Whatever dreams Jonathan Fincher and Steele Netterville carried with them from Line Avenue and C.E. Byrd High School to Louisiana Tech, it’s a lock they never imagined being mentioned in the same sentence with Kim Mulkey.
Forever more, they will be.
Fincher, a junior left-handed pitcher, and Netterville, a senior outfielder, have earned Academic All-America honors for the second time, the College Sports Information Directors of America has announced.
They join Mulkey and two other former Tech scholar-athletes, Paige England and Katie Sloan, as having won Academic All-America recognition at least twice.
Next spring, Fincher can match Mulkey’s remarkable feat of winning Academic All-America in three different seasons.
When COSIDA released the 2022 Academic All-America Division I baseball roster, the Tech tandem was among six scholar-athletes who were repeat picks from 2021.
They have both earned undergraduate degrees in biology. Fincher, who has a year of eligibility left for the Bulldogs, had a 3.90 GPA while Netterville, headed to LSU Health Sciences medical school in the fall, finished with a 3.93. They are pursuing second degrees in kinesiology and health sciences.
The former Yellow Jackets helped the Bulldogs finish 43-21 with a Conference USA Tournament championship, and were key parts of a program that reached an NCAA Regional for a second straight year. The Bulldogs swept LSU this season and went 20-10 in CUSA regular-season play, finishing second to nationally-ranked Southern Miss.
Fincher posted Tech’s second-best earned run average (3.52) while going 8-2, making 14 starts and 19 appearances. He threw 79.1 innings and struck out 73. He led the team in wins.
Netterville was third on the squad with a .313 batting average and delivered 15 doubles, breaking the school career mark near the end of the regular season, along with 15 home runs and 67 RBI, both second among the Bulldogs this spring.
England, a softball standout, made second-team Academic All-America in 1998 and first-team in 1999.
Sloan, who starred in soccer, was a third-team pick in 2015 and a first-team selection a year later.
Mulkey was a third-team choice as a sophomore, then first team in her final two seasons playing for the Lady Techsters.
Fincher and Netterville were second-team choices this year. Netterville was a first-team selection in 2021 and Fincher made the Academic AA third team in his sophomore season.
Voting is done by sports information/media relations/athletic communications personnel at the Division I athletic programs nationally, after voters in eight regions choose all-district teams. First-team all-district selections advance to the national ballot.
Fincher and Netterville are among 20 Tech scholar-athletes all-time to earn the prestigious distinction.
Photo by TOM MORRIS, Louisiana Tech