Kristi Stefanoni Inducted Into Northern Burlington HS Hall of Fame
March 29, 2013
Massachusetts Associate Head Softball Coach Kristi Stefanoni was recently inducted into the Northern Burlington Regional School District Athletic Hall of Fame. Stefanoni was enshrined among five individuals and a team as part of the school's sixth Hall of Fame class.
Stefanoni, who earned four varsity letters in softball, field hockey and participated on a weightlifting team from 1999-2003, described her initial reaction as shock and a total surprise when she was informed in November of the honor.
"I was shocked to tell you the truth," said the 2006 UMass graduate who is in her seventh year on Elaine Sortino's staff. "Their Hall of Fame is fairly new and I honestly never imagined that I would ever go in. It's not something I ever thought about. I was extremely honored and thrilled when I got the phone call."
The Columbus, N.J. native hit .447 with an on-base percentage of .554 in her senior yeas as she led the Greyhounds to the first softball state championship in school history. She was named to the All-Area and All-South Jersey squads that season, capping a career as a two-time All-Conference, All-Group and All-County pick.
But for all of that success offensively, Stefanoni is particularly proud of her skills in the field. She was a two-time Defensive Player of the Year and credits the tutelage of her prep coach, Brian Wolverton, for making the standout at second base.
"He's pretty much the reason I played defense the way I played it," she recalled about Overton, who went 193-71 at NBCRHS. "He taught me how to be tough and gritty on defense. That's the reason I got recruited to play at UMass.
"Elaine (Sortino) found me and recruited me, but he was one of the biggest people in developing me as a softball player."
Stefanoni looks back on her time in high school as the start of one of the greatest stretches in her life.
"Besides college, it was the best time I had in my athletic career. We won the first state championship my senior year and I was also part of the field hockey team that won our school's first-ever sectional championship, which put us into the state championship.
"Those are some of my fondest memories in terms of being part of two things that were extremely special in the school's athletic history."
Stefanoni earned a degree in Psychology and was a co-captain for the Minutewomen her senior year. She started almost every game at second base her last three seasons while being one of the most disciplined players at the plate. Stefanoni showed great range in the field and compiled a career fielding percentage of .950 in nearly 500 chances.
She scored 75 runs in her career while compiling a .350 on-base percentage. She dropped down 24 sacrifice bunts, stole 26 bases and successfully advanced runners almost 50 percent of the time in her career. Stefanoni had 14 career doubles, two triples, one home run and 27 RBI as well as 11 multi-hit and five multi-RBI games in her career.
Since concluding her playing career, she has served on Sortino's staff in a variety of coaching roles, while being elevated to her current role of associate head coach this past summer.
n her six seasons on the UMass staff, The Minutewomen have a cumulative record of 231-79-2 (.743), winning the Atlantic 10 Championship and advancing to the NCAA Tournament five times each. In Stefanoni's four years as a player, UMass went 151-64-1 (.715) with three A-10 Championships, four NCAA Tournament appearances, including a Super Regional berth in 2006. She has been a part of the program for nine years, being a part of 344 victories.
Working with the UMass outfielders, Stefanoni has coached 11 Atlantic 10 All-Conference outfielders and back-to-back Conference Players of the Year in Carly Normandin (2009) and Katie Bettencourt (2010). Normandin was a 2009 NFCA All-American and, along with Lauren Proctor, each earned three All-Conference nods.
Stefanoni's work with slap hitters has also yielded two of the best in program history. Candice Molinari was a first-team All-Conference centerfielder twice while compiling .388 and .401 batting averages with 46 combined stolen bases in her junior and senior seasons in 2006 and 2007, Stefanoni's first two as assistant coach, coming after a pair of sub-.300 seasons. Centerfielder Cyndil Matthew burst on the scene as a sophomore in 2011, batting a team-best .324 with 22 runs scored and earning All-Conference honors before grabbing Easton Second Team All-America plaudits in 2012 when she hit .409 with a .476 on-base percentage and a single-season school-record 36 steals.
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