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KRISTIE PICKERAL NAMED NEC SOFTBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR
UMBC third baseman Kristie Pickeral (Hughesville, MD/Thomas Stone), last year’s NEC Rookie of the Year, was voted by league headcoaches as the 2003 NEC Player of the Year. Long Island sophomore pitcher Jackie Brown (Westminster, CA/Fountain Valley) was named NEC Pitcher of theYear, marking the third time in the last four years that a Blackbird hurler has taken home the honor. Robert Morris freshman third baseman Kali Byers (Alum Bank,PA/Chestnut Ridge) was selected NEC Rookie of the Year after having an outstanding freshman campaign for the Colonials. Long Island head coach RoyKortmann earned recognition from his peers yet again, garnering NEC Coach of the Year hardware for the the fourth straight year. The honorees were announced,along with the NEC First and Second All-Conference teams, at the Northeast Conference Tournament banquet this evening. The 2003 NEC Softball Tournamentwill take place on the campus of Long Island University in Brooklyn, NY on Friday, May 9 and Saturday, May 10. After being named NEC Rookie of the Year in 2002, Pickeral didn’t waste any time in making the jump to NEC Player of the Year in 2003. The sophomorestandout was dominant in league play, batting .507 with 17 runs, 37 hits, five doubles, seven home runs, 32 runs batted in and a .863 slugging percentage, while alsoposting a .977 fielding percentage from her post at third base. On the season, she tops the NEC in hits (74) and RBIs (56), ranks third in batting average (.396)and home runs (11) and is tied for fourth in runs scored (33). Pickeral, who currently ranks 20th in RBI per game (0.96) in the most recent NCAA stats, will be akey component to UMBC’s run for a second consecutive NEC Championship, as they enter this weekend’s tournament as the #1 seed after finishing the regularseason as co-champions with Long Island. Brown takes home NEC Pitcher of the Year honors after posting an 8-1 mark and 1.53 earned run average in league action. She also threw three shutouts againstNEC opponents, allowing just 50 hits, 14 earned runs and eight walks, while striking out 28 in 64.0 innings of work. After starting the season at 0-8 against sometop nationally ranked non-conference competition, Brown went on to close out the regular season by winning 11 of her last 13 decisions. Overall, the Westminster,CA native holds an 11-10 record with a 2.40 ERA, four shutouts, one save and 55 strikeouts. Byers was selected NEC Rookie of the Year after batting .333 with 16 runs, 41 hits, eight doubles, one triple, 11 home runs, 34 runs batted in and a .683 sluggingpercentage. The rookie sensation was a bright spot for Robert Morris, setting a new single-season Colonial home run record, while also leading the team in runsbatted in, slugging percentage, walks (21) and on-base percentage (.450). She closed the season ranked second on the team in batting average and hits. Inconference action, Byers batted .357, had a .714 slugging percentage and a .486 on-base percentage. Long Island head coach Roy Kortmann picks up his fourth consecutive NEC Coach of the Year award, earning the honor for an unprecedented sixth time in the lasteight years. He guided the Blackbirds to a 26-19 overall record and 19-3 conference mark, sharing regular season co-champion honors with UMBC. UnderKortmann’s leadership, LIU has now won four straight regular season titles and two championship crowns. He has led the Blackbirds to 26 or more wins the lastseven seasons and over his nine years at the helm, has recorded 247 victories. Joining Pickeral and Brown on the all-conference first team are four other past all-NEC performers and six newly annointed all-stars. Long Island leads the squadwith five players, followed by UMBC with two, and one each from Monmouth, Quinnipiac, Robert Morris, St. Francis (PA) and Wagner. LIU seniors Rosette Rough (Carson City, NV/Carson) and Crystal Eubanks (LaPalma, CA/John F. Kennedy) each make their third appearance on the all-NECteam, while senior second baseman Kathy Waddilove (Henderson, NV/Green Valley) and freshman utility player Alissa Villanueva (Pacoima, CA/Kennedy) maketheir first appearance. Rough becomes a three-time honoree in the outfield after leading the squad in batting average (.383), slugging percentage (.604) on-basepercentage (.447), hits (57) and stolen bases (16-17), while sharing the team lead in triples (3) and home runs (5). After having been named all-conference atpitcher in 2001 & 2002 and NEC Pitcher of the Year in 2000, Eubanks is selected at designated player to close out her collegiate career. The LaPalma, CA nativebatted .358 with seven runs, 19 hits, four doubles, three home runs, seven RBI and a .604 slugging percentage in league play. Waddilove, a steady player for theBlackbirds throughout her career, earns her first all-NEC honor after batting .314 with 21 runs, 38 hits, eight doubles, one triple, two home runs and 22 runs battedin, while posting 101 putouts, 88 assists and only six errors (just one in NEC play) for a .969 fielding percentage. Villanueva made an immediate impact for a strongLIU squad, batting .330 with 25 runs, 38 hits, six doubles, two home runs, 17 RBI, 15 bases on balls and swiped all seven of her stolen base attempts. Pickeral is joined by Retriever teammate, junior outfielder Lauren Hebb (Bowie, MD/Prince George’s CC) on the all-conference first team. In her first year atUMBC, Hebb is currently batting .382 overall and .400 in NEC action, while leading the league in runs scored (59), home runs (15) and total bases (125). Shealso ranks second in the conference in hits (65) and runs batted in (50). Sophomore outfielder Kristin Wilson (Belleville, NJ/Belleville) of Monmouth and sophomore shortstop Sarah Collins (Bedford, MA./Bedford) of Quinnipiacrepresent the rest of the tournament bound teams on the all-NEC first team. A major component to the Bobcats (#3 seed) first-ever tournament berth, Collins leadsthe league with a .432 batting average, while also ranking among the NEC leaders in hits (63), runs scored (33), runs batted in (37), home runs (12) and total bases(115). Wilson batted .403 for the #4 seeded Hawks, ranking second in the league in BA, while also tallying 21 runs, 56 hits, five doubles, one triple and five RBIon the year. Both Collins and Wilson were members of the all-NEC second team as freshman last year. Rounding out the first team honorees are St. Francis (PA) freshman pitcher Brittany Shepherd (Conyers, GA/Heritage), Wagner junior catcher Jessica Van Manen(Staten Island, NY/Curtis) and Robert Morris sophomore first baseman Brandi Doerschner (Pittsburgh, PA/Carrick). Shepherd posted a 7-3 record, 1.28 ERAand 81 strikeouts in NEC play, while ranking second in the league with 130 strikeouts on the year. Van Manen hit .340 with 18 runs, 32 hits, six doubles, five homeruns, 18 RBI, 27 bases on balls and stole 6-of-8 bases and was even better in conference play, batting .460. Doerschner led the Colonials in batting average(.336), hits (46) and doubles (10), while also scoring 14 runs and batting in 20 runs on the year. The Northeast Conference second team is comprised of three returning all-star performers and nine new all-NEC selections. Joining Byers on the squad are fourplayers from UMBC, two from Mount St. Mary’s and Quinnipiac and one each from Long Island, Monmouth and St. Francis (PA). Retriever senior shortstop Lisa Boone (Owings, MD/Northern) is a four-time all-conference selection, making her first appearance on the postseason team at aninfield position. She was named all-NEC first team the last two years and all-NEC second team during her rookie campaign, all in the outfield. Boone is batting.332 and currently ranks third in the league in hits (63) and runs scored (38), while also tallying 12 doubles, three triples, two home runs and 24 RBI on the year. Senior outfielder Abbie Kahn (Fairfax, VA/Fairfax), junior utility player Sarah Crowell (Fairless Hills, PA/Pennsbury) and freshman pitcher Lauren Nicholson(Audobon, NJ/Paul VI) all make their first appearance on the all-conference team. Kahn is hitting .318 overall and .356 in league play, while recording 24 runs, 57hits, 14 doubles, two home runs and 34 runs batted in. Crowell is batting at a .324 clip with 23 runs, 45 hits, three doubles, one home run and 19 runs batted in. Nicholson was dominant in NEC action from the mound, going 10-0 with a 2.16 ERA and 18-7 overall with a 2.13 ERA. Senior first baseman Elizabeth Moriarty (Hillsborough, NJ/Hillsborough) and freshman second baseman Nicole Otten (Mehoopany, PA/Tunkhannock) representQuinnipiac on the all-conference second team. Moriarty is hitting .383 with 25 runs, 49 hits, 14 doubles, five triples, two home runs, 23 runs batted in and a .617slugging percentage. Otten is batting .338 with 15 runs, 26 hits, four doubles, five home runs and 16 runs batted in. Junior designated player Jen Sansevero (Hazlet, NJ/Raritan) and freshman catcher Danyale Goode (Ellicott, MD/Seton Keough) represent Mount St. Mary’s on theall-NEC second team. Goode had an outstanding rookie campaign, batting .328 with 18 runs, 40 hits, seven doubles, three triples, four home runs, 15 RBI and hadeight stolen bases. Goode also threw out nine would-be base stealers. Sansevero batted .362 with five runs, 17 hits, seven doubles and eight RBI in NEC action. After making the all-NEC first team in 1999 and 2000, senior pitcher Kim Lyall (Bristol, PA/Conwell-Egan) of Monmouth makes her way back on theall-conference squad with a second team appearance this year. Lyall posted a 7-5 mark and 2.40 earned run average in NEC play and went 9-13 with a 3.06 ERAoverall. She ranks third in the league in strikeouts with 117 K’s. St. Francis (PA) senior outfielder Stacy Scofield (Stewartstown, PA/Kennard-Dale) makes her second straight appearance on the all-NEC second team, afterhaving been named to the squad as a pitcher last year. She closed out her senior campaign batting .314 with 28 runs, 44 hits, eight doubles, two triples, three homeruns and 11 RBI. Long Island freshman outfielder Leah Glenn (Huntington Beach, CA/Edison) rounds out the all-NEC second team. She was outstanding in league play, batting .462and posting a slugging percentage of .538 and on-base percentage of .500. On the year, Glen is hitting .241 and has been flawless in the field with a perfect 1.000fielding percentage. The Northeast Conference Softball Tournament gets underway on Friday, May 9 with the opening round game pitting defending champion and #1 seed UMBCversus #4 seed Monmouth at 11:00 am, followed by #2 Long Island against #3 Quinnipiac at 1:00 pm. The championship game is slated for 1:00 pm (and ifnecessary a 3:00 pm game to follow) on Saturday, May 10. All games will be played on the campus of Long Island University in Brooklyn, NY.