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APSU Softball’s Jordan Benefiel named OVC Freshman of the Year, Lexi Osowski, Kelsey Gross receive ALL-OVC Honors

APSU SoftballBrentwood, TN – Pitcher Jordan Benefiel became the fourth Austin Peay State University (APSU) softball player to be named the Ohio Valley Conference Freshman of the Year, the league announced Wednesday, May 12th.

Austin Peay State University Softball's Jordan Benefiel named OVC Freshman of the Year, Lexi Osowski First Team All-OVC, Kelsey Gross Second Team All-OVC. (APSU Sports Information)

In addition to claiming the league’s top first-year honor, Benefiel was also selected to the All-OVC Second Team and All-OVC Newcomers Team, as one of three Governors softball athletes named to the 2021 All-OVC teams – with junior third baseman Lexi Osowski earning All-OVC First-Team honors and senior pitcher/first baseman Kelsey Gross being selected to the All-OVC Second Team. 

With the selection as OVC Freshman of the Year, Benefiel joins her current teammate Bailey Shorter (2018) as well as Danielle Liermann (2016) and Lori McCoy (2003) as APSU recipients of the honor, tying Eastern Kentucky, Tennessee Tech, and UT Martin for the most Freshman of the Year selections from a conference team. 

Benefiel, from Pendleton, Indiana, had an impressive freshman campaign, despite missing a month of the season with a lower-body injury, posting an 8-6 record in 16 appearances, with a 1.70 ERA and 77 strikeouts in 78.1 innings pitched. She also recorded three shutouts – tying the program’s freshman single-season record – and one save all the while holding opposing hitters to a .201 batting average. 

Osowski, from San Diego, California, earns her first First-Team All-OVC honor after being named Second-Team All-OVC in 2019. This season, she led all OVC hitters with a .433 batting average, while also recording a .633 slugging percentage, a .478 on-base percentage, scoring 34 runs and driving in 26. Osowski also had a 13-game hit streak this season, the third-longest by a Govs in the last 22 years, while her batting average ranks 32nd for all NCAA Division I hitters. 

Gross, from Collierville, Tennessee, earned her first All-OVC season honor with her Second-Team selection as a utility/designated player, having 35 starts at first base and 22 appearances in the circle – including six starts. 

Offensively, Gross batted .292 with seven doubles, two triples, five home runs, and 41 runs batted in. The 41 RBIs ranked fourth in the OVC this season and marked just the fourth time, by three players, that a Governor has driven in at least 40 runs in a single season. 

In the circle, Gross led the team with a 9-2 record while posting a 2.08 ERA, two shutouts, four saves, 52 strikeouts in 77.1 innings pitched, and an opponent batting average of .222. She is tied for the conference lead in saves while ranking fourth in ERA, seventh in wins, and eighth in opponents’ batting average.  

2021 Softball All-OVC Teams

First Team 

P – Rachel Rook, Southeast Missouri 

P – Alexis Groet, UT Martin 

P – Tori Peterson, Eastern Kentucky 

C – Zoe Mihalicz, Eastern Kentucky 

IF – Lexi Osowski, Austin Peay 

IF – Ashley Ellis, Southeast Missouri 

IF – Megan Burton, Eastern Illinois 

IF – Kaitlyn Kelley, UT Martin 

OF – Sammi Miller, Eastern Kentucky 

OF – Jada Terry, Jacksonville State 

OF – Rachel Anderson, Southeast Missouri 

UTIL/DP – Haley Mitchell, Eastern Illinois 



Second Team 

P – Nicole Rodriguez, Jacksonville State 

P – Jordan Benefiel, Austin Peay 

C – Nicolle Nysted, Tennessee Tech 

IF – Carly Robinson, Eastern Kentucky 

IF – Sierra Gilmore, Murray State 

IF – Zoe Schafer, SIU Edwardsville

IF – Alana Cobb-Adams, SIU Edwardsville

IF – Kaci Fuller, UT Martin 

OF – Cheyenne Cavanaugh, Belmont 

OF – Ava Bieneman, SIU Edwardsville

OF – Paige Clark, UT Martin 

UTIL/DP – Kelsey Gross, Austin Peay 



All-Newcomer Team 

Alexis Groet, P, UT Martin 

Jordan Benefiel, P, Austin Peay 

Kaitlyn Kelley, IF, UT Martin 

Jillian Anderson, OF, Southeast Missouri 

Kacie Fueller, IF, UT Martin 

Ava Bieneman, OF, SIU Edwardsville

Shyanne Sheffield, OF, UT Martin 

Katie Dreiling, DP, Southeast Missouri 

Jenna Veber, P, Murray State 

Nicolle Nysted, C, Tennessee Tech 

Morgan Lewis, OF, Eastern Illinois 

Sydney Baalman, P, SIU Edwardsville



2021 OVC Player of the Year: Megan Burton, Eastern Illinois 

2021 OVC Pitcher of the Year: Rachel Rook, Southeast Missouri 

2021 OVC Freshman of the Year: Jordan Benefiel, Austin Peay 

2021 OVC Coach of the Year: Mark Redburn, Southeast Missouri


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