Six Western Connecticut players named to 2012 Little East Conference
All-Conference Softball Team

 

 

 

 

 

 

Magen Dargon, Amanda Rizzo and Jackie Zilnicki named to First Team while
Samantha Avery, Danielle Basciano and Kylee Ruther are honored on Second Team

official release from Jack Holleran - LEC Director of Communications

NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA (May 8) - Eastern Connecticut State University senior Molly Rathbun (Hebron, Conn.) became the first Little East softball student-athlete to be selected as the Player of the Year and Pitcher of the Year when the conference office announced its annual awards program this afternoon. Plymouth State freshman shortstop Bekah Jackson (Nashua, N.H.) was honored as the Rookie of the Year, while Bruce Addison and Diana Pepin shared the Coach of the Year Award. Western Connecticut State University earned the Team Sportsmanship Award to complete the major awards program.

In addition to the major awards program, the eight conference head coaches selected the 2012 All-Little East softball teams during an in-person meeting. The first team is comprised of a 12 student-athletes, while 14 players were named to the second squad.

Rathbun became the first Warrior to earn the prestigious top player award in the conference circuit. The senior from Hebron, Conn. currently sits atop the Little East standings in on-base percentage (.533) and base on balls (21), while ranking among the conference leaders in runs batted in (2nd, 42), batting average (3rd, .459), doubles (6th, 10), hits (6th, 51), and total bases (9th, 73). She hit safely in 32 of her 39 contests this spring, including 17 games with multiple base knocks. Rathbun batted .561 (32-for-57) during her season-high 20-game hit streak between April 1 and April 26. She feasted on Little East pitching during her swan song season, sporting a .694 batting average (23-for-36) with three doubles, two home runs, and 17 runs batted in. Rathbun collected a season-high three hits against Salve Regina on March 27, while driving in a season-best five runs against Brandeis University on April 12. The 2009 Little East Rookie of the Year was named the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division III Player of the Week twice this spring.

Rathbun became the first softball player in the conference to receive the top pitching award three years in succession. She also made her fourth appearance on the All-Little East, first-team. According to the latest NCAA Division III statistical report, Rathbun was ranked first in the nation in earned run average, hits allowed per seven innings, shutouts, and victories. In 36 appearances, she is 29-1 with four saves and a miniscule 0.40 earned run average. Rathbun has limited her opponents to just 72 hits and 10 earned runs over the course of 176 innings. She has registered 286 strikeouts, while issuing just 26 walks. Rathbun became the 13th player in Division III history to record 1,000 career strikeouts, reaching the milestone against Western Connecticut on April 24. She hurled the first perfect game for Eastern Connecticut in 27 years, when Rathbun retired each of the 21 Tufts University batters she faced in order on April 15. She also fired a no-hitter against the University of Chicago and Wesleyan University (Conn.) to match the program career record of nine. Rathbun was named the Little East Pitcher of the Week six out of the seven times the award was presented.

Jackson was the second Panther to be chosen as the top rookie in the conference since Kim Jeffs was selected in 2002. The freshman from Nashua, N.H. made her debut on the All-Little East, first-team as the shortstop selection. Jackson made an immediate impact in the Plymouth State lineup, setting the table from the lead-off position. She led the conference in doubles (14), while ranking among the leaders in runs scored (3rd, 44), total bases (3rd, 94), hits (4th, 61), and batting average (5th, .433). Jackson hit safely in 35 of her 41 contests, including 18 with multiple hits. She posted a season-best 17-game hit streak between March 18 and April 11. Jackson collected a season-high four hits twice on the campaign, most recently in the second game of a doubleheader at Lyndon State on April 11. She registered 21 extra base hits, on 14 doubles, two triples, and five home runs. Jackson's fifth and final round-tripper of the season was a grand slam in the first round of the 2012 Little East Softball Championship against Rhode Island College. Defensively, she registered a .900 field percentage and 90 assists from shortstop.

Addison became just the second Plymouth State boss to be selected as the top coach in the Little East, joining Harry Blood who was honored in 2002. Under his direction, the Panthers posted a 21-20 record to reach the 20-win plateau for the third time in the past five seasons. Plymouth State registered a 7-7 mark in the conference circuit to place fourth, marking the program's highest finish since 2003. The Panthers finished strong down the stretch, winning 15 of their final 20 regular-season contests, to enter the conference championship as one of the hottest squads in the six-team field. Plymouth State rallied from an early five-run deficit to defeat third-seeded Rhode Island College 9-8 in the opening round of the tournament. Addison mentored five All-Little East picks, including a trio of first-team selections. Sophomore catcher Sam Hebert (Manchester, N.H.) was recently named to the 2012 Capital One Academic All-District Team as an infield selection. Plymouth State earned a postseason berth into the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III New England Tournament.

Pepin made her third appearance in the past four years and fourth overall as the top coach in the conference circuit. This is the second time in her career she has shared the honor after receiving the award with Rhode Island College's Maria Morin in 2008. Under her watchful eye, Eastern Connecticut was ranked second in the latest edition of the NFCA Division III Poll. The Warriors established a new program standard for single-season victories with a 40-1 mark, including a program-high 39-game winning streak. Pepin guided Eastern Connecticut to the conference's first 14-0 mark and earned the top seed and right to host the Little East Championship. The Warriors defeated intra-state rival Western Connecticut 6-2 in the championship game to raise the conference tournament trophy for the third straight season. Eastern Connecticut earned the automatic qualifier into the NCAA Division III Tournament, marking its fifth straight appearance in the national field. The Warriors received the top-seed in the eight-team Willimantic, Conn. Region. Eastern Connecticut has advanced to the National Championship Round the past two seasons.

Formed in 1986, the Little East serves as New England's premier athletic conference for public institutions in NCAA Division III. Featuring 19 championship sports, the Little East sponsors quality competition in every season for our student athletes. Our eight state colleges and universities dedicate themselves to an ongoing fulfillment of the Division III mission of passion, responsibility, sportsmanship, and citizenship.

2012 All-Little East Softball Teams

 

First-Team

Name

Position

Institution

Sam Hebert

Catcher

Plymouth State University

Magen Dargon

Pitcher

Western Connecticut State University

Molly Rathbun

Pitcher

Eastern Connecticut State University

Haley Chandler

First Base

Keene State College

Amanda Rizzo

Second Base

Western Connecticut State University

Bekah Jackson

Shortstop

Plymouth State University

Arielle Cooper

Third Base

Eastern Connecticut State University

Priscilla Alicea

Outfield

Eastern Connecticut State University

Stacy Pokora

Outfield

Rhode Island College

Jackie Zilnicki

Outfield

Western Connecticut State University

Jenn Bove

Des. Player

Plymouth State University

Sue Killilea

Utility

University of Massachusetts Boston

 

Second-Team

Name

Position

Institution

Megan Bondy

Catcher

Eastern Connecticut State University

Emily Albin

Pitcher

Keene State College

Sara Stocklinski

Pitcher

Keene State College

Samantha Avery

First Base

Western Connecticut State University

Marisa Jandreau

Second Base

Rhode Island College

Danielle Basciano

Shortstop

Western Connecticut State University

Katie Bradford

Shortstop

Keene State College

Katie Davis

Third Base

University of Southern Maine

Jackie Digman

Third Base

Plymouth State University

Natalia Bouyea

Outfield

University of Massachusetts Boston

Laura Chandler

Outfield

Keene State College

Allie Luisi

Outfield

Plymouth State University

Kylee Ruther

Des. Player

Western Connecticut State University

Kelly Paterson

Utility

Eastern Connecticut State University

 

Player of the Year

Molly Rathbun, Eastern Connecticut State University

 

Pitcher of the Year

Molly Rathbun, Eastern Connecticut State University

 

Rookie of the Year

Bekah Jackson, Plymouth State University

 

Coaches of the Year

Bruce Addison, Plymouth State University

Diana Pepin, Eastern Connecticut State University 

 

Team Sportsmanship Award

Western Connecticut State University