Soddy-Daisy's Kelsey Nunley is SEC softball pitcher of year

Kelsey Nunley

First team All-SEC

› P: Delanie Gourley, Florida› P: Aleshia Ocasio, Florida› P: Kelsey Nunley, Kentucky› IF: Kasey Cooper, Auburn› IF: Alyssa DiCarlo, Georgia› IF: Bianka Bell, LSU› IF: Meghan Gregg, Tennessee› IF: Tori Vidales, Texas A&M› OF: Haylie McCleney, Alabama› OF: Amanda Lorenz, Florida› OF: Sydni Emanuel, Georgia› OF: Emily Crane, Missouri› C: Ashley Walters, Texas A&M› DP/U: Kayli Kvistad, Florida

SEC awards

› Player of the year: Kasey Cooper, Auburn› Pitcher of the year: Kelsey Nunley, Kentucky› Freshman of the year: Amanda Lorenz, Florida› Scholar-Athlete of the year: Cooper› Coach of the year: Rachel Lawson, Kentucky

Former Soddy-Daisy High School ace Kelsey Nunley was named Tuesday the Southeastern Conference softball pitcher of the year. The Kentucky senior also was a first-team All-SEC selection, as was Tennessee sophomore shortstop Meghan Gregg.

Nunley, a finalist for the ASA/USA Softball national player of the year and one of 10 national finalists for the 2016 Senior CLASS Award given by Premier Sports Management, is the first Kentucky player to be recognized as the SEC's top pitcher. The leader of an outstanding staff, she set a school record with a 1.26 earned run average in 31 appearances in the regular season and has a 20-5 record with seven complete-game shutouts.

She also struck out a league-high 185 batters in 161 1/3 innings, and she is NCAA Division I's active leader in career innings pitched with more than 900. Nunley is Kentucky's seventh first-team All-SEC softball player and the first in four years.

Kentucky also had the coach of the year, Rachel Lawson. She's in her ninth year in the job with more than 300 wins, and the Wildcats have reached four NCAA super regionals in the last five years and made the Women's College World Series for the first time. She's 409-294 overall for her coaching career.

The Wildcats (43-11) finished second in the SEC in the regular season - the program's highest finish ever - and will open play in the league tournament at 2:30 p.m. EDT Thursday in Starkville, Miss. They will face the winner of Wednesday's game between seventh-seeded LSU and 10th seed Texas A&M.

Tennessee (40-13) is seeded third and will face Missouri or South Carolina at noon EDT Thursday.

The Vols' Gregg batted .389 with 34 walks and a .505 on-base percentage in the regular season. She has 10 home runs, 14 doubles, 57 RBIs and 47 runs scored.

Versatile Tennessee senior Rainey Gaffin made the All-SEC second team and the league defensive team. She's among the Vols' leaders in numerous offensive categories and also is 9-3 as a pitcher with a team-high five saves.

Pitcher Matty Moss and position players Aubrey Leach and Brooke Vines gave Tennessee the most SEC all-freshman honorees of any team in the league.