LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Carson-Newman University’s Macauley Bailey has been named 2023 TUCCI/NFCA Division II Freshman of the Year, the Association announced on Tuesday afternoon.
Bailey, an NFCA First-Team All-Region recipient at Designated Player or Utility/Non-Pitcher, is coming off a stellar rookie campaign for the Eagles and is the first recipient of the award from the Southeast Region. She was the first player in South Atlantic Conference history to be recognized as both the Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year. The Cross Plains, Tenn. native finished 2023 with 67 RBI, which currently ranks sixth in NCAA Division II and is the fourth highest total in program history.
Bailey, who was primarily a designated player, also started at first base and catcher. She finished the season batting .421 with 64 hits, 11 doubles, 15 home runs, 31 runs scored, a .803 slugging percentage and .472 on-base percentage. Posting a team-best 18-game hitting streak, Bailey also drew 20 walks and struck out just 12 times in 178 plate appearances. Her home runs, RBI, slugging percentage and hitting streak are CNU freshman records, while her long balls are second best in program history.
Joining Bailey as finalists were West Chester’s Danielle Ciliberto (Atlantic), Central Oklahoma’s Emily Deramus (Central), Bridgeport’s Mya Jones (East), McKendree’s Lauren Harris (Midwest), UAH’s Katie Bracken (South), West Texas A&M’s Emilee Boyer (South Central), and Biola’s Colby McClinton (West).
Created in 2015, the award honors the outstanding athletic achievement among freshman softball student-athletes throughout NCAA Division II. The winner is voted on by the NFCA Division II All-America committee, comprising of one head coach from each of the NCAA’s eight regions.
Past winners include Caleigh Rister (Cal Pa. - 2022), Kenzee Smith (UIndy – 2021), Bailey McKittrick (Central Oklahoma – 2019), Callie Nunes (Concordia Irvine – 2018), Autumn Humes (Harding – 2017), Charlotte Romero (Colorado Christian – 2016) and Janessa Bassett (Dixie State – 2015).
The NFCA (National Fastpitch Coaches Association) is the professional organization for fastpitch softball coaches. Known for its highly-regarded TUCCI/NFCA Freshman of the Year 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 National Convention.