Vinson wins national award, clinches Gold Glove

Published 1:59 pm Friday, June 9, 2023

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Every year, nine players are honored for their defensive skills. Across the more than 300 college and universities who compete in softball on an NCAA level, these are considered the top defensive players at each of their positions. For the 2023 season, one of those nine came from Longwood University.

Emily Vinson was named one of the nine winners of the Rawlings Gold Glove Award this week, chosen for the left field position. This is actually only the second year that Gold Glove Awards are handed out in softball. They’ve been a fixture in major and minor league baseball for decades, along with college baseball. Then in 2022, the National Fastpitch Coaches Association added it to the list for softball.

These awards are decided by the coaches’ association’s Division I All-American Committee, which held their annual meeting this week. Advanced fielding analytics, fielding statistics, strength of schedule and more are used to help decide the award winners.


And no one can deny that Vinson earned this award. The Elgin, South Carolina native made a mark in the outfield during her sophomore season. She posted a 1.000 fielding percentage on the year. That means in all of her 48 games played, she did not commit a single error.

Vinson starred for the Lancers during the Big South Championship earlier this month, batting .500 across five games while making several highlight defensive plays. Her most notable play came against Campbell in the championship final when she made an impressive turn-around throw to put-out the runner at second base.

While Vinson was a force defensively in the Big South, her status as an elite defensive player is cemented by the level of non-conference competition she played against. She started games against the likes of Oklahoma, Baylor, Florida State, and Duke while playing in a total of 18 games against teams within the top 75 of the RPI.


With this Gold Glove Award, Vinson becomes the first player from a non-high-major conference to earn this distinction from the NFCA and the only non-Power 5 recipient this year. She is also the first Longwood athlete to be recognized at the national level by the NFCA since Megan Baltzell and Brooke Short were named Division-I Second-Team All-Americans in 2013.

The sophomore earned this prestigious award following a season that saw the Lancers pick up two top-ten wins, a second straight 30+ win season, and a Big South regular season championship.