May 19, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) announced the 2011 Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I All-Region teams Thursday as a record six Notre Dame softball players earned all-Great Lakes Region honors.
Notre Dame totaled five all-region selectees in 2010, 2009, 2006, 2001 and 1999.
A total of 258 players from 126 different institutions comprised this season's regional teams, including first and second teams for each region.
Just four of the 126 teams had six nominees selected to an all-region team this season. In addition to the Irish, the other three teams were Florida, Alabama and Texas.
The all-region teams were chosen by NFCA member coaches from each region and all the honorees will now be eligible for selection to the Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-America first, second or third teams.
In addition, conference pitchers and players of the year not selected to the regional teams were added for All-America consideration.
The NFCA Division I All-American teams will be announced on June 1.
After missing out on all-BIG EAST honors in 2011, Miller was part of the first team for the third straight season. She joins the company Megan Ciolli, Katie Marten and Terri Kobata as Notre Dame players to cop the award at least three times. Ciolli and Kobata went on to accomplish the feat a fourth time.
Johnson, the BIG EAST Player of the Year, was a first-team all-league choice after setting the BIG EAST record with 82 career RBI against conference foes. Johnson is Notre Dame's career (212) and single-season (68) RBI leader and has registered 60+ hits in three straight seasons. Heading into Friday's NCAA Regional contest against Kentucky, Johnson leads the nation with 240 consecutive starts.
Also a first-team all-BIG EAST performer, Pitzenberger led the league with a .561 batting average and 32 hits. She did not strike out or walk during the regular season, and has been named to the BIG EAST Championship all-tournament team in each of the last two years. Pitzenberger was an NFCA first-team all-region player in 2010.
Maldonado earned the honor one week after being named to the all-BIG EAST first team for the second straight season. She tied for second in league play with 29 hits and seven doubles. Maldonado is one of five Irish players ever to score 50+ runs in a season, and has continued to show steady improvement at the dish while hitting .207 as a freshman, .340 as a sophomore and .420 as a junior.
One of two fifth-year seniors on this year's team, Clay carried a big stick with a .482 batting average in league play to earn a spot on the BIG EAST's first team. She led the league with a .571 on-base pct. and 23 runs scored.
Winter, who was also named to the all-BIG EAST first team, caught national attention by hurling a no-hitter at USF on April 27. She was in the circle during seven shutouts on the season and fanned 208 batters in 170.0 innings of work. Winter ranks sixth in the NCAA with 0.91 walks/game and four saves puts her at 12th nationally. With 23 wins, Winter's total is the second-highest ever by an Irish freshman pitcher.
NFCA All-Great Lakes Region First Team Position - Name - School P - Jordan Taylor - Michigan P - Jenna Caira - Syracuse C - Alexia Clay - Notre Dame 1B - Adrienne Monka - Northwestern 2B - Ashley Lane - Michigan 3B - Amanda Chidester - Michigan SS - Lindsey Hansen - Michigan State OF - Bree Evans - Michigan OF - Alexa Maldonado - Notre Dame OF - Sadie Pitzenberger - Notre Dame UT/Pitcher - Kirsten Verdun - DePaul UT/Non-Pitcher - Dani Miller - Notre Dame
Second Team Position - Name - School P - Laura Winter - Notre Dame P - Sara Moulton - Minnesota C - Brett Williams - Michigan State 1B - Dorian Shaw - Michigan 2B - Teresa Healy - Niagara 3B - Heather Johnson - Notre Dame 3B - Gracie Barstad - Western Michigan SS - Emily Allard - Northwestern OF - Alex Morocco - DePaul OF - Lisaira Daniels - Syracuse OF - Jennifer Krueger - Wisconsin UT/Pitcher - Kari Seddon - Central Michigan UT/Non-Pitcher - Stephanie Tofft - Northern Illinois