Worcester, Mass. --- The first annual Worcester Area Softball All-Star team has been announced after a vote by sports information directors representing nine Worcester area colleges and universities. In addition, six major award winners were also named for their respective contributions to the success of their softball programs.
Hailing from Becker College, sophomore outfielder Vasia Murphy (Dracut, Mass. / Dracut) made the All-Worcester First Team while senior pitcher Samantha Lee (Prospect, Conn. / Woodland) took Second Team honors. Murphy had a breakout season for the Hawks, hitting .351 with a team leading five home runs and 27 RBI. Lee concluded her storied career with the Hawks, ranking second in the NECC in ERA at 2.68, winning 11 games and accumulating 103 strikeouts.
Sharing the award for Player of the Year were junior Ama Biney of WPI and junior Sydney Despres of Worcester State.
Biney, a three-time NFCA All-New England first team honoree and All-NEWMAC selection, returned to the conference's first team after leading the league in walks (23), triples (5), stolen bases (25), stolen bases per game (0.60), runs (50) and runs per game (1.19) while boasting a perfect fielding percentage in 50 total chances. The junior also batted .370 with 17 extra base hits, 35 RBI and an OPS of 1.079. Biney enjoyed a 14-game hitting streak, including five multi-hit games and a 4-for-4 performance versus Becker, from April 9 until April 22.
Despres batted .410 on the season with a .526 on base percentage and a .743 slugging percentage. She hit 12 doubles, one triple and a league-best seven home runs while tallying 27 runs and 28 RBI. She also led her league in walks with 23.
Freshman Mackenzie Phillips of WPI was named the Rookie of the Year. Phillips, the NEWMAC Softball Rookie of the Year and All-Conference second team member, boasted a 12-5 record with seven complete games, a NEWMAC-best three saves and a 2.32 ERA in 114 2/3 innings over 28 appearances. She was second overall in strikeouts with 112 and fifth in conference contests with 46. During the regular season, Phillips' ERA dropped to 1.66 and batting average against went down .16 to .215 in conference matchups. The newcomer totaled a season-best 10 strikeouts three times, including her season finale against Wheaton, a 5-1 victory, in the NEWMAC tournament.
Freshman Alexis Ferris of Nichols was named the Pitcher of the Year. Ferris closed the regular season tops in earned run average (ERA) in the conference at 1.67 and second in both strikeouts (137) and wins (13). She broke the Nichols single-season strikeout mark earlier this week against Gordon and posted five double-digit strikeout games this season, fanning 12 on three occasions: Rivier (March 10), Curry (March 30), and Wentworth (April 27). Ferris allowed two earned runs or fewer in 16 of her 20 starts and did not allow an earned run on nine occasions.
Sharing the award for Coach of the Year were Jen Lapicki of Holy Cross and Heather Korzec of Nichols.
Lapicki, in just her first season at the helm of the Crusaders, lead the team to its first Patriot League Tournament berth in six seasons. In her first season, Holy Cross posted a record of 13-30 with an 8-10 mark in conference play. Lapicki coached a pair of student-athletes to All-Patriot League honors, and had three selected to the Academic All-Patriot League team.
Korzec guided the Bison to a 16-16 mark this season – their first .500 season since 2011. They began the season winning six of their 10 games at the Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic and posted their highest win total in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) (eight) since the 2012 campaign.
Player of the Year (co)
Sydney Despres / Jr. / Worcester State
Ama Biney / Jr. / WPI
Rookie of the Year
Mackenzie Phillips / Fr. / WPI
Pitcher of the Year
Alexis Ferris / Fr. / Nichols
Coach of the Year (co)
Jen Lapicki, Holy Cross
Heather Korzec, Nichols
Pos. Name Institution Cl. Hometown / High School
1B Sydney Despres Worcester State Jr. Sterling, Mass. / Wachusett Regional
2B Emily Krisanda Holy Cross Sr. Oak Hill, Va. / Oakton
3B Rachel Couto Worcester State Sr. Chelmsford, Mass. / Chelmsford
SS Kendall Meehan Nichols Jr. Danvers, Mass. / Danvers
C Courtney Salisbury Worcester State Sr. Cranston, R.I. / Cranston West
P Alexis Ferris Nichols Fr. Holyoke, Mass. / Hampshire Reg.
P Dakota Smith-Porter Worcester State Sr. Montague, Mass. / Turners Falls
P Mackenzie Phillips WPI Fr. Gill, Mass. / Turners Falls
OF Ashley Clark Assumption Sr. Pawtucket, R.I. / William E. Tolman
OF Ama Biney WPI Jr. Worcester, Mass. / Holy Name
OF Vasia Murphy Becker So. Dracut, Mass. / Dracut
DP Cassie Graca WPI Fr Somerset, Mass. / Somerset-Berkley
Util. Jessica Kuelling Nichols So. Gales Ferry, Conn. / Ledyard
Pos. Name Institution Cl. Hometown / High School
1B Renee LeClaire WPI So. Merrimack, N.H. / Merrimack
2B Katie Gildea Fitchburg State Jr Bedford, Mass. / Bedford
3B Mandy McCarthy Holy Cross Jr. Pearl River, N.Y. / Pearl River
SS Taylor Wahler Holy Cross So. Inman, S.C. / Landrum
C Lindsay Gurska WPI Sr. Revere, Mass. / Revere
P Samantha Lee Becker Jr. Prospect, Conn. / Woodland
P Kendal Roy Assumption Jr. Grafton, Mass. / Grafton
P Galen Kerr Fitchburg State Sr. Concord, Mass. / Concord-Carlisle
P Alexandra Held Holy Cross So. Houston, Texas / Clear Lake
OF Callie Andrews Nichols So. Southbridge, Mass. / Oxford
OF RiAnna May WPI Jr. Westminster, Colo. / Standley Lake
OF Damari Grossi Fitchburg State So. Medford, Mass. / Medford
OF Lauren Mackey Clark Sr. Dublin, N.H. / ConVal Regional
DP Jessalynne Brown Fitchburg State Sr. Malden, Mass. / Malden
Util. Kaitlyn Moran Anna Maria Sr. Leicester, Mass. / St. Peter-Marian
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