GREENSBORO, N.C. – A program-best four Western Carolina softball players were named to the Southern Conference All-Tournament team as seniors Kailey McNeil and Addie Pate along with junior Myra Twitty and sophomore Jayme Eilers were tabbed all-tournament. The Catamounts ended the 2021 season as the runner-up in the SoCon Championship Saturday.
McNeil, a catcher from North Wilkesboro, N.C., is the second Catamount catcher to earn All-Tournament joining former Catamount and current Assistant Coach Madison Armstrong who earned the honor in 2017. In the four tournament games, McNeil had a .300 batting average with three hits, four RBI, and two runs scored. She got the tournament off on the right foot for the Catamounts blasting a two-run home run in the first inning to give WCU the early 2-0 lead which leads to a 5-0 shutout of the Mocs. She also picked up a sacrifice fly RBI in the third inning helping WCU to a 4-1 win over Mercer sending the Catamounts to the championship game.
Pate, a left-fielder from Seneca, S.C., had a strong tournament performance with key hits in the four games. She ended the weekend with a .375 batting average with three hits, two runs scored, a pair of doubles, and two RBI. Pate helped add to the Catamounts lead over Chattanooga leading off the third inning and coming around to score. In the key win against Mercer, in the elimination bracket, Pate hit her second double of the tournament picking up an RBI and plating the first run of the game against the Bears. She earned her second RBI in the game as she patiently worked around the Bears pitcher earning a bases-loaded walk that sent home Jeralyn Wells and helped add insurance runs in the game.
Twitty, a first baseman from Morganton, N.C., had a monster four games in the tournament. She closed out the weekend with a .444 batting average with four hits, two runs scored, two home runs, and five RBI. She was the only SoCon player to hit a home run against UNCG at home this season hitting a long ball in game one Friday against the Spartans and in the championship game on Saturday. In the opening game Thursday against Chattanooga, Twitty hit a two-RBI single up the middle to give WCU a 4-0 lead over the Mocs in the bottom of the third.
Rounding out the all-tournament selections for the Catamounts is sophomore hurler Jayme Eilers from Sterling, Ill. She ended the weekend with a .262 ERA making three starts and tossing two complete games. She went 16 innings and had 17 strikeouts. She tossed a two-hit shutout against the Mocs on Thursday striking out seven and walking just one batter. In the nail-biting elimination game Friday, Eilers calmly handled the speedy Mercer Bears allowing only one run on five hits. It was her icy demeanor that turned the Bears away from their best scoring chance of the game in the top of the second striking out Tori Ash with bases loaded to end the inning and the scoring threat by Mercer.
No. 2 seed Western Carolina put together a gritty performance in its first-ever appearance in the SoCon Championship game before falling 9-4 to No. 1 seed UNCG.