FRISCO — Former Southland Conference Player and Hitter of the Year Jessica Rogers was named the circuit’s All-Time Hitter on Thursday as part of the league’s year-long 50th anniversary celebration.
Rogers, a four-year letterwinner from 2004-07, is one of only 11 players to earn first-team All-Southland honors four times and she owns league records for home runs in a single season (23) and career (69), single-season (64) and career (192) RBIs, as well as career total bases (525). In addition to her conference marks, she is UTSA’s all-time leader in runs scored (159), hits (281) and extra-base hits (104) and set school standards with three home runs and 13 total bases against Nicholls on March 24, 2007.
Rogers was named the league’s Player and Hitter of the Year in 2005 and she also earned second-team National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-South Region accolades after being named to the region’s top squad in 2004.
The Grand Prairie native helped the Roadrunners to three consecutive Southland Regular Season Championships from 2004-06 and to the school’s only NCAA Tournament berths in 2004 and 2006 following conference tournament crowns. Rogers also aided UTSA to a school-record 42 wins in 2005 and she was a driving force behind the Birds leading the nation in home runs from 2004-06.
Not only did Rogers excel on the field, but she also was a standout in the classroom,. She was named a first-team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American as a sophomore and was a third-teamer two years later. A three-time first-team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District VI selection, she was named Southland Student-Athlete of the Year three times and was one of 20 national finalists for the 2007 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award. Rogers also was an eight-time UTSA Dean’s List honoree.
She had her No. 29 jersey retired in 2008 and is one of just two players in program history to receive that prestigious honor.
"Jessica is one of the best, if not the best, offensive players I've ever had the privilege of coaching," said Michelle Cheatham, who just wrapped up her eighth season as a member of UTSA's coaching staff. "She could hit for power to all fields and was the player you wanted at the plate in key situations. Jessica was a team leader who had a great competitive drive to win."
Joining Rogers as members of the All-Time Team are Samantha Elliott, Jessica Els, Krystal Gibson, Amanda Michalsky, Aimee Murray, Leanne Risberg and Shannon Steadman.
Elliott was a four-year letterwinner from 1992-95 and she earned back-to-back first-team all-conference laurels in her final two seasons. The second baseman was a member of UTSA’s inaugural softball team under head coach Chickie Mason in 1992 and she still ranks eighth on the school’s career stolen bases charts with 21.
Els donned a UTSA uniform from 2003-06 and earned first-team All-Southland honors in her final two campaigns. The catcher led the league in slugging (.718) during her senior year in 2006. Els capped that season by leading the Roadrunners to their second Southland Tournament Championship and she was named the event’s Most Valuable Player. Els ranks in the school’s all-time top 10 in doubles (sixth/37), hits (seventh/209), batting average (eighth/.326), RBIs (eighth/109), home runs (ninth/30) and extra-base hits (ninth/53).
Gibson was a four-year letterwinner from 2002-05 and was a two-time first-team all-conference selection at first base from 2003-04. She earned NFCA second-team All-South Region honors in 2003 after leading the team in six hitting categories, including batting average (.373), hits (63), doubles (14), slugging percentage (.651), total bases (110) and on-base percentage (.448). The following season, Gibson hit .345 and helped UTSA to its first-ever Southland Tournament Championship and NCAA Tournament appearance.
Michalsky played from 1997-2000 and she became the first player in program annals to have her jersey retired, No. 6 in 2001. The outfielder earned Southland Player of the Year and second-team All-America honors in 1999 before finishing her career with another first-team selection the following season. In 1999, she led the nation in hitting with a .541 average, which still stands as a single-season school and Southland record. Michalsky also owns five other school single-season records and a pair of career marks, including batting average (.394) and doubles (46).
Murray lettered from 2004-07 and earned a pair of all-conference nods following her first two seasons. The shortstop was tabbed the 2004 Southland Freshman of the Year after batting .338 with 11 homers, 10 doubles and a UTSA freshman-record 41 RBIs. She was named to the 2004 Southland All-Tournament Team after helping the Roadrunners to their first conference tournament crown. Murray also was a part of three consecutive regular-season titles from 2004-06. She ranks among the top 10 in eight offensive categories at UTSA, including second behind Rogers with 158 RBIs.
Risberg was a four-year letterwinner from 2006-09 and she earned first-team all-conference laurels in 2007 and again in '09. The outfielder hit .317 in 2007 with a team-leading 11 doubles to go along with 15 homers and 42 RBIs. She ranks eighth on UTSA’s career home runs chart with 31, while her 56 extra-base hits rank seventh.
Steadman lettered from 1993-96 and was part of the first class of Roadrunners to play their entire career in the Southland. She earned the conference’s Newcomer of the Year award in 1993 after hitting .333 with a half dozen doubles, one long ball and 17 RBIs. The outfielder was tabbed first-team all conference the following season and again as a senior when she hit .351 with 12 doubles, three triples, four home runs and 22 RBIs. Her seven career triples rank second on UTSA’s charts.