LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Thirty-seven student-athletes from 24 different institutions have been voted to one of two 2022 NFCA NAIA All-America teams, the Association announced on Tuesday afternoon.
Oregon Institute of Technology, NAIA Softball World Series participants, led the way with four All-America honors, one on the first team. National champion Oklahoma City University and Georgia Gwinnett College had three All-Americans apiece with all three Stars earning first-team accolades. The Grizzlies had one first teamer.
Six programs took home two plaudits apieces. Indiana Wesleyan University, Marian University Indianapolis, Southeastern University and University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma garnered two each on the first team, while Campbellsville University had one on each team and William Jessup University earned a pair of second-team distinctions.
There were four unanimous first-team selections, Southern Oregon University catcher Riley Donovan, Marian first baseman Sierra Norman and Southeastern teammates, Jamie Mead (Second Base) and Riley Sanders (DP or Utility/Non-Pitcher).
Across the two teams there were nine repeat All-Americans, which included four three-time honorees in pitcher Emily Cerny of USAO, outfielder Shelbie Stotts of Marian and a pair of shortstops, Oklahoma City’s Kennedy Jackson (At-Large and Georgia Gwinnett’s Piper Wagner (At-Large). It marked the third first-team nod for Cerny, while Stotts, Jackson and Wagner are back-to-back first teamers.
Also picking up a second consecutive first-team accolade was Donovan, Oregon Tech’s Sarah Abramson (Pitcher) and Indiana Wesleyan’s Miranda Wehrle (At-Large-Catcher). Additionally, Hannah Pals (Pitcher) of Grand View University and Melanie Alexander (Outfield) of Bethel University are two-time second-team honorees.
Along with her second All-America nod, Donovan is the 2022 Diamond Sports/NFCA Catcher of the Year, an honored bestowed on the first-team catcher. She batted .481 with a NAIA-best 89 RBI, 88 base hits, 178 total bases and 51 walks. Donovan recorded the second highest home run total (20) and slugging percentage (.973), and the third best on-base percentage (.973), while ranking fourth in doubles (22) and sixth in batting average and runs scored (70). She sported a .990 fielding percentage and threw out nine runners attempting to steal.
Sanders, who earned her first All-America nod, is the New Balance/NFCA Golden Shoe Award winner. She topped the NAIA with 74 stolen bases, 57 straight to end the season, and was caught just once. Sanders recorded 20 contests with multiple steals, including a season-best four against Calument, Warner and Trinity Baptist, and had four more contests with three. Additionally, she posted a streak of 14 straight games with a steal (29 total). She batted .383 on the season with a team-best 69 runs.
The NFCA All-America teams are voted on by the Association’s All-America Committees. In the NAIA, the committee is comprised of one elected member head coach from each of the NFCA’s six regions. All student-athletes who were nominated by a member head coach and voted to the first- or second-team All-Region teams were eligible for All-America consideration.
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.
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