LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The National Fastpitch Coaches Association announced the student-athletes chosen for this season’s quartet of NFCA NJCAA Division III special awards.
Corning Community College’s Grace Vondracek repeated as the TUCCI/NFCA NJCAA Division III Player of the Year, while also collecting the New Balance/NFCA Golden Shoe Award as the top base stealer.
North Dakota State College of Science’s Katelyn Strauss was voted the TUCCI/NFCA NJCAA Division III Pitcher of the Year, while Maggiemay Murrins of Niagara County Community College was tabbed Diamond Sports/NFCA Catcher of the Year.
Vondracek batted .609 with an NJCAA DIII-best 95 hits, 91 runs scored, 152 total bases and 38 walks. The sophomore shortstop and two-time NFCA All-American also ranked third nationally in batting average and on-base percentage, along with fifth in slugging (.974), while posting 20 doubles, 11 home runs and 64 RBI. Earning the New Balance/NFCA Golden Shoe, she swiped 43 bags in 48 attempts, ranking her third overall.
Strauss (25-6, 2.29 ERA, 306 K) was pivotal in North Dakota SCS’s run to its first NJCAA Division III national title. Strauss, the tournament’s Most Outstanding Pitcher, led Division III in wins, strikeouts and strikeouts per seven innings (10.78). A two-time NFCA All-American, she held her opponents to a .181 batting average, which ranked fifth, and recorded the seventh-lowest ERA.
Murrins, the All-America catcher, batted .603 (4th) with a chart-topping 34 doubles and was second-best with 94 RBI and 146 total bases. She also ranked in the top seven with 91 base hits (4th), a .967 slugging percentage (6th) and a .625 on-base percentage (7th). Behind the dish, Murrins posted a .990 fielding percentage and teams only attempted eight stolen bases all season.
The TUCCI Player and Pitcher of the Year, along with the New Balance Golden Shoe, are nominated and voted on by the full NJCAA Division III head coaching membership. The Diamond Sports Catcher of the Year is awarded to the first-team All-America catcher.
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.