LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Thirty-six student-athletes from 20 different schools have been voted to one of two 2023 NFCA NAIA All-America teams, the Association revealed on Tuesday afternoon.
All 10 of the teams who advanced to the NAIA World Series at the South Commons Softball Complex in Columbus, Ga., had players earn All-America status, including Midland and Cumberlands, who tied for the most of any institution with four selections each.
Fellow World Series participants Central Methodist, Georgia Gwinnett and national runner-up Oregon Institute of Technology all had three players chosen. National champion Southern Oregon and World Series teams Marian and Our Lady of the Lake, plus Northwestern College, scored two spots apiece. Eleven other schools had one player chosen.
Southern Oregon graduate student Riley Donovan earned her third straight first-team All-America honor, while five others were recognized for a second time.
Campbellsville senior outfielder Lexi Miller, Marian junior first baseman Sierra Norman, Coastal Georgia junior utility/pitcher Bryce Peacock, Georgia Gwinnett senior catcher Sydney Pelaez and her batterymate, sophomore pitcher Annalise Wood, all earned their second nod. Miller, Norman and Wood were all first teamers last season.
New in 2023 is the renaming of the first-team Utility/Pitcher award to honor the late Joan Joyce, an NFCA Hall of Famer and pioneer of women’s sports, with Peacock unanimously selected to that spot. She hit .459 for the Mariners this season, with 32 runs, 62 hits, eight doubles, eight triples, eight home runs and 42 runs batted in, while also going 12-4 in the circle with a 1.74 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, six complete games, five shutouts and a save over 112.2 innings.
The three other unanimous All-Americans were all on the second team: Friends senior Carolyn Dallimore at catcher, Northwestern junior Kameryn Etherington at Utility/Pitcher and Central Methodist senior Katelyn Kiser at DP or Utility/Non-Pitcher.
Pelaez is the 2023 Diamond Sports/NFCA NAIA Catcher of the Year as the first team player at that position. She boasted a .988 fielding percentage with just five errors in 432 defensive chances for the Grizzlies this season. Pelaez also hit .438 with 77 hits, 19 walks and 12 steals. She was the team leader in runs (46), doubles (17), home runs (seven), runs batted in (46), times hit by pitch (20), total bases (117), slugging percentage (.665) and OPS (1.195).
Avila junior Chelsea Kurtz, who was a second-team at-large All-American as an outfielder, nabbed the New Balance/NFCA Golden Shoe award as NAIA’s most prolific base stealer this season. Kurtz swiped 72 bases in 79 attempts (.911 success rate), which was the second-highest total in NAIA, and broke the school record she set last year. She averaged 1.38 steals per game.
Region III had the most All-America selections of any region with nine, followed by Regions IV and VI with eight. Regions I and V each had four players chosen, while Region II placed two.
In total, there are 15 juniors on the All-America squad, 12 seniors, four sophomores, three freshmen and two graduate students.
The NFCA All-America teams are voted on by the Association’s All-America Committees. In NAIA, the committee is comprised of one member head coach from each of the six regions. All student-athletes who were nominated by a member head coach and voted to the first or second team All-Region squads were eligible for All-America consideration.
Celebrating 40 years in 2023, the NFCA (National Fastpitch Coaches Association) is the professional organization for fastpitch softball coaches. Known for its highly-regarded All-Region and All-America awards, the NFCA also educates and supports softball coaches on a variety of different levels: from podcasts to a comprehensive drills database, to in-person events and a National Convention.
Learn more about the NFCA and consider joining nearly 6,700 coaches today at NFCA.org.