June 19, 2013
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. --Four years in Tennessee Orange and White yields an incredible experience, transforming highly-touted teenagers into accomplished adults. The journey from recruiting class to senior class is a special one and, every now and then, there is a class that leaves its own mark on the program.
The 2013 Tennessee softball senior class of Melissa Brown, Raven Chavanne, Kat Dotson, Lauren Gibson, Whitney Hammond and Ivy Renfroe enjoyed one of the most remarkable four-year stretches in team history, thriving both on and off the field. The group went 202-53 to post the fourth-best winning percentage in school history at .792 and featured beloved players who will remain in the hearts of the Lady Vol softball family for years to come.
Brown, Chavanne, Dotson, Gibson, Hammond and Renfroe became just the third class to make three Women's College World Series appearances (2010, 2012, 2013), joining the Class of 2007 and the Class of 2008. The Class of 2013's 23 NCAA Tournament wins are third behind only the Class of 2008's 28 and the Class of 2007's 27.
The 200-win mark speaks volumes as it means that the group averaged at least 50 wins per season. Over the last nine years, Tennessee has been fortunate to have seven senior classes win over 200 games: the Lady Vol seniors from 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2013.
The Class of 2013 also made its mark in the Tennessee records.
Chavanne completed her incredible UT career as the school's all-time leader in batting average (.442), runs (244), on-base percentage (.509) and stolen bases (143). She was a four-time All-American and a three-time first-team pick (2011, 2012, 2013). She is also second all-time in hits (355), tied for fourth in walks (101), fifth in at-bats (803), fifth in total bases (435), fifth in triples (11), eighth in sacrifice hits (24) and in ninth in slugging percentage (.542). Chavanne and Monica Abbott (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007) are the only four-time All-Americans in Tennessee softball history.
Gibson's 19 home runs in 2013 set a new Tennessee single-season record. She finished her career ranked in the in the top 3 of many Tennessee offensive categories. Gibson is second in career home runs (46), tied for second in times hit by a pitch (30), third in RBIs (216), third in walks (137), tied for third slugging percentage (.644) and tied for third in on-base percentage (.484). The Pasadena, Md., native is fourth in total bases (437), also fifth in runs (188), tied for eighth in doubles (42), ninth in stolen bases (46). Gibson also hit three home runs in a 15-5, six-inning rout of Ole Miss on April 20 to set a new UT single-game record. Her nine RBIs in that win also tied a single-game record set by Dotson in 2011. Gibson was the 2013 SEC Player of the Year, joining India Chiles (2007) and Tonya Callahan (2008) as the only Lady Vols to win the award. She was also a three-time, first-team NFCA All-American (2011, 2012, 2013). Gibson became the fifth Lady Vol to be named a three-time All-American, joining Abbott (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007), Chavanne (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013), Callahan (2006, 2007, 2008) and Lindsay Schutzler (2005, 2006, 2007).
Dotson completed her UT career in the top 10 in various categories. She is first in times hit by a pitch (34), second in triples (13), fourth in on-base percentage (.460), fifth in stolen bases (90), sixth in RBIs (165), tied for sixth in walks (99), seventh in runs (185), tied for eighth in total bases (372) and ninth in hits (263). Dotson set the single-game RBI record at nine, which Gibson tied this year, against Tennessee State on March 15, 2011. Dotson's 2011 sophomore year when she hit .401 with 10 homers, 64 RBIs, eight doubles and four triples to go with 26 stolen bases and a 1.135 OPS will endure as one of the most impressive individual seasons by a Lady Vol. Dotson was steady from start to finish, clutch in key moments and possessed a rare combination of speed and power - those traits made her an indispensable fixture in the Tennessee lineup.
Renfroe concluded her time in the Orange and White as one of the most accomplished pitchers in Tennessee history. She ranks second all-time in wins (97) and appearances (175) and stands third in strikeouts (737), shutouts (28) and starts (115). Her 55 complete games are fifth-most in UT history and her 2.04 career ERA ranks seventh. Renfroe's steady progression through the years was outstanding and reflected in her ERAs, which dropped from 2.41 to 2.07 to 1.80 to 1.77. Her presence was felt most in the postseason as she compiled a remarkable 18-5 record in NCAA Tournament games and served as a workhorse in the circle during Tennessee's WCWS runs in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Brown and Hammond were strong players and vital team leaders. Brown, who played every position except pitcher, possessed a steady bat in the lineup and a sure glove wherever she stood on the field. Her ability to adapt to the situation and willingness to help the team in whatever role it needed her contributed greatly to the success of the team. Hammond's selfless attitude and leadership behind the scenes as a team captain were key elements to the team's success these last four years. As a baserunner, she was smart, fast and able to rise to the occasion. In UT's 1-0 win over Washington in the Women's College World Series, Hammond displayed heads-up baserunning to advance to third on failed pickoff attempt. She scored the winning run moments later.
The group was recognized for its kindness and commitment to serving others. Brown and Hammond stood out as leaders in community service during their Tennessee careers. Brown was named to the SEC Softball Community Service Team in 2012 and 2013 as a result of her outstanding work volunteering and interacting with members of the community. She was also the recipient of the Howard Aldmon Community Service Award at the 2013 Volscars.
In the classroom, all six seniors were named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll at some point in their careers. Brown, Chavanne and Hammond were all received Chancellor's Citations for Outstanding Scholarship. Chavanne was a three-time first-team Capital One Academic All-American (2011, 2012, 2013) and the 2013 Academic All-American of the Year for softball. Brown earned Academic All-District 3 First Team honors as a junior in 2012.
The Class of 2013 illustrates how the Tennessee student-athlete experience can be rewarding for both the school and the Lady Vols who proudly represent it.