Tennessee Lady Vol softball players Ellen Renfroe, Lauren Gibson, Raven Chavanne and Madison Shipman earned the UT program's 22nd, 23rd, 24th and 25th overall All-American nods, all received since 2004, by being selected on Wednesday as part of the 2012 Louisville Slugger/National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-America Teams.
Tennessee joined fellow Women's College World Series participant, and Thursday WCWS-opening opponent (7 p.m. ET on ESPN2), #3 Alabama as well as #15/14 UCLA in boasting the most 2012 NCAA Division I All-Americans in the nation with four.
With her selection to the second team at third base, Chavanne (2010, 2011, 2012) becomes the fourth Lady Vol to be tabbed All-American at least three times during her playing career, joining former UT standouts Monica Abbott (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007), Tonya Callahan (2006, 2007, 2008) and Lindsay Schutzler (2005, 2006, 2007) among the select club.
First-team choices Gibson (2011, 2012) and Ellen Renfroe (2011, 2012) each picked up their second-straight All-American accolade, while Shipman becomes the 12th different Lady Vol softball player to earn the right to place her name among the All-American listing on the Lee Stadium outfield wall by virtue of a second-team nod.
The quartet joins Big Orange alums Abbott, Callahan, Kristi Durant (2005, 2006), Sarah Fekete (2005, 2006), Schutzler, India Chiles (2007), Tiffany Huff (2009) and Kat Dotson (2010) in forming an impressive list of 12 Lady Vols who have earned All-American softball honors. Every selection in program history has occurred under the leadership of co-head coaches Ralph and Karen Weekly, who arrived to helm Tennessee prior to the 2002 season. Abbott, Chavanne, Dotson and Ellen Renfroe constitute the list of Lady Vol players chosen as All-Americans following their freshman campaigns at Rocky Top.
Included on the preseason "Watch List" for the 2012 USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year award and a current member of the USA Softball Senior Women's National Team, Gibson has been a true leader on the infield as UT's everyday starting second baseman, making only two miscues for the top-rated defense in the country. The Pasadena, Md., product has posted a .318 batting average to go along with 54 runs scored, seven doubles, a team-best 13 HR's, 16 steals and 46 RBIs, while recording 12 multi-hit and 10 multi-RBI games for the Lady Vol offense.
One of the top pitchers in the country and a top 25 national finalist for the 2012 USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year award, Ellen Renfroe has tallied a stellar 27-4 overall record with a 1.18 ERA, 15 solo shutouts and 276 strikeouts over 225.2 innings of work while allowing opponents to hit at just a .177 clip. The 6-0 right hander gave #1 Alabama its first loss of the season back on March 21 (5-2), blanked #1 and defending national champion Arizona State (3-0) in Tempe, Ariz., on Feb. 11, and three-hit #3 Florida with a season-high 15 strikeouts during a 1-0 shutout on March 11. With those performances Renfroe now possesses six career victories over teams rated #1, #2 or #3 in the national rankings.
A top 11 finalist for the 2012 USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year trophy and also a two-time Capital One First Team Academic All-American, Chavanne currently guides the way for the Big Orange offensively from her lead-off spot in the line-up, posting a .433 average to go along with 78 hits, 44 runs scored, a .495 on-base percentage and 32 stolen bases over 55 games played. The Thousand Oaks, Calif., native heads the Big Orange with 27 multi-hit games and recently posted a career-best streak of reaching base successfully via hit, walk or hit by pitch over 41 consecutive contests from March 11-May 27.
One of the top RBI producers in the nation (63) and the RBI champion counting SEC contests only (33), Shipman has served as a defensive stalwart at shortstop for all 64 of UT's games in 2012, making just five errors over 182 total chances for the nation's top-rated defense. The Valencia, Calif., native has registered a team-best 18 multi-RBI games to go along with 17 multi-hit efforts, while posting a .319 batting average with 11 doubles, two triples, 10 HR's and 20 stolen bases in 24 attempts.
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