Portions courtesy of NFCA and Marian University athletics communications
LOUISVILLE, Ky. --- Aurora University senior Elaine Walker (Schaumburg, Ill.) and Marian University junior Ally Fox (Greenville, Wis.) have made the 25-player cut for the 2019 Schutt Sports/NFCA Division III National Pitcher and Player of the Year honors, the Association announced today.
Walker finished the 2019 season with a .474 batting average with 48 runs scored, 43 runs batted in, 14 doubles, one triple and nine home runs. A two-time Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference Player of the Year, she was the 2016 Louisville Slugger/NFCA First Team All-American at catcher. Walker is a three-time NFCA Great Lakes region All-Region performer and a four-time NACC First-Team All-Conference selection.
As Walker departs her playing career at AU, she leaves as the all-time leader in batting average at .444, hits (275), singles (187), doubles (54), at bats (619) and runs batted in (163).
Fox had a dominant season at the plate proving herself as one of the best hitters in the NACC. She ranked fourth in the country, second in the NACC, with 71 hits on the season posting the best batting average in the conference, eighth-best in the nation, at .511. Fox also posted the highest on-base percentage in the NACC while ranking 13th in the country at .567. Her .612 slugging percentage was the fifth-highest in the conference as she went on to record 85 total bases, third in the NACC.
Her .511 batting average was the first time in program history a Sabre hitter finished above .500 for the category, while her 71 hits also set a program record becoming the first Sabre to ever record more than 70 hits. The .567 on-base percentage was the second-highest for a single season in Sabre history marking only the sixth time in Marian history a hitter recorded an on-base percentage above .500.
Her impact went beyond her bat as she led the NACC with 28 stolen bases on the season setting a single-season Marian record. She also set an all-time record for stolen bases in Sabre softball history posting 74 swipes in her three seasons.
Virginia Wesleyan University junior pitcher Hanna Hull, who has won the Schutt Sports/NFCA Division III National Player of the Year award the past two seasons, highlights a star-studded list.
Two schools — Coe College and the University of St. Thomas (Minn.) have two players currently on the list, while 21 institutions have one player apiece. The Great Lakes and West regions have the most players on the list — with five each — while the Atlantic, East and Midwest have four representatives, and the Central, New England and Northeast have one apiece.
In all, there are 16 seniors, four juniors and four sophomores in the group. East Texas Baptist University pitcher/utility player Beatriz Lara is the lone freshman in the mix.
The list, which started with 50 names, will be cut one more time — to 10 finalists — before just one pitcher and player remain at the conclusion of the season. The two winners will come from the 10 finalists chosen at the next update.
A Pitcher of the Year award was added to the Player of the Year honor prior to this season. The list is compiled annually by the NFCA's Division III All-America committee.
To view and download the full list, please click HERE.