40). Fontenot was named to the all-conference first team at shortstop. 

RRAC Pitcher of the Year – Cassandra Valdez (Our Lady of the Lake)For the third straight year, Valdez was recognized as the RRAC pitcher of the year. The senior from Brownsville, Texas, leads the country with a 0.43 ERA and she is the best in the RRAC with a 21-0 record and 213 strikeouts. OLLU is ranked No. 1 in the NAIA with a 47-1 record. Valde\ez

RRAC Newcomer of the Year – Ava Hernandez (Our Lady of the Lake)Adding more firepower to the OLLU rotation, Ava Hernandez earned the RRAC Newcomer of the Year award. The freshman from Alice, Texas, was second only to Valdez with a 1.12 ERA and 18 wins. She ranks third in strikeouts with 102.

RRAC Defensive Player of the Year – Madysin Leighton (Houston-Victoria)Leighton covers a tremendous amount of ground in the Jaguars' outfield. The senior from Richmond, Texas, made multiple game-saving diving catches this season while posting a .972 fielding percentage.

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