LOUISVILLE, Ky. – For the second straight season, Linfield College’s Emilee Lepp has been named the Diamond Sports Catcher of the Year for NCAA Division III, the National Fastpitch Coaches Association announced.
Lepp helped guide Linfield to the national championship game for the third consecutive year. With Lepp starting every game at catcher, the Wildcats totaled 46 victories, a ninth consecutive Northwest Conference title and a third-straight regional crown.
“Emilee is very deserving of this award,” said Linfield coach Jackson Vaughan. “Her combination of consistent defense behind the plate, speed on the bases and the ability to hit for power made her an extremely special player.”
During her senior season, Lepp hit an impressive .384 with 12 doubles, 17 home runs and 63 RBIs, while heading the squad with 29 steals in 30 attempts. By crossing the home plate 67 times, she finished her career as the Division III leader in career runs scored (247) and also finished as the all-time leader in at-bats (687). She committed just three errors in 352 chances behind the plate on her way to an impressive .991 fielding percentage.
“To have someone in your lineup who can hit 17 home runs, steal more than 20 bases, and drive in runs the way she did is very rare,” said Vaughan. “There are not too many catchers who possess the kind of speed Emilee has. She was athletic enough to have played almost any position on the field.”
Lepp said winning the Diamond Sports Catcher of the Year award “is such an honor because I know there were a lot of really good catchers across the country. It’s really a reflection of how good our team was. The whole team worked so hard to push one another every day. The Diamond Sports Award is just such a huge compliment to our whole program.”
Lepp, who graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science, is one of 10 high school and college student-athletes from across the country to be so honored. The Diamond Sports Catcher of the Year is presented annually to the top catcher from NFCA member institutions in the following divisions: NCAA (Divisions I, II and III), NAIA, NJCAA (Divisions I, II and III), Cal JC, NWAACC and high school.
A committee comprised of head coaches from each of the 10 divisions determined the winners.
17 home runs, 29 stolen bases, .991 fielding percentage
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