Brenau pitcher Eli Daniel
Brenau pitcher Eli Daniel, a freshman from Locust Grove, Ga., pitches during a game against Coastal Georgia in the SSAC conference softball tournament. Brenau won 5-2. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Golden Tiger Eli Daniel Named National Pitcher of the Year

Jun 5, 2017
Kris Stewart

Brenau University softball pitcher Kathleen “Eli” Daniel was recognized as the 2017 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Pitcher of the Year, the national office announced Friday, June 2.

According to Golden Tigers head coach Devon Thomas, the honor is well-deserved.

“Daniel had an amazing freshman season,” Thomas said. “Her determination and love for the game as a pitcher is what every coach hopes for. She is a great young lady, and I am honored to say that I was able to see her break records both nationally and here at Brenau. I am looking forward to her continued success on the diamond and in the classroom.”

Daniel earned National Pitcher of the Year and first-team All-American honors after her stellar freshman campaign, highlighted by her 579 strikeouts, which eclipsed the NAIA national record for most batters struck out in a single season previously held by Oklahoma City’s Lilly LaVelle set in 1988 (540). The freshman hurler surpassed the record in the opening round of the NAIA World Series by striking out 13 of the 15 batters faced against Edward Waters (Florida) College in a 5-0 victory.

The Locust Grove, Georgia, native finished the season ranked first nationally in five statistical categories: wins (43), opponents’ batting average (0.129), hits allowed per game (3.02), earned-run average (0.560) and total innings pitched (327).

In her first season, Daniel posted a 43-4 individual record to help the team earn a program-best 52-7 record and No. 2 national ranking.

Daniel is the third Brenau softball player to attain first-team All-American honors following 2011 honorees Tiffany Schandera and Jenny Shepard. Golden Tiger standouts Elizabeth Schneider (2013), Anna Maness (2011) and Cassie Lassiter (2009) also received honorable-mention All-American honors during their careers.

First-, second- and third-team All-Americans are selected by the NAIA All-American committee. For more information about Brenau athletics, go to