FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — A program-record five members of the No. 4 Arkansas softball team were named National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-Americans, the organization announced Wednesday.
Seniors Danielle Gibson, KB Sides and Linnie Malkin and sophomore Hannah Gammill earned First Team accolades to cap off another record-setting postseason awards haul for the Razorbacks. Junior Chenise Delce captured Second Team honors.
Arkansas and No. 1 Oklahoma led the way with five honors each. The Hogs’ four first team honors are the most by an SEC program since 2006, when Tennessee claimed five First Team distinctions.
Prior to 2022, Braxton Burnside (2021, First Team), Mary Haff (2021, First Team), Danielle Gibson (2021, Second Team), Autumn Storms (2019, Second Team) and Miranda Dixon (2010, Third Team) were the only Razorbacks to garner All-American status.
Nine of the program’s 10 All-American awards have been accumulated under head coach Courtney Deifel.
Collecting her second All-American honor, Danielle Gibson set single-season school records in batting average (.445), hits (81), RBI (70) and total bases (155). She was previously selected as a Top 10 Finalist for USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year along with racking up NFCA First Team All-South Region, First Team All-SEC and SEC All-Defensive team honors. The Murrieta, Calif., native’s 70 RBIs and 155 total bases paced the SEC and her 81 hits currently tie for most by a conference player during the 2022 season. Gibson led the SEC in RBI (33) and total bases (65) during conference play while tying for first with 10 home runs and ranking second in hits with 32. Piecing together a team-best 26 multi-hit games, Gibson powered a dangerous Razorback offense. Gibson became Arkansas’ all-time RBI and total bases leader during the 2022 season.
Sides added her first All-American recognition after stringing together a decorated senior season, becoming the first player in program history to receive SEC Player of the Year to go along with First Team All-SEC and NFCA All-South Region honors. Sides led the SEC during conference play in hits (34) and runs scored (27) while ranking second in batting average (.453), on base percentage (.543), total bases (64) and third in slugging percentage (.853). Sides capped her 2022 season by setting a program single-season record in runs scored with 67 and the second-most stolen bases with 28. Sides’ .389 batting average is the second highest in single-season program history.
Linnie Malkin grabbed her first All-American accolade after putting together a dominant season at the dish. Malkin guided Arkansas with a team-high 22 home runs – the second most in single-season program history and second-most by an SEC player in 2022. The Broomfield, Colo., product finished her season ranked second in the nation in RBI per game (1.40) and fourth in home runs per game (0.46). Malkin and Gibson led the conference with 10 home runs during league play. Malkin sits at second in the SEC in slugging percentage (.870) and RBI (68). The slugger became Arkansas’ all-time home runs leader during the SEC Tournament against Ole Miss, registering the 48th of her career. Malkin energized the Hogs with a team-high 19 multi-RBI contests, bagged a 25-game reached base streak, tallied the second-highest single-season slugging percentage in program history (.870) and compiled the third-highest batting average in single-season program history (.384).
Hannah Gammill is the youngest Razorback to earn All-American honors. Gammill collected NFCA First Team All-South Region, First Team All-SEC and SEC All-Defensive Team accolades this season. The Beebe, Ark., product slashed .374/.781/.513, leading the Hogs in on base percentage. Gammill ranked seventh in the conference and third on the team in home runs with 18, which is tied for fourth-most in program history, while sitting at third in the conference in hit by pitch (20) and seventh in on base percentage. Gammill filed SEC Player of the Week honors on March 15 after going 6-for-6 at the plate against Liberty, Lehigh and Maryland in Virginia on March 10-11. Gammill’s .513 on base percentage is the fifth-highest in program history. Gammill was hit by pitches a program-record 20 times this season.
Chenise Delce (19-3) picks up her first All-American distinction after her outstanding performance in the circle this season. The Oklahoma, Okla., native became the second-consecutive Razorback to obtain SEC Pitcher of the Year. Delce documented one of the most-decorated seasons by a Razorback pitcher, being named First Team All-SEC, MVP of the SEC Tournament, SEC Pitcher of the Week twice, Softball American’s Pitcher of the Month twice and NFCA National Pitcher of the Week on April 26. Dominating conference play, Delce posted the second-lowest ERA (1.87) in the SEC while registering a conference-high three saves. Delce ranked second in conference play in wins (9) and opposing batting average (.207). The righthander led Arkansas with a 2.12 ERA, 188 strikeouts, 14 complete games and eight shutouts. In 40.2 innings pitched against then-ranked No. 17, Auburn, No. 12 Kentucky and No. 9 Florida, Delce surrendered just two earned runs. Delce ranked third in the SEC in strikeouts (84) and fourth in walks allowed (18) during league play.