Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I All-America Teams
Six of the eight teams vying for the national title in Oklahoma City had players named first team all-American as the 2006 Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I All-America teams were announced Wednesday by the association. Coaching representatives for the National Fastpitch Coaches Association select 18 players for each of three teams.
Tennessee led the way with five players tabbed to the first team. Monica Abbott earned first-team pitcher laurels for the second straight season, while Sarah Fekete repeated 2005’s first team nod with a spot in the first team outfield. Abbott has been stellar in her junior campaign, picking up a 41-8 record and a 0.88 ERA. She has struck out 483 and walked 43 over 308 and two-thirds innings. Fekete, a senior, leads the Lady Vols at the plate with a .522 average that includes eight doubles, 34 RBIs and 61 runs scored. She has also stolen 22 of 31 attempts this season.
Abbott and Fekete had company on the first team this year as 2005 second-team selections Lindsay Schutzler and Kristi Durant claimed first-team honors at shortstop and designated player, respectively. Durant sits second on the team with 49 RBIs, and she has collected a .399 average with 11 doubles and 20 runs scored. Schutzler leads UT with 28 stolen bases, while her .428 average is third best on the squad. She also tops the squad with 71 runs and eight triples. First baseman Tonya Callahan joined the quartet, as she earned first team at-large honors after leading the team with 13 home runs and 72 RBIs. She also hit .389 on the year and reached via walk a team-best 36 times.
Top-ranked UCLA had a pair of players named to the first team, as did Pac-10 foe Arizona. Pac-10 Player of the Year Andrea Duran earned first team honors at third base for the Bruins after leading the squad with a .363 average. She also led the team with 15 doubles, five triples, 40 RBIs, 56 runs scored and 20 stolen bases. Duran also ranked second on the team with 13 home runs. She was joined on the first team by pitcher Anjelica Selden, who garnered at-large honors. A 2005 second team selection, Selden compiled a 33-5 record and 0.97 ERA in 2006. She allowed 47 runs, 35 earned, and struck out 374 over 253 and two-thirds innings. Second team selection Caitlin Benyi, earned all-America accolades for the third time in her career after hitting .338 with 36 RBIs.
Both of Arizona’s first team honorees were at-large selections. Kristie Fox earned the nod, her second straight first team award, after a .401 campaign that included a team-best 15 home runs and 63 RBIs. She ranked third on the club with 43 runs scored. Caitlin Lowe claimed first team honors for the third time in her career after leading the Wildcats with a .430 average and 29 stolen bases. She tied for the team lead with four triples while slugging at a .564 clip. Alicia Hollowell joined the duo as second team pitcher. Hollowell earned her fourth award and second consecutive second team accolade after a senior season in which she went 27-4 with a 1.00 ERA.
Cat Osterman was named first team pitcher for the third straight season as the lone all-America selection for Texas. Osterman, a four-year all-American after garnering second-team honors in 2002, went 37-2 with a 0.37 ERA in the circle for the Longhorns this season. She allowed 15 runs, 14 earned, and struck out 590 with 41 walks in 266 innings.
Arizona State and Oregon State each had a player named to the first team. ASU’s Katie Cochran, an outfielder, earned the honor after a 2006 campaign in which she hit .448 and tied for the team lead with 17 home runs. She led the team with 61 RBIs and 47 runs scored. A .818 slugger, she successfully swiped 12 of 17 bases. OSU’s Cambria Miranda earned first team utility honors based on her play in the outfield and at second base. She was second in batting for the Beavers with a .323 average, and led Oregon State with 16 home runs and 52 runs while ranking second on the squad with 32 RBIs. OSU pitcher Brianne McGowan joined Miranda on the all-America squads as she was named third team pitcher.
WCWS participant Alabama had Stephanie VanBrakle named second team at-large and Brittany Rogers third team outfield, while fellow final eight performer Northwestern put Eileen Canney on the second team along with third team honorees Garland Cooper and Tammy Williams.
Jennie Ritter of Michigan earned first-team pitcher laurels for the second straight season. An all-tournament performer in leading Michigan to the 2005 national title, Ritter posted a 31-8 record and 0.77 ERA in delivering the Wolverines to a second straight super regional showing. Fellow Big Ten standout Jenna Hall of Illinois joined her on the first team as the first base selection. Hall was second in the nation with a .481 average and fourth in slugging percentage with a .847 mark. She also led the nation with 60 walks while pacing the Illini with 13 home runs.
Haley Woods earned first team catcher honors after hitting .355 for California. She added a team-leading 16 home runs, 55 RBIs and 39 runs scored while throwing out 11 runners and fielding at a .992 rate behind the plate. Florida State’s Veronica Wootson, Louisiana-Lafayette’s Danyele Gomez and Oklahoma’s Kristin Vesely joined Woods in rounding out the first team honorees.
Wootson, the first team second baseman, hit a team second-best .365 on the year and added 11 doubles and a team-best nine triples to go with her seven home runs and 49 RBIs. Gomez, a first team outfielder, became just the third player in Division I history to hit 30 home runs in a season as she led the nation in the category. A .442 hitter, she also added a team-leading 68 RBIs and 77 runs scored to go along with 13 doubles and a pair of triples. Vesely earned at-large honors after belting a .449 average with 15 doubles, three triples, five home runs and 45 RBIs. She added 46 runs and had a .665 slugging percentage and 10 stolen bases.