LOUISVILLE, Ky. – University of South Alabama junior third baseman Meredith Keel was named First-Team NFCA All-Region, while Olivia Lackie was selected third team Thursday afternoon as released by the organization.
Keel’s first-team selection marks the fifth time overall and first since 2014 (Hannah Campbell) that South has had a player earn first-team all-region accolades from the organization. Both her and Lackie’s selections mark the 18th and 19th overall all-region selection for the program. It is also the first time since 2016 that South has had multiple players receive all-region honors.
Keel and Lackie were two of 380 student-athletes from 154 programs to receive 2021 NFCA Division I All-Region accolades on Thursday.
The awards honor softball student-athletes from the Association’s 10 regions with first, second and third-team selections. NFCA member head coaches from each respective region voted on the teams, and all student-athletes now become eligible for the 2021 NFCA Division I All-America squads.
With their selections, Keel and Lackie are now candidates to be selected to the 2021 NFCA Division I All-America teams will be announced on Wednesday, June 2.
Keel – who was a first-team all-SBC selection – currently ranks second on the roster with a .364 batting average, which is 10th in the league, while her 51 hits are tied for ninth most among SBC batters. She also has seven sacrifice hits, which are tied for seventh, and is 5-for-6 in her stolen base attempts. Her 14 multi-hit games top the club, six coming against Sun Belt competition.
Her eight doubles are tied for second on the club, and she is one of six Jaguars to record a triple this spring. She has scored 21 runs and driven in 13.
The Ashville, Ohio, native was even better in Sun Belt play as she holds a .429 batting average – which is the highest by a South Alabama player in league play. She had at least one hit in 16 of her 22 conference games.
Lackie – also a first-team all-league selection – is 18-10 with four saves this spring. In her 174.1 innings of work, Lackie has recorded 233 strikeouts, which are second most in a single season at South.
Heading into the postseason, she ranks second in the SBC in strikeouts, saves and innings pitched, and third in opposing batting average and strikeouts looking (59). The Walker, La., native is 17th nationally in strikeouts.
She has been named the Sun Belt Pitcher of the Week on four occasions, and was selected as the Wilson/NFCA Pitcher of the Week on March 9 as well as being named the D1Softball Freshman of the Week, after tossing a 1-0 shutout at then-second ranked Alabama. Throughout the 2021 season, Lackie has twice been recognized by as one of the Louisville Slugger/Wilson NFCA DI Top Performance Selection (4/13).
Last month, Lackie was one of 30 freshmen from around the country selected as a candidate for the 2021 Schutt Sports / NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year award.
NFCA ALL-SOUTH REGION SELECTIONS
2021 – Meredith Keel (First Team), Olivia Lackie (Third Team)
2019 – Kennedy Cronan (Third Team)
2018 – Kaleigh Todd (Third Team)
2017 – Kaleigh Todd (Third Team)
2016 – Devin Brown (Second Team), Emily Messer (Second Team)
2015 – Chloe Rathburn (Second Team), Kalen McGill (Third Team)
2014 – Hannah Campbell (First Team), Farish Beard (Second Team)
2013 – Hannah Campbell (First Team), Haley Fagan (First Team), Brittany Fowler (First Team), Farish Beard (Second Team), Julie Moss (Second Team)
2012 – Hannah Campbell (First Team)
2011 – Hannah Campbell (Second Team)
2008 – Evelyne Pare (Second Team)
South Alabama (30-19) – the third seed – will open up play at the Gainesville Regional hosted by Florida (42-9) – the No. 4 overall national seed – at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium versus Baylor (27-21) – t e second seed at the regional – at 3:30 p.m. (CT) on Friday.
For more information about South Alabama athletics, check back with www.usajaguars.com, and follow the Jaguars at www.twitter.com/WeAreSouth_JAGS. Season tickets for all Jaguar athletic events can be purchased by calling (251) 461-1USA (1872).
Join the Bullpen Club, the softball specific support club of the Jaguar Athletic Fund. Members have access to purchase parking passes and receive Jaguar Softball gear. All donations to the Bullpen Club go directly to support the South Alabama softball program. For more information on how you can join visit: jaguarathleticfund.com/bullpenclub.