May 09, 2019
HADLEY, Mass. – Middlebury junior Melanie Mandell (Harrison, N.Y.) has been selected as the NESCAC Player of the Year as voted on by the league’s coaches. She is the first Panther to garner the honor and the fifth junior. Mandell, who earns her third straight All-NESCAC First Team honor, hit .464 to lead the NESCAC this season. Mandell also led the conference in doubles with 17, setting a Middlebury single-season record, and had 15 multiple-hit games, while slugging a league-best .825 and scoring 30 runs for the Panthers, who qualified for the NESCAC Championship.
Tufts sophomore Kristi Van Meter (Amston, Conn.) is the NESCAC Pitcher of the Year, adding to her 2018 Rookie of the Year honor she earned last season. Van Meter owns a 1.55 ERA to lead the NESCAC and helped Tufts win the NESCAC title for the 11th time in program history. She has 13 wins and 99 strikeouts for the NCAA-bound Jumbos. Van Meter, who returns to the All-NESCAC First Team for the second year in a row, is the fourth Jumbo to garner the NESCAC Pitcher of the Year honor, joining Jodie Moreau (2002), Lauren Gelmetti (2009), Allyson Fournier (2012-2015).
Williams senior Jessica Kim (Tustin, Calif.) is the first Eph to receive the NESCAC Defensive Player of the Year honor since its inception in 2009. The shortstop has made two errors in 158 chances in the infield and carries a .987 fielding percentage into the NCAA Tournament, as the Ephs were an at-large selection after reaching the NESCAC Championship game. Kim is also hitting .338 and slugging .515 for Williams and leads the NESCAC in runs scored (43).
Mara Kipnis (Redmond, Wash.) of Williams is the NESCAC Rookie of the Year. She is the fourth Eph to earn the accolade and the second Williams player in three years to garner the honor. Other Ephs to be named Rookie of the Year include Alana Frost (2003), Cedar Blazek (2010), and current teammate Rebecca Duncan (2017). Kipnis leads the NESCAC in home runs (7) and has driven in 26 RBIs while hitting .387 and slugging .747.
Hamilton first-year head coach Stephanie Hartquist was selected as the NESCAC Coach of the Year by her peers. Hartquist guided the Continentals to the No. 2 seed in the NESCAC West Division and their first appearance in the NESCAC Tournament. Hamilton set a program record for wins in a season (28) while also setting new program standards in 11 different statistical categories. Hartquist is the first Hamilton coach to be honored with the Coach of the Year award.
Other Ephs honored on the First Team are juniors Rebecca Duncan (Simi Valley, Calif.) and Kirstin Mapes (Corona, Calif.). Duncan, the NESCAC Pitcher of the Year last season and the 2017 NESCAC Rookie of the Year, is a First Team selection for the third consecutive season. Duncan has 12 wins this season and has pitched eight complete games. She owns a 2.00 ERA with 61 strikeouts while hitting .366 at the plate. Mapes, a Second Team selection last year, is hitting .328 and has totaled 23 RBIs for the Ephs.
Senior Courtney Erickson (Everett, Mass.) and sophomore Samantha Witmer (Drexel HIll, Pa.) represent Trinity on the First Team. Erickson earns her fourth All-NESCAC accolade. She was a First Team honoree in 2016 and a Second Team selection the last two years. A shortstop, Erickson hit .380 at the plate this season and drove in 28 RBIs while scoring 30 runs. Witmer, an outfielder, ranks second in the NESCAC with a .455 average and slugged .646 with the best on-base percentage in the conference (.556). She belted out 11 doubles, scored 26 runs, and tallied 23 RBIs to help the Bantams qualify for the NESCAC Tournament.
Hamilton junior Emily Fraser (Houston, Texas) helped the Continentals post a record-breaking season and earn their first trip to the NESCAC Championship. Fraser hit .417, third in the NESCAC, with 50 hits, 14 of which went for extra bases. She drove in 35 runs and scored 36 runs for Hamilton.
Bates’ Kirsten Pelletier (Sidney, Maine) led the NESCAC in innings pitched (154.2), starts (23), and strikeouts (145). She posted a 1.99 ERA and set team record for starts in a career (60) and in a season (23), innings pitched in a career (388.0) and a season (154.2), and strikeouts in a career (348) and season (145) this year as the Bobcats qualified for the NESCAC Tournament. Pelletier, a junior, was a Second Team honoree last year.
Amherst senior Sammy Salustri (Pleasanton, Calif.), a two-time NESCAC Defensive Player of the Year (2016, 2017), earns her third All-NESCAC honor. Salustri ranked fourth among the NESCAC batting leaders with a .396 average and had a .983 fielding percentage. She totaled 40 hits and added 11 stolen bases for Amherst this season.
Softball All-Conference Teams
Player of the Year: Melanie Mandell, Middlebury
Pitcher of the Year: Kristi Van Meter, Tufts
Defensive Player of the Year: Jessica Kim, Williams
Rookie of the Year: Mara Kipnis, Williams
Coach of the Year: Stephanie Hartquist, Hamilton