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LOUISVILLE, Ky. – East Texas Baptist University senior shortstop Tristen Maddox and Linfield University senior right-hander Tayah Kelley claimed 2024 Tucci/NFCA Division III Player and Pitcher of the Year awards, the Association announced on Friday afternoon.

Earlier this week, three-time NFCA All-American Maddox helped propel the (48-3) Tigers to the NCAA Division III national championship and complete what has been a stellar senior season. The Mission, Texas, product hit .437 with 69 runs, 69 hits, 16 doubles, 17 home runs, 63 runs batted in, a 1.411 OPS and just 12 strikeouts over 197 plate appearances. She tied for second nationally in homers, was third in total bases (138) and tied for seventh in RBI, as the Tigers won the most games in program history.

In 181 career games, Maddox has a .393 average, 190 runs, 230 hits, 55 doubles, 40 homers, 182 RBI and a .706 slugging percentage. Over that span, East Texas Baptist has gone 153-29, made four NCAA Regional appearances, captured one Super Regional and Division III crown, and collected three American Southwest Conference tournament titles.

Kelley, also a three-time NFCA All-American, went 32-4 this season, leading the Wildcats to their second straight Division III World Series, second consecutive NCAA Super Regional crown and fourth consecutive NCAA Regional title. She compiled a 1.51 ERA over an NCAA-leading 42 appearances and had a Division III-best 29 complete games and 293 strikeouts. Kelley, who also led the country in victories, helped the (50-4) Wildcats reel off a school-record 44 straight wins to open the season, which included the NFCA Division III Leadoff Classic title to start their 2024 campaign.

She ranked third nationally in games started (33) and tied for fifth in Division III in shutouts (nine). Kelley had 10 contests this year in which she fanned 10 or more batters, including a season-high 16 in a two-hitter against Puget Sound on April 6.

For her career, Myrtle Creek, Ore., native Kelley went a remarkable 111-17 with 951 strikeouts, a 1.96 ERA, 31 shutouts, 95 complete games and eight saves over 777.2 innings and 146 appearances. Linfield has won four straight Northwest Conference crowns during her time in McMinnville.

The Tucci/NFCA Player of the Year award was created in 2016 to honor outstanding softball achievement in NCAA Division III. In 2019, the Association expanded the award to include separate Player and Pitcher of the Year honors.

The awards are voted on by the members of the NFCA Division III All-America Committee with one head coach representing each of the 10 NCAA regions. To be eligible, a student-athlete’s head coach must be a member.

Tucci/NFCA Player & Pitcher of the Year recipients

2024 — Tristen Maddox, East Texas Baptist (player) & Tayah Kelley, Linfield (pitcher)

2023 — Lindsey Windsor, Salisbury (player) & Kayla Simacek, Bethel (pitcher)

2022 — Kaitlyn Hasty, Christopher Newport (player) & Alexis Michon, Eastern Connecticut State (pitcher)

2021 — Jessica Goldyn, Virginia Wesleyan (player) & Hanna Hull, Virginia Wesleyan (pitcher)

2020 — no awards presented due to COVID-19

2019 — Mackenzie Chitwood, Lynchburg (player) & Ally Wiegand, Illinois Wesleyan (pitcher)

2018 — Hanna Hull, pitcher, Virginia Wesleyan

2017 — Hanna Hull, pitcher, Virginia Wesleyan

2016 — Kelsey Batten, pitcher, UT Tyler

The NFCA is the professional organization for fastpitch softball coaches. Known for its highly-regarded coaches polls and All-America awards, the NFCA also educates and supports softball coaches on a variety of different levels: from podcasts to awards, to in-person events and National Convention

Learn more about the NFCA and consider joining our lineup of over 7,000 coaches today!

Tucci/NFCA Division III Player and Pitcher of the Year

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