Last week, MSU softball freshman Ebonee Echols was named one of 25 finalists for the NCAA National Freshman of the Year award. This is the latest in a series of honors for Echols, who leads the Spartans in batting average, slugging percentage, stolen bases and triples.
Echols, an athletic training freshman from Newnan, Ga., is batting .383 on the season with a .609 slugging percentage in Big Ten games.
Her speed on the basepaths has helped her accumulate 14 stolen bases on 16 attempts, as well as eight triples, which leads the Big Ten conference.
She is also the conference’s only representative among the National Freshman of the Year finalists.
“I’m thrilled that Ebonee is getting recognition for the season she is having,” head coach Jacquie Joseph said in a press release. “We brought her to MSU knowing that she was a player that could be a game-changer.”
Echols has achieved all of this while battling an undisclosed injury. Through MSU’s past 10 games, the middle infielder has only played two contests in position. She has recently played left field and designated hitter, and has been forced to miss three games outright during the season.
“What I think I am most excited about is that we know that she’s not yet scratched the surface — that there is so much more to come,” Joseph said. “She’s been hampered by some injury issues since before our Big Ten season began, so we haven’t yet seen the best of what Ebonee has to offer. The recognition is wonderful for her and for our entire program.”
In her first year, Echols is already responsible for the 12th-longest hitting streak in MSU softball history. Through late March and early April, she hit safely in 13 consecutive games.
On May 12, the list of National Freshman of the Year contenders will be narrowed down to 10, then to five two weeks later. One week after that, on May 31, the winner of the award will be announced.