Olathe, Kan. - Saint Xavier University senior shortstop Samantha Lovato (Oak Forest, Ill./Eisenhower) and senior right fielder Nicole Barker (Chicago Heights, Ill./Marian Catholic) were both named to the 2007 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Softball All-America Honorable Mention Team when the national office released the honors earlier this week. The selection of the All-America teams takes place in conjunction with the NAIA Softball National Championship in Decatur, Ala., which wrapped up Wednesday at the Wilson Morgan Softball Complex.
"These honors are very well-deserved," said SXU softball coach Myra Minuskin. "In addition to being our clutch hitter all season long, Sam is probably the best defensive shortstop to ever play in our program and definitely one of the best in the NAIA this year.
"Nicole used her incredible speed to get on base and constantly disrupted opponents with her base-stealing talents," continued Minuskin. "The pair had outstanding college careers and will be deeply missed next season."
Lovato led Saint Xavier in several offensive categories over 44 games this spring, including doubles (14), triples (4), home runs (4), and RBI (49). She hit .401 (55-for-137) on the year and also tallied 29 runs scored and 16 stolen bases. Defensively, Lovato committed just nine errors at the shortstop position while leading the Cougars with 99 assists. Barker led SXU with a batting average of .426 (69-for-162) and 40 runs scored over all 45 games. In addition, she also tied Lovato for the team-lead with 16 stolen bases and four triples.
Saint Xavier finished its 2007 season with a 30-15 overall record and the 2007 Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) Softball Tournament crown. The Cougars also qualified for the NAIA Region VII Softball Tournament with the No. 2 seed.
To view the entire 2007 NAIA All-America Softball Teams, click here