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LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The National Fastpitch Coaches Association announced the student-athletes chosen for this season’s quartet of NFCA NJCAA Division I special awards.

Indian Hills Community College’s Destiny Lewis and Florida SouthWestern State College’s Belle Sardja were named the TUCCI/NFCA NJCAA Division I Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively.

Additionally, Odessa College’s Morgan Dutton and Indian River State College’s Daija Torchia collected the Diamond Sports/NFCA NJCAA Division I Catcher of the Year and New Balance/NFCA NJCAA Division I Golden Shoe awards.

An unanimous selection for Player of the Year, Lewis batted .444 with 14 doubles, 31 home runs, 91 RBI and 82 runs scored. She slugged 1.072, recorded 25 multi-RBI and 24 multi-hit contests, highlighted by a three-home run, seven-RBI outing versus Southwestern College. Lewis also recorded five hits at Ellsworth and four more in another matchup with Southwestern, while logging three hits six times. Lewis ranked nationally in long balls (6th), runs (7th), RBI (9th) and slugging (12th). 

Sardja put together a strong 2023 campaign helping the Buccaneers to their third straight national title. The sophomore righty posted a 25-2 record with a 0.88 ERA and 121 punchouts to just 22 walks in 175 innings. Sardja recorded five saves and a .194 batting average against, while allowing just 10 extra-base hits (2 HR) in 675 at bats. She finished ranked third in ERA, fourth in saves and ninth in victories. At the World Series, Sardja was 3-0 with a 1.40 ERA and two shutouts during FSW’s 5-0 run to the championship.

Dutton, the first-team NFCA All-America catcher, played a critical role in Odessa’s No. 1 overall seed and third-place finish at the NJCAA Division I World Series.. The sophomore batted .472 with 17 doubles, 13 home runs , 34 runs scored and 57 RBI. Dutton slugged .936 and struck out just six times in 145 plate appearances Behind the plate, she was nearly flawless, holding a .995 fielding percentage, committing one error in 222 chances.

Torchia swiped 70 bases in 75 attempts, ranking tied for second nationally. The sophomore outfielder recorded multiple steals 20 times, including a season-best four versus East Georgia State and three on 10 other occasions. Torchia had a remarkable seven-game stretch early in the season in which she swiped 20 bases without being caught. Offensively, she batted .390 with 64 runs scored.

The awards are voted on by the elected members of the NFCA NJCAA Division I All-American Committee with two head coaches representing each of the three NJCAA Division I regions. To be eligible, a student-athlete’s head coach must be a member.

Celebrating 40 years in 2023, the NFCA (National Fastpitch Coaches Association) is the professional organization for fastpitch softball coaches. Known for its highly-regarded student-athlete awards, the NFCA also educates and supports softball coaches on a variety of different levels: from webinars to legal counsel, to in-person events and the National Convention

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

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