STARKVILLE, Miss. (UTLadyVols.com) – Tennessee Lady Vol senior Tonya Callahan reaped UT softball’s 15th All-American nod, all since 2004, and her third overall career selection by being chosen on Wednesday as one of 18 members of the 2008 Louisville Slugger/National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-America First Team.
Callahan was previously lauded as a NFCA First Team All-American in 2006 and a second team choice following her 2007 campaign. The 5-8 third baseman joins Big Orange alums Monica Abbott (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007), Kristi Durant (2005, 2006), Sarah Fekete (2005, 2006), Lindsay Schutzler (2005, 2006, 2007) and India Chiles (2007) in forming an impressive list of six Lady Vols who have earned All-American honors. Every selection in program history has occurred under the tutelage of co-head coaches Ralph and Karen Weekly, who arrived to helm Tennessee prior to the 2002 season.
A top-three finalist for the 2008 USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year trophy, a three-time first-team NFCA All-South Region choice (2006, 2007, 2008) as well as the 2008 SEC Player of the Year and a three-time first-team All-SEC selection (2006, 2007, 2008), Callahan continued her amazing production for the Lady Vols this season by leading the league in batting average (.465), slugging percentage (.854) and on base percentage (.630) while rating second in home runs (16) and RBIs (62). The Holden, Mo., native guided her squad in all those offensive categories while committing just five errors in 66 games at third base, tallying an outstanding .979 fielding percentage. She posted her incredible numbers despite drawing an SEC single-season record 62 walks, including 21 intentional free passes to rate fourth on the all-time NCAA Division I single-season list. She completed her stay at Rocky Top as the UT career leader in home runs (51), RBIs (241), total bases (492), walks (154), slugging percentage (.646) and on-base percentage (.487) while tying for third in doubles (49) and rating eighth in batting average (.373) over the second most games played (289) by any Lady Vol in school history.
Callahan helped guide the 2008 version of the Tennessee softball team to a fifth consecutive 50-win season and the program’s fifth straight berth into the field of 64 for the annual NCAA Tournament.