Capping a record-setting four-year career that included a NCAA championship, four straight All-America citations, four Northwest Conference titles and three regional crowns, Linfield College softball player Karleigh Prestianni has been selected as the Female Athlete of the Year following a vote of the coaching staff.
This spring, Prestianni captained the Wildcats to a dominating 36-8 season. She enjoyed career-high statistical performances in batting average (.481), on-base percentage (.558), doubles (19) and RBI (59). She struck out just six times in 131 trips to the plate.
It came as no surprise when the Grants Pass, Ore., native was crowned the Northwest Conference Player of the Year and received all-tournament honors at the Tyler (Texas) Regional playoff tournament.
“Karleigh’s impact on our program is hard to put into words,” said Wildcats coach Jackson Vaughan. “Not only was Karleigh a great player this season but also a great leader, mentor and teammate. On the field, she had perhaps her finest all-around season. A huge exclamation point to her magnificent career was when she became only the second player in school history to be named a four-time NFCA All-American.”
Playing 199 games at third base - fifth most in NCAA Division III history - Prestianni finished her career tied for fourth all-time in home runs with 52 and fourth in Division III annals in runs batted in with 225. Through Prestianni’s four seasons, Linfield amassed a staggering overall record of 175-25 and reached the NCAA Division III championship game three straight seasons.
“One of the things that has always stood out to me about Karleigh is her softball knowledge and ability to think the game,” said Vaughan. She always seemed to be one step ahead of the game and her opponents in her situational thinking on defense and she always did a great job of making in-game adjustments offensively. These traits really helped her to become of the finest players in NCAA Division III softball.”
Prestianni’s offensive numbers were complemented by a team-high 27 walks and 13 stolen bases. Defensively, she posted a .939 fielding percentage and had a hand in six doubles plays.
“Karleigh set a great example for her teammates as she continued to work hard to get better every day of her career,” said Vaughan. “This past season, we saw great improvement in her speed and base-running which really was the icing on the cake for one of the greatest all-around players I have had the pleasure to coach.”
'Great leader, mentor and teammate'
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