HANCEVILLE – Wallace State softball sophomore Kori Benson was named a National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) 2nd-team All-American on Wednesday, putting a lid on a stellar two-year career she had with the Lady Lions.
Benson, an Oak Grove native, leaves Wallace State as the program’s all-time leading home run hitter and as a NJCAA Division I national champion. She cranked 38 homers over a two-year span, including setting a single-season mark with 23 homers in 2013.
After being a huge part of Wallace State’s national championship team in 2013, Benson followed it this season with a team-high .445 average, 15 homers and 50 RBIs. She added 12 doubles and slugged .787. Benson was third in the conference in homers and fourth in average.
Benson was relegated to designated player duties for a strong portion of the season because of an ailing back, yet still maintained a top leadership role on the team.
“We couldn’t have accomplished what we did the past two years without Kori’s contributions. She’s set a home run record here that may never be broken. She was hurt all season, but she still hit for a higher average than she did as a freshman. Kori was determined to play through the injury all season,” said Wallace State coach Jayne Clem, an 11-time ACCC Coach of the Year. “We are definitely going to miss her leadership on and off the field.”
Benson and Madeline Lee were the lone returners in the lineup this season from the 2013 national championship squad. The Lady Lions finished the season with a 44-26 record, winning their 9th consecutive Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC) North Division title. The Lady Lions earned a top seed at the conference tournament, but fell short of making the national tournament for only the third time since 2003.
As a freshman in 2013, Benson put together one of the best individual seasons for a Wallace State softball player as the Lady Lions won the program’s second national title and eighth state championship. She had a .352 average and 69 RBIs to go along with her 23 homers and also racked up the postseason awards, earning the 2013 NJCAA national tournament defensive MVP, a NFCA All-American nod and the ACCC/Region 22 state tournament MVP trophy.
Benson has signed to play with Shorter University, located in Rome, Ga., next season.
Benson’s selection as an NJCAA All-American marks the third consecutive season a Lady Lion has earned 2nd-team honors or better.
For more information about Wallace State athletics, visit wallacestate.edu.
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