SALEM, Va. - A remarkable season that produced 42 wins is reaping more dividends for the Linfield College Wildcats, who slotted four players on the National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-America teams, announced Thursday evening at the NCAA tournament banquet at the eight-team Division III Finals.
Perhaps the most prolific all-around hitters in NCAA Division III history, Doucette holds the Division III career record for home runs (71) and ranks second all-time in RBI (256). She is also fifth in slugging percentage and 15th all-time in batting average (.486). Doucette was appointed a first team NFCA All-American for the fourth time of her career, twice as a first baseman and two more times as a shortstop.
“Staci has been a mainstay in our offense the last four seasons and a huge reason why we have made it to the national championship series the last three years,” said Wildcats coach Jackson Vaughan. “On top of all the records, we are going to miss her smile and love for the game next season.”
Lepp picked up her second straight first team All-America citation and third All-America award in four seasons.
Considered one of the greatest all-around softball players in NCAA Division III history, Lepp holds Division III career records for runs scored (241) and is second in hits (286), home runs (65) and ranks third in RBI (248). As a junior in 2011, she was the Honda Player of the Year, saluting the nation’s top catcher, after leading the nation in hits and runs while hitting a Division III-record 29 home runs.
“Emilee is our most gifted all-around athlete and one of our team's hardest workers,” said Vaughan. “She caught all 47 games for us and is a force in every aspect of the game. She is able to hit for average and power, steal bases and lead our pitching staff from behind the plate. She’s a huge reason for the success of our program and someone we are going to miss tremendously next season.”
Karleigh Prestianni, a repeat first team selection, collected All-America honors for the third time.
Prestianni ranks 14th in NCAA Division III history with 43 home runs, including the go-ahead homer in the 2011 national championship victory over Christopher Newport. Her 163 RBI ranks fourth all-time at Linfield with one full season left to play.
“Karleigh is a great player with the ability to hit for average and power,” said Vaughan. “She does a great job for us at third base and really became one of our team leaders this year in the infield. Karleigh has a great mind for the game and is an invaluable part of our team's offensive and defensive success.”
Receiving third team All-America honors for the first time is pitcher Karina Paavola (Sr., Kelso, Wash.).
An imposing presence in the circle with the combination of velocity, movement, and control, Paavola has amassed 30 wins, seven shutouts and 230 strikeouts in two short seasons.
“Karina really stepped up for our team this year and filled a big pitching void,” said Vaughan. She’s a very hard worker who became our go-to pitcher as the season developed and helped lead our team return to Salem with a great season from start to finish. We are very excited about Karina's future as she continues to develop into one of the elite pitchers in the country.”
Linfield (42-5) reached the NCAA Finals for the third straight season and plays Ohio Northern in the opening round Friday.
Paavola, Lepp, Vaughan, Prestianni, Doucette
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