Softball All-Conference Teams Announced

Cantone of Tufts Takes Top Honors

Tufts junior Lena Cantone, the 2011 NESCAC Player of the Year HADLEY, Mass. – Junior first baseman Lena Cantone (Southington, Conn.) of Tufts has been named the NESCAC Player of the Year, as determined by the conference coaches. Cantone adds her name to a list that includes eight former Jumbos, as the conference's top honor has now gone to a Tufts player in nine of the last 11 years.

After putting together a .351 average at the plate over her first two seasons, the Jumbos' number three hitter cracked the .400 barrier this spring as she led Tufts in the batter's box with a .435 average, a figure that ranks second among all league players. Cantone posted a league-leading 64 hits and 14 doubles while reaching base at a .449 rate. She also played a big part in the Jumbos' run production, ranking second among her teammates in runs scored (34) and runs driven in (34). On the base paths, Cantone was successful on 12-of-13 stolen base attempts. In the field, she committed only three errors at first on 346 chances, a field percentage of .991. In addition to being named Player of the Year, Cantone also garnered All-NESCAC First Team honors. It was the third year in a row that Cantone has been recognized on an All-Conference squad after being selected to the Second Team in each of the last two seasons.

Also from Tufts on the All-Conference First Team were sophomore second baseman Emily Beinecke (Concord, Mass.) and first year catcher Jo Clair (Grlastonbury, Conn.). Beinecke was named to the First Team for the second time in as many years following a 2011 campaign in which she battled back from early season injuries to hit .374 and reach base at a .426 rate. She had just five errors on 132 chances (.962) and helped turn three double plays at second. Clair shattered the Jumbos' single-season home run record this spring, cranking 16 homers to lead the league in the category. She also paced the conference in runs batted in (42), walks (24), and slugging percentage (.815). Clair added NESCAC Rookie of the Year honors to her First Team recognition.

NESCAC Softball Champion Middlebury had five of its players receive All-NESCAC recognition, with three landing on the top squad. Senior pitcher Geena Constantin (Pelham, N.H.) joined Tufts' Beinecke as the only two individuals to return from the 2010 First Team. Constantin, who was also a unanimous choice by the conference coaches for NESCAC Pitcher of the Year, currently holds the lowest ERA of her career with an impressive 0.95 heading into this weekend's NCAA Tournament action. She has held opposing batters to a .180 average with 82 strikeouts to just 24 walks (3.42 K/BB) over 73.2 IP in 18 appearances for the Panthers. At the plate, Constantin owns a .380 average, as eight of her 19 hits have been doubles, and holds a .475 on-base mark.

Joining Constantin on the First Team were sophomores Jessa Hoffman (Golden, Colo.) and Jess Poracky (Ramsey, N.J.). The Panthers' shortstop, Hoffman is currently second among her teammates with a .377 average and a .474 on-base percentage. Nearly half of her 43 hits have been for extra bases, as she has smacked 12 doubles, seven triples, and two home runs. To date, Hoffman has not struck out in 114 at-bats. Poracky, who switches between first and catcher for Middlebury, is right behind her classmate with a .364 batting average. The pair have both driven in 22 runs for the Panthers. On the All-NESCAC Second Team were rookie pitcher Elizabeth Morris and 1B/DP Megan Margel. Margel's appointment is of significant note, as she has been named to the Second Team in each of the last four years.

Representing Trinity on the All-NESCAC First Team were seniors Kristen Anderson (West Haven, Conn.) and Nicole Nardella (Beverly, Mass.). Anderson was the Bantams' leader in the circle all year, going 11-7 in 22 appearances with a 1.43 ERA over 122.1 IP. She surrendered only 26 walks and two home runs while striking out 42 and holding opponents to a .200 average. Nardella, a four-year starter, played primarily at first base and was third for Trinity in hitting with a .368 average and a .411 on-base mark. Sophomore shortstop Caroline Blanchard (Norwich, Conn.) also earned recognition for the Bantams, as she was named Defensive Player of the Year and selected to the Second Team. Blanchard posted a .931 fielding percentage, committing 13 errors on 188 chances and helping turn three double plays. She led Trinity at the dish with a .372 average and a .435 on-base percentage.

Rounding out the All-Conference First Team were the Williams duo of Caitlyn Cain (Houston, Texas) and Kaitlin Dinet (Pearl River, N.Y.) along with Wesleyan's Talia Bernstein (Miami, Fla.). Cain and Dinet were the top two hitters for the Ephs this spring, with the senior Cain leading the way with a .388 average and the sophomore Dinet close behind at .382. Cain also posted a .460 on-base percentage, as she walked 15 times (T-4th NESCAC). Bernstein received her third First Team honor in the last four years (2008, 2009) in her final season with the Cardinals. She posted a league-leading .437 average at the plate, as she finished the year with an 11-game hitting streak. Bernstein owns the program mark for hits (192) and RBI (114) in a career.

Coach of the Year was bestowed upon Middlebury's Kelly Bevere. In her fifth season at the helm of the Panther softball program, Bevere has guided her squad to a school-record 29 wins (29-6), going 11-1 in conference play, the school's first NESCAC title, and its first NCAA Tournament appearance. 

 
2011 NESCAC Softball All-Conference Team
         
  First Team Institution    
Yr.  
Hometown
P Kristen Anderson Trinity Sr. West Haven, Conn.
2B Emily Beinecke Tufts So. Concord, Mass.
1B Talia Bernstein Wesleyan Sr. Miami, Fla.
1B/C Caitlyn Cain Williams Sr. Houston, Texas
1B Lena Cantone Tufts Jr. Southington, Conn.
C Jo Clair Tufts Fy. Glastonbury, Conn.
P Geena Constantin Middlebury Sr. Pelham, N.H.
3B/1B Kaitlin Dinet Williams So. Pearl River, N.Y.
SS Jessa Hoffman Middlebury So. Golden, Colo.
1B/3B Nicole Nardella Trinity Sr. Beverly, Mass.
1B/C Jess Poracky Middlebury So. Ramsey, N.J.
         
  Second Team Institution Yr. Hometown
C/OF Allee Beatty Wesleyan So. Redding, Conn.
SS Caroline Blanchard Trinity So. Norwich, Mass.
SS Toni DaCampo Bowdoin So. Woburn, Mass.
P Melissa DellaTorre Bowdoin Fy. Scarborough, Maine
OF Lizzy Iuppa Tufts Jr. Paramus, N.J.
P/SS Theresa Kelley Amherst So. Los Angeles, Calif.
1B/DP Megan Margel Middlebury Sr. Ridgewood, N.J.
P Elizabeth Morris Middlebury Fy. Kenilworth, Ill.
P/DP Kara Nilan Bowdoin Sr. Pittsfield, Mass.
C/3B Abigail Ostrom Trinity Fy. Carlisle, Mass.
P Izzie Santone Tufts Sr. Madison, Conn.
         
  Player of the Year      
1B Lena Cantone
Tufts Jr. Southington, Conn.
         
  Pitcher of the Year      
P Geena Constantin
Middlebury Sr. Pelham, N.H.
         
  Defensive Player of the Year    
SS Caroline Blanchard
Trinity
So.
Norwich, Conn.
         
  Rookie of the Year      
C Jo Clair
Tufts Fy. Glastonbury, Conn.
         
  Coach of the Year     

Kelly Bevere
Middlebury