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Courtesy: GoBearkats.com
Record-breaking 2012 season
Courtesy: GoBearkats.com
Release: 05/16/2012
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There's no doubt that the 2012 Sam Houston State softball season was one to go down in the record books.

Predicted to finish eighth in the Southland Conference preseason poll of the league's head coaches, Sam Houston started the year 1-13 after facing a schedule that included nationally ranked teams like Texas, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Houston.

But the never-say-die Bearkats came back to win 25 of their next 29 games. During that string of success, Sam Houston put together an eight-game winning streak, longest for SHSU softball since 2005.

Proving the forecasters wrong, the softball team was playing for a share of the title the last weekend of the season and ended the year as the league runner-up and No. 2 seed at the post-season tournament.

Sam Houston just missed tournament berths in 2010 and 2011 and, with their highest seed since 2007, appeared headed for an early exit after a loss to McNeese State in their first game in San Antonio.

The Bearkats never quit as they fought back through 26 innings of action on a long Saturday to defeat Central Arkansas, A&M-Corpus Christi and McNeese State to earn a spot in the tournament finals.

The team was rewarded for their efforts by equaling a school record for All-Southland Conference selections with eight. Only the 1993 Southland Conference champion Bearkats that went on to win the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) title equaled that mark.

Kim Damian, Shelbi Tucker and Tori Benavidez were first team all-league selections with Damian being named as Southland Conference "Hitter of the Year."  Catcher Hillary Adams, one of only seven freshmen to be named all-conference, was a second team honoree for Sam Houston.

Shortstop Sarah Allison and designated player Ashley Isbell were named to the third team and pitchers Tomi Garrison and Shelby Lancaster were honorable mention selections.

When Garrison, Isbell and Damian were voted to the Southland  All-Tournament team Sunday after the Bearkats reached the finals, the selections marked the most all-tournament players in one year since 2005.

On April 18, in a road doubleheader victory during the Bearkats' amazing 25-4 run, head coach Bob Brock reached a career milestone as he became the 22nd head coach in NCAA Division I softball history to amass 1,000 victories.

Sam Houston's 29 victories during the 2012 season were the most wins for the softball program since 2008 and the regular season runner-up finish was the team's best since 2007.

The Bearkats' game with Texas State on the final day in San Antonio marked Sam Houston's fourth time to reach the Southland post-season finals.

The team chalked up several highlights for the Bearkat softball record book.

Sam Houston's 50 home runs this year led the Southland Conference and broke the school record for most homers in a season (33 in 2005).

Damian tied the school mark for most home runs in a season set by Heather Robinson in 1992. Both players totaled 11 home runs. Tucker's 10 home runs this year is the second highest Bearkat total.

Damian now owns a .317 career batting average, the 11th best in school history. Tucker has produced 16 career home runs, the fourth highest Kat total. Robinson holds the career record with 19.

Garrison completed her career in the pitching circle with 35 victories and six saves to rank tenth and sixth in the SHSU all-time standings, respectively.

Garrison had a streak of 22 scoreless innings in the circle this spring which ranks as the sixth longest in Bearkat annals.

Shelby Lancaster did not allow Southeastern Louisiana a hit for the 22nd no-hitter at Sam Houston. Both Lancaster and Garrison pitched one-hitters as well.

With 17 of the 22 players on the 2012 roster returning in 2013, the outlook is bright for the Bearkat softball program.

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