Pitchers and catchers combined to claim nine of the last 10 Player of the Year awards, including back-to-back honors for University’s Penny Nichols.
Pitchers and catchers dominated the Volusia/Flagler softball scene during the last decade.
The Daytona Beach News-Journal handed nine of its last 10 Player of the Year awards to athletes in the battery. All nine of those players secured spots on the All-Decade team for the 2010s.
However, there was no shortage of talented infielders and outfielders, either. Each of the eight selections, including the roster’s lone utility spot, made multiple All-Area first teams.
Here is the full list:
P — Ashley Appell, Spruce Creek (Class of 2017)
Kicking off the list, Appell recorded back-to-back 200-strikeout seasons, pitched the Hawks into the Elite Eight twice and took home News-Journal Player of the Year honors in 2016. That season, her junior year, she tossed four no-hitters, led the area with 241 Ks and sported a 0.84 ERA with 12 shutouts. Appell signed with Seminole State College and later transferred to Southeastern, an NAIA program in Lakeland.
P — Lovina Capria, Deltona (Class of 2017)
Commanding the circle for the Wolves in four consecutive years, Capria improved with every campaign. Between her freshman and senior seasons, the 6-foot right-hander lowered her ERA by more than a run and a half (1.97 in 2014, 0.43 in 2017). Named Player of the Year in ’17, the UMass Lowell signee won a career-high 20 games and struck out 192 batters in 154 innings.
P — Tiana Hernandez, Spruce Creek (Class of 2019)
The most recent Player of the Year selection, due the cancellation of the 2020 softball season due to COVID-19, Hernandez tied hitters up in knots with her screwball. She fought through a hamstring injury during the preseason of her senior year to go 11-1 with a 1.13 ERA and 68 strikeouts in 62 regular-season innings. At the plate, the Florida Southern signee bashed five home runs with a .423 average. Hernandez twice earned All-Area first team accolades, doing so for Flagler Palm Coast as a junior.