Five Named All-America by NFCA
HADLEY, Mass. - Five individuals from two NESCAC teams were honored as All-America last week when the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) announced its annual honors. The five selections are the most for the conference ever.
The NESCAC had not one but two individuals garner First Team All-America recognition, as Williams senior Allison Hart, the 2012 NESCAC Player of the Year, and Tufts first year Allyson Fournier, the conference's Pitcher and Rookie of the Year, were chosen as part of the NFCA's top team. It is the first time that the NESCAC has been represented on the First Team since the Jumbos' Courtney Bongiolatti was honored in 2005.
The Ephs' Hart closed out her career with Player of the Year and All-NESCAC First Team honors this spring. Hart's prowess at the plate was evident all season. She finished atop the NESCAC stat sheet with a remarkable .540 batting average, connecting for 74 hits with 21 of those going for extra bases, and had a .568 on-base percentage. Hart's league-leading totals in hits, doubles (14), and runs scored (49) represented half of the categories in which she set a single-season Williams record. She also stole 22 bases (22-for-27) and only struck out twice in 146 plate appearances.
NESCAC Champion Tufts put four individuals on the NFCA All-America teams. Joining Fournier in collecting honors were senior Lena Cantone, junior Emily Beinecke, and sophomore Jo Clair.
Fournier overpowered opposing batters during her first go-round with the Jumbos, as the right-handed hurler put together an 23-3 record with a 0.55 ERA and a .127 opponents batting average with three perfect games. She struck out a school-record 307 batters this year over 177.0 IP (1.73K/IP) while surrendering just 72 hits and 34 walks (9.03 K/BB).
During the NESCAC championship, the All-NESCAC First Team selection set the tournament's single-game and overall record for strikeouts, retiring 19 of the 24 batters she faced by strikeout in a 2-0, 8-inning perfect game against Middlebury on May 4 before finishing with 47 strikeouts over the Jumbos' three wins.
A Third Team All-American in 2009 and 2011, Cantone was promoted to the Second Team this spring. The 2011 NESCAC Player of the Year, Cantone garnered All-NESCAC honors for the fourth year in a row with her second-straight First Team appointment. Known for her timely hitting, Cantone completed her final campaign with the Jumbos atop her team's stat sheet with a .444 batting average, a .506 on-base mark, and a .993 fielding percentage.
Also on the NFCA All-America Second Team was Clair. The conference's Rookie of the Year last May, Clair owned .441 average at the dish with a .520 on-base percentage and a .855 slugging mark. Finishing the year as the conference leader in runs batted in (57), walks (27), and home runs (14), Clair tied the single-season program record for long balls this spring.
Beinecke, a Third Team All-American, continued her First Team All-NESCAC streak this season, as she has appeared on the league's top team in all three of her years. Beinecke ended the year third for the Jumbos in batting with a .397 average and a .413 on-base percentage.