The three finalists for Division II National Player of the Year have been announced. Kaitlyn Bannister of Alabama-Huntsville (UAH); Coley Ries of Minnesota State; and Lyndsay Butler of Wayne State have been named as finalists for the award.
Butler, who won the award in 2016, won her second straight Great Lake Valley Conference Player of the Year award this season after hitting .450 with seven home runs and thirty-nine RBI. Not just a hitter, Butler also boasts a 24-9 record in the circle for the Warriors and holds a Division II-leading 0.61 ERA and more than 200 strikeouts.
Bannister has two conference Player of the Year awards herself, coming out of the Gulf Court Conference, and leads all of Division II with seventy-one RBI on the year. Her .482 batting average set a new UAH program record, while she also amassed a .906 slugging percentage and twenty-one home runs.
Ries leads the NCAA with 403 strikeouts and averages twelve KOs per seven innings. She also boasts thirty-four wins on the season, as well as a 0.89 ERA. Opponents have hit just .143 against Ries, as she set program records for wins and strikeouts.
The award’s winner will be announced on May 24, Wednesday, at the Division 2 championship banquet. The award is in its third year of existence, after being created in 2015 to mimic the similar award at the Division 1 level.