Balschmiter, Normandin, & Sortino Take A-10's Top Season Honors
May 5, 2009
AMHERST, Mass. - UMass softball teammates Carly Normandin and Brandice Balschmiter have been named the 2009 Atlantic 10 Softball Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively, while head coach Elaine Sortino has been named the conference's Coach of the Year, in voting conducted among the Conference's head coaches. This is Balschmiter's fourth consecutive Pitcher of the Year award, while it is Sortino's third-straight and 10th overall conference coaching honor.
Sarah Reeves, Whitney Mollica and Samantha Salato all joined Balschmiter and Normandin on the All-Conference first team. Also on the first team were Charlotte's Sarah Malene, Serena Smith and Emily Jeffery; Samantha Pellechio of Fordham; Brooke Darreff and Monica Aguilar of Saint Joseph's; and Dayton's Lauren Nacke. The A-10 first-team honored 12 student-athletes due to a tie in voting at third base between Mollica and Aguilar.
Kyllie Magill and Whitney Williams were both named to the All-Conference second team, joined by Katie Johns, Kristin Nicoletti and Nicki Jost of Saint Louis; Fordham's Jocelyn Dearborn, Melissa Andrews and Jen Mineau; Erika Rosenwinkel and Dani Gonzales of Saint Joseph's; and La Salle's Gina Massaro.
Sara Plourde and Magill were both named to the All-Rookie team, joined by Aguilar, Nacke, and Mineau from the All-Conference teams along with Lindsey Kay Bright from Fordham; Temple's Jess Hirschbuhl; Erin Cejka and Kelcie Matesa of Saint Louis.
Mollica was also named to the A-10 All-Academic team.
Normandin enters this week's Atlantic 10 Championship (May 6-9) as the A-10's leading batter with a .439 overall average and an impressive .515 batting average in Conference play. The junior outfielder from Gardner, Mass., also leads the league in slugging percentage (.770), hits (65) and total bases (114), while ranking second in on-base percentage (.478), doubles (14), triples (four) and runs scored (46). She has ranked in the top 20 all season nationally in batting average and is in the top ten in doubles per game (0.36). A three-time A-10 Player of the Week, she is also making her second straight appearance on the All-Conference first-team.
Balschmiter, who garners her fourth-straight A-10 Pitcher of the Year award, enters the Championship with the league's lowest ERA at 0.96 and ranks fourth nationally in shutouts with a league-leading 18 on the year. She becomes just the second student-athlete in A-10 history to garner four consecutive major awards for her sport as Karo Isajan of La Salle was named the Most Outstanding Diver of the Year in men's swimming & diving from 2004-2007. A native of Newark, N.Y., Balschmiter has held opponents to a .178 batting average and boasts a record of 28 wins and just four losses, including a perfect 12-0 mark in league play. She was named the A-10 Pitcher of the Week a league-record 28 times in her career and has posted nine career no-hitters, including two this season.
Now in her 30th year at Massachusetts, Sortino has earned the A-10 Coach of the Year award an unprecedented 10 times, this time for leading the Minutewomen to their 21st A-10 regular season title and the top seed in the A-10 Championship. Last season, she became just the 11th coach in NCAA history and eighth in Division I annals to reach the 1,000- win plateau. She boasts a career record of 1,052-440-5 (.704).
In that same vote, Saint Joseph's third-baseman Aguilar has been tabbed the Rookie of the Year. Additionally, senior Mary Beth Puccio, a designated player from Fordham, is the Softball Student-Athlete of the Year in voting among the Conference's sports information directors.
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