LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The National Fastpitch Coaches Association announced the student-athletes chosen for this season’s quartet of NFCA NJCAA DIII special awards.
Corning Community College’s Grace Vondracek and Rock Valley College’s Hannah Hockerman were voted the Schutt Sports/NFCA NJCAA DIII Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively. Rainna Stangle of St. Cloud Technical College was tabbed Diamond Sports/NFCA Catcher of the Year and Emma Bright of Anoka-Ramsey Community College took home her second straight New Balance/NFCA Golden Shoe Award.
Vondracek keyed Corning to a second straight national runner-up finish. The freshman shortstop won the NJCAA DIII batting title with a .626 average and also was tops with a .683 on-base percentage. Those numbers were the best across all three divisions. Vondracek added 17 doubles, nine home runs, 88 runs scored and a .948 slugging percentage to go along with 46 steals. Earning NJCAA DIII Championship All-Tournament honors, the Odessa, N.Y. native hit .471 with a pair of doubles and four runs scored over five games.
Hockerman sported a 25-4 record with a 1.74 ERA and 222 strikeouts helping Rock Valley capture its eighth-straight NJCAA DIII crown. The sophomore hurler led NJCAA DIII in victories, and ranked second in ERA and strikeouts. Hockerman held her opponent to a .179 batting average and struck out 10.43 batters per seven innings. She posted eight double-digit strikeout games, including season-best 15-K performances against Waubonsee and McHenry County.
Stangle, the NJCAA DIII All-America catcher, batted .597 and drove in 84 runs and scored 72 times, all third-best in NJCAA DIII, while her 19 home runs ranked second. She also registered 84 hits, which ranked fourth, had 12 doubles and drew 28 walks (3rd). Behind the dish, Stangle threw out five runners in 16 attempts for a .313 caught stealing percentage.
Bright was perfect on the bases, swiping 52 in 52 attempts, which ranked second in NJCAA DIII. The NFCA All-American registered 15 games with multiple stolen bases. She notched a season-best four against Rochester, while stealing three bases eight times. Bright also finished with the fourth-best batting average (.593), while also third in runs scored (72), fifth in base hits (83) and triples (6) and sixth in on-base percentage (.626).
All special awards are nominated and voted on by the full NJCAA DIII head coaching membership.
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.
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