I am from Tocoa Falls, GA. Having daughters that played softball growing up at HBCU colleges, I have developed a love for it and continue to follow the MEAC,SWAC, CIAA, and SIAC around as well as following them via the internet. Blog by Byron Mayfield.
For the 2nd year in a row, the HBCU Division II Player of the Year goes to Kayla Cato of Claflin University. The Senior First Basemen from Decatur, GA helped lead the Panthers to a 37-19 season, their first in the CIAA. At the plate Cato hit .383 with 12 Home Runs, 16 Doubles, and 63 RBI to go along with a .443 On Base Percentage. The 2019 CIAA Player of the Year also left her mark in CIAA play hitting .551 with 3 Home Runs, 10 Doubles, and 35 RBI to go along with a .593 On Base Percentage. The Senior who recently graduated from Claflin University has been invited to the ASBA draft and is projected to get picked up in the late rounds. Cato will enter the ASBA draft as the top HBCU prospect currently entered.
For the third year in a row, there Division II Pitcher of the Year will stay in Orangeburg, SC at Claflin University, this time though a different face as Shaniya Thomas a Freshman from Jefferson, SC has been named the 2019 HBCU Division II Pitcher of the Year. After the departure of 2 time Pitcher of the Year Tiaria Norman, Thomas stepped up in a big way to help the Lady Panthers to a 37-19 season. Thomas appeared in 37 games in 2019 posting a 13-3 record with 6 saves to go along with a 2.15 ERA which ranked best in all of HBCU Softball. In 124 innings pitched Thomas struck out 140 batters while holding opponents to a .192 Batting Average. In CIAA play Thomas went 8-0 with 2 saves, she also had a 1.30 ERA, pitching 43 innings and striking out 62 CIAA batters and holding them a .139 Batting Average.
Rank Team Record Last Week
1. Winston-Salem State 9-1 1
2. Claflin 5-10 2
3. Kentucky State 4-7 4
4. Albany State 2-14 3
5. Tuskegee 2-11 5
6. Miles 1-13 6
7. St. Augustine’s 0-0 7
8. Lane 4-2 8
9. Benedict 4-4 10
10. Virginia State 1-7 9
With 2 time Pitcher of the Year, Tiaria Norman of Claflin University graduating, that left the door wide open for a new Pitcher to step in. After tying with Paola Flores of Kentucky State University for the Fan Vote, that allowed MaKayla August of Saint Augustine’s University to outduel Aryn McGowan of Albany State University and become your 2019 HBCU Division II Pre-Season Pitcher of the Year.
The 5’8 Junior Pitcher from Palm Springs, CA helped Saint Augustine to a CIAA Southern Division Title in 2018 while going 10-6 in the circle with a 3.37 ERA. In 95 2/3 innings pitched, August struck out 75 batters while only allowing 35 walks and holding opponents to a .252 batting average. In CIAA play, August was 6-3 with a 3.71 ERA, throwing 49 innings, striking out 46 batters and walking 18 batters while holding CIAA opponents to a .224 average.
If Saint Augustine’s looks to compete for another CIAA Southern Division Title in 2019, they will have to rely heavily on MaKayla August especially with the departure of counterpart Marley Parker to graduation. With Claflin coming into the Southern Division in 2019, look for that matchup to be very competitive when August faces Pre-Season Player of the Year Kayla Cato.