BUENA VISTA, Va. — The Southern Virginia University softball team graduates its solid core of six seniors who have provided significant contributions to the Knights' softball program over the past several seasons.
"These women have been major contributors to the program over their past four years," said head coach Tiffane Pendleton. "They have all started a majority of our games, putting in long innings and big stats. It has been a true joy coaching and mentoring them. They are hardworking, and our program is where it is today because of their dedication and commitment. I am heartbroken that we didn't get a final season together, but they are so incredible that I know they will make an impact in the world."
The Knights were limited in opportunities to play early in the season after having the first four games canceled due to inclement weather. Southern Virginia managed in the short season to pick up wins at Shenandoah and then at Harvey-Dryden Field against Eastern Mennonite. The Knights as a team improved at the plate from last season, raising their batting average (.245), on-base percentage,(.339) and slugging percentage (.370) while hitting six home runs in the first 12 games.
Southern Virginia Softball Seniors
Danielle Asche joined the Knights this season and immediately found herself contributing at the plate. In just ten games, Asche led the team with an impressive .444 batting average (12-for-27) while also finishing third in the Capital Athletic Conference. She tallied five RBIs, three doubles, one triple, and one home run. Asche also generated a .464 on-base percentage and a .741 slugging percentage. She managed to collect a hit in seven of the ten games she played in with her best game of the season coming at home against Eastern Mennonite going a perfect 4-for-4 with four RBIs, one double and one homer. Asche is double majoring in biochemistry and psychology and plans to attend graduate school to become an addiction and trauma counselor.
Melanie Peyton played in 89 games for the Knights, totaling 198 plate appearances while hitting .237 with 47 hits, 31 RBIs, nine doubles, four homers, and one triple. Peyton produced a career-year, batting .367 (11-for-30) with five RBIs and one home run. This season, Peyton generated a four-game hit streak while recording a perfect day at the plate against Eastern Mennonite going 3-for-3 with a double and an RBI. In her first season with the Knights, she posted a career-high in hits (20), RBIs (13), doubles (four) and homers (two). She also found time in the circle appearing in 22 games in her career, tallying 33 strikeouts in 83.2 innings. Peyton will graduate with a degree in psychology and plans to go into counseling or education.
Jordan Stites appeared in 95 games for Southern Virginia playing primarily in the outfield. In four seasons, Stites has recorded 47 hits, 23 RBIs, ten doubles, one triple, and hit .249 while stealing eight bases. This season, she played in eight games collecting four hits, three RBIs, and one double. Stites played a vital role in this season's win over Shenandoah, driving in two runs with a double while also scoring two runs. The Ramona, California, native had a career-season her sophomore season leading the team with a .391 batting average (18-for-46) while adding ten RBIs and six doubles. Stites will graduate with a degree in psychology.
Bethanie Phillips has been a staple in the Knights infield the past three seasons playing in 87 games. For her career, she has hit .274 with 61 hits, 23 RBIs, ten doubles, three triples, and two home runs. This season Phillips played in nine games producing four RBIs on five hits (two doubles) and scoring three runs. She set a season-high two RBIs in her last game of the 2020 season against Bridgewater going 1-for-3 with a walk. Phillips' recorded a career-high .337 batting average with 34 hits, ten RBIs, five doubles, and two triples her freshman season. She set a career-best four hits in the 2018 season in the Knights win at Trinity (D.C.). She was one of two Southern Virginia players to earn the prestigious 2019 Easton/NFCA All-American Scholar-Athletes. Phillips is a business major and wants to pursue a career in project management or real estate development.
Mykala Johnson played in 111 games for Southern Virginia, totaling 83 hits, 46 RBIs, 16 doubles, seven home runs, five triples, and a .279 batting average. Johnson appeared in 11 games this season, collecting nine hits, three doubles, two RBIs and scored four runs while batting .273. She recorded a season-high 2-for-4 with one double and an RBI in both of the Knights' victories this season. In her second season, Johnson hit .347 at the plate with 26 hits and tied for second on the team with two homers. She also set single-game career-highs with four hits and four RBIs at Trinity (D.C.). Her freshman season, the Fredericksburg, Virginia, native ended the season second on the team with a .303 batting average and 15 RBIs. Johnson will graduate with a degree in family and human development and works with a non-profit organization as a skills coach/case manager. She will be starting graduate school in a year.
Megan Daniels closed out an impressive career on the mound for the Knights, making 91 appearances, accumulating 447 innings pitched, 57 complete games, and 262 strikeouts, all current program Division III era records. She also earned a 4.53 ERA in her four seasons. Daniels is one of two Knights to ever earn All-CAC honors after being named to the All-CAC Second Team last season leading the CAC in appearances (32), innings pitched (150.1) and third in strikeouts (78). The Buena Vista, Virginia, native also earned the prestigious 2019 Easton/NFCA All-American Scholar-Athletes award. This season, Daniels tossed 50 innings, collected 25 punchouts, and posted a 3.92 ERA. She notched a season-high five strikeouts in five innings in the win against Shenandoah. She set a career-highs her sophomore season for the Knights with an 11-11 record, 3.71 ERA and 83 strikeouts (fourth in the CAC). Daniels is a psychology major and will be moving to Utah to attend graduate school for school counseling. She will also begin working at a middle school as an intern school counselor.