Smith, Campbell earn NFCA First Team All-Region nod

Smith, Campbell earn NFCA First Team All-Region nod

A pair of Maryville College sophomores were honored this week, as Katlyn Smith and Taylor Campbell were both named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association's Atlantic Regional First Team ballot.

The NFCA honored 364 student-athletes were chosen as 2019 NCAA Division III All-Region squads, as Campbell and Smith both earned First-Team honors for the Scots. The underclassmen are eligible for selection to the NFCA All-American squad announced later this month.

"That's super impressive for them," Head Coach Leah Kelley said. "When recruiting them, I knew they were going to be difference makers in our program. Since their freshman year into this year, they've made a huge impact on the program as a whole – both on the field and off the field. I think that's a huge honor for them to be recognized as just sophomores, as underclassmen. I look forward to what they can do as upperclassmen."

Smith and Campbell led the Scots to their second-straight USA South Athletic Conference Regular Season and Tournament titles this year, as they had a hand in Maryville's first-ever back-to-back softball NCAA Regional bid.

In their two seasons on the squad, the duo has led Maryville to a staggering 60-25 mark, as they've gone 17-3 in USA South challenges.

Smith – a sophomore pitcher – has already become one of the most decorated Scots' softball players in school history with just two years under her belt. The Loganville, Ga. native earned the USA South Pitcher of the Year, as she garnered First Team Overall and First Team Western Division accolades for the second-straight season. Smith was tabbed the USA South Rookie of the Year as a freshman.

The hurler was named the USA South Tournament MVP for the second-straight season, as she earned Regional All-Tournament honors alongside teammate Alexus Murray in Greencastle, Ind. It also marks the second season in a row for that mention. She was also tabbed the Maryville College Player of the Year by The Sports Page Excel Awards for 2019.

"She's just such a good kid, and it's been such an honor to see her grow," Kelley said. "She's just now starting to get it and realize how good she is. Her potential is just becoming more and more. I look forward to see her play in the next couple of years and seeing how she continues to grow and develop. She's hitting her peak, and she's just going to get better and better."

Smith adds a First Team All-Region accolade to her awards list, as she tossed 167.2 innings this season. Smith struck out 200 batters, while going 22-5 inside the circle. The sophomore pitched 23 complete games, while tallying an impressive 1.55 ERA.

Smith allowed just 37 earned runs this year, while averaging 8.37 strikeouts per game.

Alongside Smith on the defensive side of the ball was Campbell, the Scots' second baseman, who led MC at the plate. Campbell – a power hitter – was named to the USA South First Team All-Conference squad and the First Team Western Division team for the second-straight season during 2019.

Campbell – the 2018 USA South Rookie of the Year – earns First Team All-Region honors after leading the conference in hitting during her sophomore campaign.

"I don't think I've ever seen a kid swing it as hard as she does," Kelley said. "In the third-base box, I'm always a little bit scared, and I give the umpire a little bit of a warning – 'If she turns on this ball, it's going to get here quick.' She's such a threat in the box, and she has such a presence about her. Teams in our conference talk about it a lot. Her opponents talk about how she's such a tough out, and I think that's credited to how hard she works. It's also her pitch selection. I've never really seen her swing and miss, and I never really see her with a looking strikeout. That's credited to her presence in the box and her composure at such a young age."

Campbell had 21 extra-base hits during her second year wearing the Orange and Garnet, as she hit .475 on the season. The Afton, Tenn. native held a .800 slugging percentage, as she drove in 45 runs this season. She had a team-leading nine homers and 12 doubles.

Campbell held a .981 fielding percentage during her sophomore season, tallying just two errors in 103 total chances at second base. She had 66 putouts and 35 assists, while having a hand in nine double plays.

The NFCA All-American squads are set to be released on May 22 on NFCA.org.