STARKVILLE, Miss. – Forty-eight student-athletes representing 37 different member high schools from 17 states have earned the honor of being named to one of three 2012 NFCA High School All-American teams, the Association announced on Tuesday.
Illinois Class 4A regional finalist Benet Academy and Virginia independent schools Division I champion Bishop O’Connell notched the most first team selections in the country this season with two each.
For the second consecutive season, Pearland (Texas) led the nation in total All-Americans with the three. However, this year the 5A regional finalist was joined by Ohio Division II champion Keystone, which also had three.
In total, 37 of this year’s 48 All-Americans have committed to play softball at the collegiate level, with 32 of those commitments choosing to continue their academic and playing careers at a NCAA Division I institution.
Of the 48 All-Americans this season, 13 earned honor for at least the second time in their career. However, of those 13, only one player earned the distinguished honor of being named a four-time All-American. Chelsea Wilkinson of Alexander Central (N.C.) earned second team honors this season to cap her amazing four-year run. Wilkinson, who will play for Georgia next year, earned second-team honors in 2009 and 2010 and first-team honors in 2011.
Leading off the four pitchers on this year’s first team was Kenzie Conrad of Keystone. The three-time All-American and Akron commit went 25-0 last season with a 0.74 ERA, while limiting opponents to a .129 average.
Tori Finucane played a key role in the Bishop O’Connell’s run to a state title by going a 27-1 with 332 strikeouts. Finucane, who has committed to Missouri, also hit .363 with 25 RBIs.
The final two pitchers were Cheridan Hawkins of Anderson (Calif.) and Kelsee Selman of Hudson (Texas). Hawkins, a two-time, first-team honoree, tossed nine no-hitters and three perfect games this past season, while also hitting .551 form the dish. Hawkins will continue her softball career at Oregon next fall.
Selman, who has committed to LSU, guided the Hornet to the Class 3A state title by posting an ERA 0.62 and striking out 446 batters.
The first of two catchers this season was Bishop O’Connell’s Jillian Ferraro, who joins her battery mate on the first team. Ferraro, who has agreed to play at North Carolina, hit .542 for the Knights while also driving in 55 runs. This is Ferraro’s second All-American honor, having been selected as honorable mention last season.
Chiefland’s (Fla.) Taylor Fuller earned her second consecutive first-team nod behind the plate this season by hitting an unbelievable .778 and stealing 24 of 24 bases. Fuller will continue her softball career next season at Florida.
In the infield, Jillian Galich of Lincoln-Way North (Ill.) led off the honors as the first baseman on this year’s first team. The George Washington commit turned in a .562 clip on the year, to go along with 50 RBIs and 24 runs.
At second base this year was Carly Piccinich of Immaculate Heart Academy (N.J.). The now, two-time All-American helped lead the Blue Eagles to a 32-0 record in 2012 and the non-public A state title. Piccinich, who will play for Notre Dame next season, hit .549, while also stealing 21 bases and hitting 12 doubles.
Rounding out the infield this season were third baseman Juilanne Rurka of Benet Academy (Ill.) and shortstop Bianka Bell of Tampa Chamberlain (Fla.), who will play at LSU next spring. Rurka hit .580 for the Redwings with 50 RBIs, while Bell notched a 1.387 slugging percentage from 16 doubles, six triples and 11 home runs on 68 total hits.
Stephanie Hartness of Niceville (Fla.) was the first of three outfielders on this year’s first team. Hartness, who earned second-team honors last season, hit .504 for the Eagles, while also tallying 36 RBIs and swiping 24 bags.
The second of two Benet Academy players on the first team this season was outfielder Maeve McGuire, who will has committed to Georgia. McGuire batted .542 with 23 doubles, 16 home runs and 46 RBIs.
The final outfielder on the first team was three-time All-American Kiki Stokes of Olathe East (Kan.). Stokes led the Hawks to a state title in 6A for the first time since 2007 in large part by batting .603 with a .656 on-base percentage. Stokes, who will continue her career at Nebraska, also stole 29 bases and committed no errors in the outfield.
Earning the first-team nod at utility this season was Rainey Gaffin of Legacy (Colo.). Gaffin helped lead the Lightning to another 5A state title last fall and has now won state championships in each of her four seasons. The Tennessee signee went 21-2 in the circle with a 1.71 ERA, while also hitting .591 with 48 RBIs and 15 home runs.
The final two first-team honorees for 2012 were at-large selections: pitcher Cara Goodwin of Good Hope (Ala.) and Sierra Romero of Vista Murietta (Calif.).
Goodwin, a UAB commit, went 43-6-2 with a 0.86 ERA and 525 strikeouts, while Romero, a Michigan signee, hit .556 with 34 RBIs and 21 home runs.
To view the entire list of 2012 NFCA High School All-Americans, click here.