Callahan a finalist for prestigious softball honor

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.( – Tennessee Lady Vol senior third baseman Tonya Callahan has been chosen as one of four finalists for the prestigious Honda Sports Award for Softball. The Holden, Mo., native joins Arizona State’s Kaitlin Cochran, Virginia Tech’s Angela Tincher and Texas A&M’s Megan Gibson as the remaining nominees for the honor.

Tennessee is the only program in the country that can boast having at least one finalist for the Honda Award for Softball during each of the past three seasons. Former Big Orange pitcher Monica Abbott was a finalist in 2006 and won the trophy after her stellar 2007 campaign during which she posted 50 wins and a national single-season record 724 strikeouts. Former Lady Vol Sarah Fekete was a finalist for the 2006 honor after leading NCAA Division I in hitting with a .500 batting average.

American Honda will donate $1,000 to the women’s athletic department fund of each nominee’s university. The winner’s program will receive $5,000. The eventual recipient after nationwide balloting will become a candidate for The Honda-Broderick Cup awarded annually to the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year.

A top-three finalist for the 2008 USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year trophy, a three-time first-team NFCA All-South Region choice (2006, 2007, 2008) and Louisville Slugger/National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-American (2006, 2007, 2008) as well as the 2008 SEC Player of the Year and a three-time first-team All-SEC selection (2006, 2007, 2008), Callahan continued her amazing production for the Lady Vols this season by leading the league in batting average (.465), slugging percentage (.854) and on base percentage (.630) while rating second in home runs (16) and RBIs (62).

She guided her squad in all those offensive categories while committing just five errors in 66 games at third base, tallying an outstanding .979 fielding percentage. She posted her incredible numbers despite drawing an SEC single-season record 62 walks, including 21 intentional free passes to rate fourth on the all-time NCAA Division I single-season list. She completed her stay at Rocky Top as the UT career leader in home runs (51), RBIs (241), total bases (492), walks (154), slugging percentage (.646) and on-base percentage (.487) while tying for third in doubles (49) and rating eighth in batting average (.373) over the second most games played (289) by any Lady Vol in school history.

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