HADLEY, Mass. – Williams junior Lexi Curt (Moorpark, Calif.) has been named the 2017 NESCAC Player of the Year as selected by the league’s coaches. Curt ranks second in the conference in hits (55) and home runs (10), while hitting .417 and slugging .773 for the 2017 NESCAC Champions. Curt is the fourth Eph to earn the award, joining Joey Lye (2009), Allison Hart (2012) and Erica Li (2016).
Amherst, Bowdoin, Trinity and Williams all had four players selected to the All-NESCAC teams and 11 players earned repeat honors.
Lexi Curt earns the third All-NESCAC honor of her career and moves to the First Team after two seasons as a Second Team selection. She has seen action in all 41 games for the Ephs this season and helped them repeat as NESCAC Champions. In addition to leading the team in hits and home runs, she has a team-high 36 RBIs and scored 31 runs. She has also been steady in the field committing just one error in 239 chances.
First-year Rebecca Duncan of Williams is the NESCAC Rookie of the Year. She is the third Eph to earn the honor, joining Alana Frost (2003) and Cedar Blazek (2010). Duncan has posted a 1.83 ERA in 107.1 innings with a 13-4 record and two saves for the NCAA Tournament-bound Ephs. Her 13 wins rank second in the conference and her 105 strikeouts also are second in the NESCAC. Offensively, the First Team All-NESCAC selection has recorded seven doubles, six home runs and a triple en route to a .660 slugging percentage.
Amherst’s Sammy Salustri was named the NESCAC Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight year and is the only player in league history to receive the honor in consecutive seasons. The sophomore has recorded 53 assists and 78 putouts while committing just three errors for a .978 fielding percentage. She is hitting .333 for the Mammoths, who finished as the NESCAC Runner-Up and earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Salustri, a First Team All-NESCAC last season, was named to the Second Team this year.
Fellow Mammoth Gina Pagan was selected as the NESCAC Pitcher of the Year. The junior is the second Amherst pitcher to win the honor, joining Lauren Peloquin (2001). Pagan has worked the most innings of any pitcher in the NESCAC (127.1) and ranks second in the league with a 1.43 ERA. She has struck out a league-best 129 hitters and is averaging 7.09 strikeouts per seven innings. She owns a 17-4 record in the circle.
The third Amherst player on the All-NESCAC First Team is sophomore Kyra Naftel. A repeat First Team selection, she ranks third in the conference in hitting with a .431 average. Naftel leads the Mammoths in hits (56), RBIs (25) and stolen bases (10).
Tufts junior Raven Fournier earned First Team recognition for the third consecutive season. The 2015 NESCAC Rookie of the Year turned in another strong season. Fournier leads the NESCAC in hitting with a .440 average and leads the Jumbos in runs scored (29), while contributing 25 RBIs along with 40 hits.
Fournier’s teammate, senior Cassie Ruscz completed her career with a spot on the All-NESCAC First Team for the fourth straight year. Ruscz batted .415 for the Jumbos this season. She led Tufts in hits (44) and RBIs (36), while leading the NESCAC with 11 home runs. Ruscz was the NESCAC Co-Player of the Year in 2015 and 2016.
A pair of Polar Bears are repeat All-NESCAC honorees. Seniors Emily Griffin and Marisa O’Toole move from the Second Team to the First Team for the first time in their careers. Griffin was a Second Team honoree in 2014 and 2015, while O’Toole was on the Second Team last season. Griffin earned 13 wins in the circle and worked 112.1 innings, registering 89 strikeouts. She also hit .362 at the plate with 46 hits and 33 runs scored. O’Toole led the Polar Bears with a .423 average. She hit a team-high seven home runs and added seven doubles and three triples to post a .750 slugging percentage.
Williams sophomore Mackenzie Murphy, earns her second straight All-NESCAC First Team honor and is the third Eph on the First Team this season. She owns a .405 batting average, ranking second on the team, and is one of three Ephs with more than 50 hits. She has driven in 31 runs, while scoring 21. Murphy has 12 doubles, a triple and eight home runs to account for her .706 slugging percentage.
Rookie Lindsay Golia had a strong start to her career for the Bantams to earn All-NESCAC First Team honors. She led the Trinity pitching staff with a 2.57 ERA to go with 11 wins and three saves. She worked 117.1 innings in the circle and struck out 49 batters.
First-year Melanie Mandell represented Middlebury on the All-NESCAC First Team. The outfielder led the Panthers at the plate with a .439 average, 43 hits and 26 RBIs. She also knocked out 12 doubles to rank third in the NESCAC.
Caitlin Hitchcock of Trinity earned NESCAC Coach of the Year honors for the second consecutive season. In her 15th year at the helm of the Bantams, Hitchcock guided Trinity to its second straight NESCAC Championship appearance as the No. 2 seed in the East Division with an 8-4 NESCAC mark.
Softball All-Conference Teams