LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The National Fastpitch Coaches Association announced the student-athletes chosen for this season’s NFCA Cal JC special awards on Thursday afternoon.
Palomar College’s India Caldwell and College of San Mateo’s Lafulafu Malepeai were named the TUCCI/NFCA Pitcher and Player of the Year, respectively. Ellison Hazlett of Palomar earned Diamond Sports/NFCA Catcher of the Year honors, while Sierra College’s Elianna Enriquez scored New Balance/NFCA Golden Shoe honors as Cal JC’s top base stealer.
Palomar (40-1) has lost just one game all season with Caldwell in the circle. The sophomore heads into this week’s California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) championship with a 27-1 record and a 0.66 ERA. She has completed 21 of her 27 starts with an CCCAA-leading 13 shutouts and also has recorded a save. For the season, Caldwell has 188 strikeouts and just 12 walks in 160 innings pitched. Her wins rank second in the CCCAA and she is third in strikeouts per game (8.22).
Meanwhile, Malepeai is first in three CCCAA offensive categories (runs, walks and slugging percentage), second in two others (home runs and on-base percentage) and third in total bases, as San Mateo (37-7) also heads to the state championship site. Malepeai is hitting .500 with a CCCAA-leading 59 runs, 60 hits, 11 doubles, six triples, 15 homers and 46 RBI. The sophomore outfielder leads all Cal JC players with 29 walks, is slugging 1.067, has a .592 on-base average and a perfect fielding percentage. Malepeai has also stolen 27 bases in 28 attempts.
Sophomore Hazlett helps power Palomar’s CCCAA-leading offense (.400 team average) while also shining behind the plate. She is batting .404 with 25 runs, six doubles, two triples, 35 RBI, 55 total bases and a .529 slugging percentage. On defense, Hazlett has thrown out 31 percent of runners attempting to steal and has just one passed ball and two errors all season, leading to a .993 fielding average.
Speedy sophomore shortstop Enriquez is the top threat for Sierra (42-3) at the plate and on the basepaths. She leads the Wolverines into the CCCAA championship hitting .527 with 52 runs, an CCCAA-leading 79 hits, five doubles, five triples, a homer, 15 walks and just four strikeouts in 170 plate appearances. Enriquez leads all Cal JC players with 41 steals in 44 attempts.
All four student-athletes earned NFCA Cal JC All-America honors last week — Malepeai and Enriquez in the North Region, and Caldwell and Hazlett in the South.
NFCA Cal JC All-America athletes must be nominated by their NFCA-member head coaches and are voted for by the coaches in their respective region. All special awards are selected and voted on by the full Cal JC head coaching membership.
Celebrating 40 years in 2023, the NFCA (National Fastpitch Coaches Association) is the professional organization for fastpitch softball coaches. Known for its vast library of digital education, the NFCA also educates and supports softball coaches on a variety of different levels: from podcasts to an extensive Awards & Scholarships platform, to NFCA Webinars and a National Convention.