April 17, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – University of Notre Dame freshman outfielder Karley Wester has been tabbed as one of the top 25 finalists for the inaugural National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division I National Freshman of the Year award, the NFCA announced on Thursday.
In its first season of existence, the NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year award was created to recognize the outstanding athletic accomplishments of freshmen softball student-athletes from Division I institutions.
On May 8, the initial finalist list will be trimmed down to the top 10 finalists, while the top three finalists will be selected and released on May 22. The inaugural NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year trophy will be presented during a live ceremony on May 27 prior to the opening of the annual Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City, Okla.
Wester became the first ever Notre Dame recipient of Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Player of the Week recognition earlier this season on Feb. 17. Primarily a slap hitter, she leads all Irish players with a .440 batting average, a .496 on-base percentage, 51 hits, 20 stolen bases (in 23 attempts) and five outfield assists.
The Huntington Beach, Calif. native’s 14 multiple-hit games are the most among all Notre Dame players, and an early season 16-game on-base streak is still a team-high for 2014. Wester has also posted the longest hitting streak by an Irish batter this season, with a current streak of 11 straight games with at least one base hit dating back to March 15 at Virginia Tech.
Since assuming the leadoff role in the Notre Dame lineup on April 1 against Ball State, Wester has flourished in the top spot of the Irish order, batting .613 (19-for-31) with four RBI, six stolen bases and nine runs scored in her last eight starts. She has added five multiple-hit contests during the stretch, including four games with three or more hits.
Wester is currently the number two ranked hitter in batting average among all ACC players with her .440 clip this season, and is also in the conference top 10 in on-base percentage, hits, runs scored and stolen bases.