2023 TUCCI/NFCA Division III Freshman of the Year, nfca, tucci, debbie, hill, Trine, University

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Trine University’s Debbie Hill has been named the 2023 TUCCI/NFCA Division III Freshman of the Year, the Association announced on Tuesday afternoon.

Hill, a first-team NFCA All-Region selection at the Utility/Pitcher spot in Region VII, has had a stellar freshman season for the (40-4) Thunder, who she has helped win 17 straight games and advance to the NCAA Division III Championship later this week at Bell Park at Taylor Field on the campus of East Texas Baptist University in Marshall, Texas. This is the second-straight appearance in the Division III final eight for Trine, which was the national runner-up to Christopher Newport last season in Salem, Va.

Hill was previously honored as a first-team choice for the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association all-conference squad, and was voted the Most Outstanding Player of Trine’s NCAA Regional and Super Regional.

For the NCAA tournament, Hill has a combined .571 average, two doubles, five RBI and four walks in five games on offense, while collecting two victories in two starts in the circle, with just six hits allowed over 11.1 innings, one walk and 16 strikeouts. In her NCAA tournament debut on May 18 against Waynesburg, she combined with junior Alexis Michon on a no-hitter and fanned seven Yellow Jacket batters over the first five innings.

For the season, Hill is 11-3 in 19 pitching appearances, with a save, three complete games, 54 hits, 13 earned runs, 12 walks, 105 strikeouts and an 1.08 ERA over 84 innings. Meanwhile, she is hitting .447 with 55 hits, 17 doubles, two triples, 13 home runs, 50 RBI, 34 walks, a .935 slugging percentage and a .566 on-base average.

She entered the postseason nationally ranked in several statistical categories, including ERA, hits allowed per game, strikeout-to-walk ratio, strikeouts per game and WHIP, and is also among the country’s most prolific power hitters.

Williams’ Sadie Leonard (Region I), Springfield’s Amelia DeRosa (Region II), Rochester’s Molly Broccolo (Region III), The College of New Jersey’s Elizabeth Gosse (Region IV), Moravian’s Marcie Silberman (Region V), Virginia Wesleyan’s Laci Campbell (Region VI), Wisconsin-Platteville’s Melissa Dietz (Region VIII), Saint Benedict’s Ellie Peterson (Region IX) and Texas Lutheran’s Caelee Clark (Region X) were the other nine award finalists.

Defending national champion Christopher Newport has collected the honor twice (pitcher Jamie Martin in 2022 and third baseman Kaitlyn Hasty in 2019), as has three-time Division III titlist Virginia Wesleyan (pitcher Kandis Kresinske in 2016 and pitcher Hanna Hull in 2017). Other honorees include UT Tyler catcher Ashley Perez in 2018 and Husson designated player Kenzie Dore in 2021. No award was given in 2020.

The award annually honors the outstanding athletic achievement of freshmen in NCAA Division III. To be eligible, student-athletes must come from an NFCA member institution. The recipient is chosen by the NFCA Division III All-America Committee.

TUCCI/NFCA Division III Freshman of the Year winners

2023 – Debbie Hill, Utility/Pitcher, Trine

2022 – Jamie Martin, P, Christopher Newport

2021 – KenzieDore, DP, Husson

2020 – (no award)

2019 – Kaitlyn Hasty, 3B, Christopher Newport

2018 – Ashley Perez, C, UT Tyler

2017 – Hanna Hull, P, Virginia Wesleyan

2016 – Kandis Kresinske, P, Virginia Wesleyan

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

Learn more about the NFCA and consider joining nearly 6,700 coaches today!


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