OKLAHOMA CITY — The National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) is proud to announce the 45 players chosen for the 2017 NFCA Division III All-America softball teams. Those selected are being honored tonight during the NCAA Division III Championship banquet at the Sheraton Hotel Downtown in Oklahoma City.
The teams in the NFCA Division III Top 25 Poll are well represented, as the top 10 ranked squads alone account for 17 of the honorees. No. 1-ranked Virginia Wesleyan and third-ranked Luther have three selections apiece, while No. 4 Texas-Tyler, No. 7 Wisconsin-Whitewater, No. 8 St. John Fisher and No. 10 East Texas Baptist each had two players chosen.
Birmingham-Southern, Kean, Moravian, Salisbury and St. Catherine also registered two players apiece, while 21 other schools had one player chosen.
In all, 32 Division III schools are represented on the three All-America squads. Five of the eight teams that advanced to the NCAA Division III Championship in Oklahoma City have All-Americans on their roster.
There are 36 first-time All-Americans, five two-time All-Americans and three three-time All-Americans. East Texas Baptist’s Jayme Perez is the lone four-time All-American on this year’s list.
First team pitcher Hanna Hull has been one of the most dominant pitchers in Division III this season, leading the (48-2) Marlins to one of the eight berths in the NCAA Championship. Hull is 29-2 with a 0.44 ERA, 326 strikeouts and just 48 walks in 189.1 innings so far this season. She is also the recipient of this year’s Schutt Sports/NFCA Division III National Freshman of the Year award.
First team pitcher Lindsey Thayer has also been a force in the circle for St. John Fisher, compiling a 28-5 record, 0.42 ERA and 415 strikeouts in 202.1 innings to help the Cardinals reach the NCAA Championship for the second straight season. St. John Fisher tied for third in last year’s event at the James I. Moyer Complex in Salem, Va.
First team catcher Janae Matos of Moravian also picked up Division III’s Diamond Sports Catcher of the Year honor after batting .523 with 56 hits, 23 runs scored and 45 RBI.
Virginia Wesleyan junior Cassetty Howerin had another monster season to earn first team first base honors. Heading into the NCAA Championship, she is batting .441 with 63 hits, 12 doubles, 11 homers and 48 RBI, and she has also swiped 25 bases in 27 attempts.
First team second baseman Linzie Lewis of East Texas Baptist had 74 hits and 32 stolen bases while batting .440 and scoring 53 runs this season.
Jenna George of St. Catherine earned the first team third base nod on the strength of her .457 batting average, 33 runs, 11 doubles and 11 homers.
First team shortstop Anna Strien of Luther was a key component in the potent Norse lineup, hitting .531 with 51 runs, 15 doubles, three triples, seven home runs and 66 RBI.
Jayme Perez of East Texas Baptist has been a fixture as an All-American at designated player the past three seasons. This year, though, she’s the first team choice at the utility spot, after spending some time at pitcher, but still hitting 15 homers and driving in 62 runs while batting .416 for the Tigers.
The first team designated player for 2017 is Morgan Smith of Rowan University. She helped fuel the Profs this season with 22 doubles, six homers, 47 RBI and a .444 batting average.
The first team outfield consists of the Texas-Tyler’s Kaylee Prather (.503, 63 runs, 11 doubles, 38 steals), Salisbury’s LeAnne Collins (.537, 73 hits, 11 doubles, seven triples) and Mallory Klotz from Wisconsin-Whitewater (71 hits, including 25 for extra bases, .470 batting average).
At-Large selections are Emily Sabo of Kean (.500, 67 hits, 40 runs, 11 doubles, 24 steals), Jessica Long of Averett (.432, 70 hits, 61 runs, 36 RBI, 44 steals) and Melissa Livermore of Texas-Dallas (.439, 69 hits, 44 steals).
Elsewhere, third team All-America shortstop Kiersten Richardson of Virginia Wesleyan also earned New Balance/NFCA Golden Shoe honors, as the leading base stealer in Division III this season. To date, Richardson has collected 60 steals in 61 attempts.
Amherst, Illinois Wesleyan, St. Catherine, St. John Fisher, defending champion Texas-Tyler, Trine, Virginia Wesleyan and Williams are all competing in the double-elimination NCAA Championship, starting Thursday at Oklahoma City’s USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium.
The NFCA Division III All-America softball teams are selected from the pool of players who earned first team All-Region recognition by eight NCAA Division III head coaches representing the eight NCAA regions.
2017 NFCA DIVISION III ALL-AMERICANS
|Pitcher||Hanna||Hull||Virginia Wesleyan College||Freshman|
|Pitcher||Lindsey||Thayer||St. John Fisher College||Junior|
|First Base||Cassetty||Howerin||Virginia Wesleyan College||Junior|
|Second Base||Linzie||Lewis||East Texas Baptist University||Sophomore|
|Third Base||Jenna||George||St. Catherine University||Sophomore|
|Utility||Jayme||Perez*#%||East Texas Baptist University||Senior|
|Designated Player||Morgan||Smith||Rowan University||Junior|
|Outfield||Kaylee||Prather||University of Texas at Tyler||Senior|
|Outfield||Mallory||Klotz||University of Wisconsin-Whitewater||Junior|
|At-Large||Melissa||Livermore*||University of Texas at Dallas||Sophomore|
|Pitcher||Julie||Graf||St. Olaf College||Freshman|
|Catcher||Emily||Snow||Milwaukee School of Engineering||Sophomore|
|First Base||Kirsten||Drobiak||Springfield College||Junior|
|Second Base||Katie||Mazierski||St. John Fisher College||Junior|
|Third Base||Liz||Thompson||Alfred University||Senior|
|Designated Player||Cassie||Ruscz*#||Tufts University||Senior|
|Outfield||Jenna||Heffner||Penn State Berks College||Senior|
|At-Large||Maitlin||Raycroft||Texas Lutheran University||Junior|
|At-Large||Krista||Flugstad||St. Catherine University||Junior|
|At-Large||Rachael||Payne||Christopher Newport University||Junior|
|First Base||Savannah||Lee||Birmingham-Southern College||Sophomore|
|Second Base||Annie||Pietanza||Salisbury University||Junior|
|Third Base||Leah||Brown||University of Mary Hardin-Baylor||Senior|
|Shortstop||Kiersten||Richardson||Virginia Wesleyan College||Junior|
|Utility||Stephanie||Caudle*||Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute||Senior|
|Designated Player||Haley||Crumpton||Birmingham-Southern College||Sophomore|
|Outfield||Haley||Morelli||University of Wisconsin-Whitewater||Senior|
|Outfield||Cheyenne||Thompson||University of Texas at Tyler||Sophomore|
|At-Large||Holly||Haberkorn||Benedictine University (Ill.)||Senior|
|At-Large||Alix||DeDreu||Thomas More University||Sophomore|
* denotes 2016 All-American
# denotes 2015 All-American
% denotes 2014 All-American