LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The National Fastpitch Coaches Association is proud to announce the 46 players chosen for the 2014 NFCA Division III All-America softball teams. Those selected are being honored tonight during the NCAA Division III Championship banquet at the Harvey Convention Center in Tyler, Texas.
The teams in the NFCA Division III Top 25 Poll are well represented, with unanimous No. 1 and defending national champion Tufts University and No. 4 ranked Salisbury accounting for one-third of the 15 first team selections. In all, 35 Division III schools are represented on the three All-America squads.
Overall, Salisbury and St. Thomas had the most players honored, with three apiece, while seven other schools — Tufts, No. 2-ranked Linfield, No. 3 Texas-Tyler, No. 6 East Texas Baptist, 15th-ranked Emory, 18th-ranked Lebanon Valley and Rochester (receiving votes category) — scored two selections each.
Tufts, Salisbury, East Texas Baptist, St. Thomas and Rochester are all competing in the double-elimination NCAA Championship, which begins on Thursday at Texas-Tyler’s Suddenlink Field. No. 7 Trine, No. 12 Montclair State and No. 20 Wisconsin-Whitewater (one All-America selection each) are the other teams that reached the Elite Eight.
Salisbury placed all three of its selections — pitcher Rachel Johnson, shortstop Kim Dorsey and designated player Paige Knussman — on the first team, while both of Tufts’ choices — pitcher Allyson Fournier and catcher Johanna Clair — also made the first team.
Junior right-hander Fournier, the 2013 NCAA Championship Most Outstanding Player and a first team All-America selection for the third straight year, is 23-0 with an NCAA-best 0.40 ERA, 275 strikeouts and just 18 walks this season for the (42-3) Jumbos. Her 2.29 hits and 12.4 strikeouts per seven innings also lead Division III. The South Windsor, Conn., native earned her third straight New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Pitcher of the Year nod and was also named to her third All-NESCAC first team, leading the league in wins, complete games, shutouts, strikeouts, earned-run average and lowest opponent batting average.
Her catcher, senior slugger Clair, has a Division III-leading 20 homers to go with a .442 average, 52 runs, 13 doubles and 61 runs batted in this season. The Glastonbury, Conn., native earned her first NESCAC Player of the Year award and fourth-straight first team all-conference nod after leading her league in runs scored, hits, homers, RBI, total bases and slugging percentage during one of the most prolific performances in school and conference history.
Junior right-hander Johnson, meanwhile, has a 25-2 record and 1.23 ERA heading into the NCAA Championship, including earning all five of the (40-3) Sea Gulls’ victories so far in the tournament. She set an NCAA Division III record with her five no-hitters this season, including three perfect games. The Preston, Md., native’s five career perfect games are also a Division III record. Johnson ranks second nationally in strikeouts (11.9) and hits allowed (2.95) this season, while her 249 strikeouts rate fourth, helping her win a second-straight Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) Player of the Year award. She was also a first team All-America pitcher last year.
Sophomore shortstop Dorsey has been a force on both sides of the ball in her first season as Salisbury’s infield anchor. The Baltimore, Md., native is batting .458 with a team-high 15 homers — which ranks sixth nationally — to accompany 60 runs, 13 doubles and 60 RBI. She leads her team in 11 offensive categories and is second in seven others, garnering All-CAC first team honors.
Sophomore designated player Knussman ranks fourth nationally in batting with a .561 average and is 14th in on-base percentage (.561) thanks to many teams pitching around her. The Easton, Md., native has collected 10 homers and 56 RBI and earned first team All-CAC honors for the second straight season.
The first team first baseman for the second consecutive year is Emory’s Megan Light, who batted .463 with 20 doubles and 65 RBI. The Atlanta, Ga., native’s 19 homers rank behind only Clair in Division III this season and her slugging percentage of .986 ranks fourth in the country.
Cynthia Hayes of Guilford College is the first team second baseman, after a season in which the senior hit .532 for the Quakers with 63 runs, 23 doubles, 29 RBI and 102 total bases. The Seagrove, N.C., native is the first player in school history to collect two first team NFCA All-Region selections and just the third Guilford player to earn three All-Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) awards, after leading the league in batting, on-base percentage, runs, hits and doubles.
The first team third baseman is Linfield College senior Ashley Garcia. She batted .406 this season with 12 doubles, six homers and 51 RBI. The Beaverton, Ore., native struck out just five times in 147 plate appearances and earned a spot on the All-Northwest Conference first team.
Virginia Wesleyan College’s Tori Higginbotham, Trine’s Carly Searles and Texas-Tyler’s Lauren Robenalt are the first team outfielders. Higginbotham and Searles were both first team outfielders a year ago.
Higginbotham hit a team-best .472 with nine doubles, four triples, seven homers, 47 RBI and 41 stolen bases this season. The Glen Allen, Va., native is a four-time All-Region honoree and the first player to win three consecutive ODAC Player of the Year awards. Higginbotham closed her senior season with a 23-game hit streak.
Searles leads the Thunder in hitting (.483) and runs scored (72) to go with her Division III-best 17 triples. The junior from Levering, Mich., also has five homers and 36 RBI, as Trine reached the NCAA Elite Eight for the first time in school history.
Robenalt hit .451 this season with five doubles, 40 runs scored, 21 RBI and 24 stolen bases. The San Antonio native was flawless in 42 fielding chances in her senior season, en route to her third America Southwest Conference all-league honor.
Brandeis University junior Anya Kamber is the first team utility player. She was the only Judge player to appear in every game this season, hitting .420 and driving in a team-leading 38 runs on 58 hits, including 11 doubles, two triples and four homers. The Sammamish, Wash., native hit .541 and slugged .730 while filling in for center fielder Amanda Genovese, a first team All-American last season. Kamber ranked fourth in the University Athletic Association in hits and was fifth in batting average to claim second team all-conference recognition.
Montclair State’s Alex Hill, Rochester’s Nina Korn and Bridgewater State’s Amber White scored the three first team At-Large spots.
Senior right-hander Hill, a three-time NFCA All-American, has put together one of the best careers in Division III history. The Parsippany, N.J., native is a four-time New Jersey Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year who has a 117-22 career record, the second-most strikeouts (1,318) and shutouts (62) in Division III history, plus 14 saves and a 0.75 career ERA. This season, she is 30-4 and ranked in the top three nationally in seven categories, including first in wins, saves (five) and shutouts (18), second in ERA (0.54) and strikeouts (368) and third in strikeouts (11) and fewest hits allowed (3.65) per seven innings.
Senior infielder Korn is hitting a career-best .469 this season, with 47 runs scored, 11 doubles, 14 homers and 58 RBI for her hometown Yellow Jackets. She is Rochester’s career leader in nine offensive categories, including batting average, slugging percentage, on-base average, hits, homers, RBI, total bases, walks and intentional walks. Korn has walked 31 times this season, including seven times intentionally, which alone is more intentional passes than any Yellow Jacket player has in their career.
Bridgewater State senior right-hander Amber White posted a 25-5 record in the circle this year with 25 complete games and a single-season school-record 15 shutouts, which ranks second nationally. The Middleboro, Mass., native compiled a 0.73 ERA, which is third-best in Division III, and had 158 strikeouts over 202.2 innings while holding opposing batters to an .168 average. A three-time Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Pitcher of the Year, White was the Most Valuable Player of both the MASCAC and Wellesley Regional tournaments this season.
The NFCA Division III All-America softball teams are selected from the pool of players who earned first team All-Region recognition by eight NCAA Division III head coaches representing the eight NCAA regions.
To view the complete NFCA Division III All-America teams, click HERE