NFCA Announces 2010 Diamond Sports Catchers of the Year
By Johnny Miller
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The National Fastpitch Coaches Association and Diamond Sports have announced the ten student-athletes who are the recipients of the 2010 Diamond Sports Catcher of the Year award.
The Diamond Sports Catcher of the Year award is presented annually to the top catcher from an NFCA member institution in each of the following divisions: NCAA (Divisions I, II and III), NAIA, NJCAA (Divisions I, II and III), Cal JC, NWAACC and high school.
A committee comprised of head coaches in each of the 10 divisions determines the winner of their respective award. The winners of the 2010 Diamond Sports Catcher of the Year award are as follows:
NCAA Division I Chelsea Bramlett, Mississippi State University With her selection this season, Bramlett has now won the last three Diamond Catcher of the Year awards. She ended her record-breaking career as Bulldog by batting .536 on the year, the second-highest average in all of Division I. In addition to throwing out a career-high 21 base stealers in 2010, the four-time Louisville Slugger NFCA First Team All-American also stole a NCAA-leading 61 bases. For her work on the base paths this season she earned the 2010 adidas Golden Shoe, marking the second straight year she has won both the adidas Golden Shoe and Diamond Sports Catcher of the Year awards
NCAA Division II Alyssa Shirey, Valdosta State University Shirey helped guide the Blazers all the way to the National Championship game this season by hitting .432 and finished the year with one of the best slugging percentages in all of Division II at 0.814. Behind the plate, she threw out nine of 26 base runners, while in front of the plate she hit 20 home runs, the fourth most in Division II.
NCAA Division III Tiffany Kruse, Luther College Kruse started all 49 games for the Norse in 2010 and helped guide them to 42-7 record and a National Championship appearance. Kruse was an offensive force for Luther this season, leading the team in RBIs, home runs and stolen bases with 58, 18 and 14, respectively. Her 18 home runs was not only a school single-season record, but it was also the third most in all of Division III. Behind the plate, Kruse was equally as dangerous, throwing out nine of 23 would-be base stealers.
NAIA Brittney Fisher, Bethel College (Ind.) Fisher helped lead the Pilots to the schoolâ€™s first-ever NAIA quarterfinal appearance this season by batting .404 on the year. By blasting 11 home runs, Fisher finished the season ranked 39th amongst all NAIA players. As a catcher, she played a key part in the Pilotsâ€™ deep run into the national tournament by throwing out 11 of 20 runners in 2010.
NJCAA Division I Cyd Allen, Salt Lake Community College Allen helped lead the Bruins to a top six finish at the national tournament by going 90-for-173 on the year for an astounding batting average of .520, the fourth best in NJCAA Division I. She also drove in a division leading 91 runs, while hitting for extra bases 33 times. On the field, Allen committed just four errors in 428 chances for Salt Lake, in addition to throwing out 12 of 27 base stealers.
NJCAA Division II Ashley Heiberger, Iowa Lakes Community College Heiberger was a major factor in the Lakersâ€™ third place national finish in 2010, due in large part to her 39 extra base hits, 53 stolen bases and NJCAA Division II leading 101 RBIs. Behind the plate this season, Heiberger committed only four errors on 472 chances for a fielding percentage of .992, ranking her in the top 20 nationally.
NJCAA Division III Val Karas, Joliet Junior College Karas hit .396 the season for the Lady Wolves with 57 RBIs, 42 runs, 13 home runs and 13 doubles. She also played a key role as catcher and helped lead Joliet to third place at the Region IV tournament.
Cal JC Adriana Perez, Antelope Valley College Perez was the top hitter in Cal JC this season with a batting average of .575 to go along with 15 home runs and 58 RBIs. As catcher, Perez helped lead the Marauders to the state tournament and a sixth-straight Foothills Conference crown by committing just three errors in 209 chances and throwing out 16 of 29 base runners from behind the dish.
NWAACC Shaila Rivers, Walla Walla Community College Rivers helped lead the Warriors to a league tournament berth this season by coming up big at the plate with a .417 batting average to go along with 15 doubles and 33 RBIs.
High School Sarah Mooney, North Mecklenburg High School (N.C.) Mooney was an integral component of the Vikingâ€™s state tournament run this year, hitting an astounding .605 for the season while driving in 40 runs and scoring 42 of her own. The James Madison commitment also showed power from the plate in 2010 by hitting 27 extra-base hits, including 10 home runs, for a slugging percentage of 1.222. From behind the plate, Mooney was nearly flawless, throwing out 15 of 30 base runners and ending the year with no errors in 209 chances.