Softball - Wed, Apr. 25, 2012
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KINGSPORT, Tenn. -- Union College senior catcher Gina Loflin was named the 2012 Appalachian Athletic Conference Player of the Year, the league announced today. Loflin also led a group of four Lady Bulldogs who were also selected to the 2012 All-AAC teams, as well.

In addition, as a team, the Lady Bulldogs were awarded the NAIA's Champions of Character award. 

With today's announcement, Loflin, who was also a First Team selection at catcher on the All-AAC team, caps off a banner two-year career at Union. It also marks the second straight season that a Union player has won the award, as pitcher Falon Catalano was the AAC Player of the Year in 2011. 

This season, Loflin has been the Lady Bulldogs' top offensive performer, leading the team and the conference in several categories. 

She batted .398 on the year, and led the Lady Bulldogs in RBI (34), home runs (5), hits (51), and runs (34). In the AAC, Loflin has led the league in runs batted in per game (0.85), doubles per game (0.49), and doubles (19). Loflin was also the strongest defensive catcher in the conference, posing an .996 fielding percentage, while throwing out 16-of-the-17 runners who tried to steal a base on her on the year. She committed just one error on the year, as well.

Three other Lady Bulldogs also joined Loflin on the All-AAC teams: pitcher Abby Sears was a first-team selection, while second baseman Ashley Wojnowski and right fielder Aryssa Puckett earned second team honors.

Sears, a senior, has gone 14-6 in the circle as the Lady Bulldogs' ace, posting a 3.10 ERA. She also notched three saves in numerous relief appearances, as well. 

In all, Sears has struck out 128 batters, surrendering just 37 walks, as opponents have batted just .237 against her. At the plate, Sears has been just as impressive, posting the highest average on the team at .412, hitting four homers, with 27 RBI.

Wojnowski, a freshman, was impressive all year in her rookie campaign for the Lady Bulldogs. 

She's batted .379 as the team's leadoff hitter in the lineup, scoring 32 runs, with 27 RBI. She also stole 20 bases (out of 22) on the year, as well. Wojnowski has hit seven triples on the season, which is both a team and AAC high. The mark is also the third highest in the entire NAIA. 

Puckett, also a freshman, rounded out the Lady Bulldogs selected to the All-AAC teams. 

In her rookie season, she's batted .398, with four homers, 12 doubles,  and 26 RBI. Puckett also posted a .964 fielding percentage in the UC outfield, while posting the second highest slugging percentage on the team at .639.

Rounding out the Union players who were honored on the day were senior Whitley Cochran, and junior Madison McKinney, who were honored for their work in the classroom, after being named to the 2012 AAC All-Academic Team.

To view the full list of All-AAC honorees, click here.