Lehigh senior Rebecca Bliss was named Pitcher of the Year and earned her fourth All-Patriot League citation on Tuesday.
May 7, 2013
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. – History was made Tuesday as the head softball coaches named Lehigh freshman Morgan Decker both the Patriot League Player and Rookie of the Year, it was announced by the League office. Decker becomes the first in League softball history named to both awards at the same time, and it comes one year after Army’s Morgan Lashley captured double honors as the Pitcher and Rookie of the Year.
Voting was conducted the League’s six head coaches who could not cast a ballot for their own student-athletes or themselves.
Decker headed up a Lehigh sweep of the four major awards. Senior Rebecca Bliss captured Pitcher of the Year honors, and Fran Troyan was named Coach of the Year.
Because of ties in the voting, the All-League First Team expanded to 15 student-athletes, while seven were honored with second-team laurels.
Lehigh led with seven All-League selections, including a League-best six on the first team. Army was second with five All-Leaguers, followed by Bucknell’s four and three for Holy Cross. Colgate placed two on the All-League squad and Lafayette had one.
Eighteen of the 22 selections to the All-League team are members of the four teams that qualified for this week’s Patriot League Tournament, scheduled to get underway Thursday at Lehigh’s Kaufman Field in Bethlehem, Pa.
Decker enters the Patriot League Tournament with a legitimate chance to be a triple crown champion. She leads the League in batting (.417), home runs (eight) and RBI (44), and is tops in several other offensive categories such as slugging (.712), on-base percentage (.546) and walks (34). She’s tied for second in the League with 15 doubles, sitting just one shy of entering the League’s single-season top 10. Her RBI total is tied for eighth in a season in League annals. During League games Decker was just as effective, batting .456 with three home runs and 16 RBI while amassing a League-leading 14 walks. Decker is Lehigh’s seventh overall Player of the Year and fifth in the last seven seasons. She is also the third Mountain Hawk named the League’s top rookie since the award was instituted in 2002.
Bliss has headed up a potent 1-2 punch in the circle for Lehigh and enters the tournament second in the League in wins (19) and second in earned-run average (1.66). She’s tossed 160 innings thus far in 26 appearances, holding opposing hitters to .224 at the plate while striking out 75 and logging three solo shutouts. During League games Bliss tossed 65 innings with a 10-0 mark and a 1.29 ERA, striking out 34 while walking only four in 10 appearances and nine complete games. She held opponents’ hitters to just .215 at the dish and averaged just .43 walks allowed per seven innings. Bliss, the reigning two-time Patriot League Tournament Most Valuable Player, is the 11th Lehigh hurler named Pitcher of the Year.
Troyan picks up his second consecutive Coach of the Year trophy and fifth overall. He is just the second in League history to garner back-to-back honors, joining legendary Army coach Jim Flowers (1991-92). Troyan thus far has guided the Mountain Hawks to a 35-14-1 overall mark. The team’s 17-3 League record won the conference regular season by five games. Lehigh is hosting the League Tournament for the second straight season and is seeking its third consecutive championship and eighth in its last 10 years.
Decker (at third base) and Bliss were both named first-team All-Leaguers by the head coaches, with the latter picking up her fourth career All-League citation and third on the top team. Joining them on the top squad at first base were Holy Cross senior Sam Fregenti (.330, 3 HR, 15 RBI) and Lehigh sophomore Cassie Waggy (.257, 3 HR, 25 RBI). Army senior Alex Reynolds (.363, 4 HR, 41 RBI) was named to the squad at second base, while Bucknell sophomore Cydnee Sanders (.321, 12 RBI, 19 R) and Lafayette freshman Brittany Paul (.288, 46 H, 16 R) earned their placements at shortstop. Army rookie Kasey McCravey (.321, 4 HR, 33 RBI) joined Decker on the top team at third.
A pair of catchers made the All-League team in Lehigh senior Liz Lucas and Colgate freshman Mariel Schlaefer (.315, 7 HR, 23 RBI). Holy Cross freshman Colleen Ahern (.283, 2 HR, 21 RBI) earned first-team laurels as a designated player. Three outfielders earned first-team accolades including Colgate senior Alana Dyson (.365, 54 H, 25 R), Lehigh senior Rosie Roessel (.367, 39 R, 21 SB) and Army junior Amanda Nguyen (.378, 76 H, 43 R, League-record 36 SB). Lehigh sophomore pitcher Emily Bausher (14-6, 1.55 ERA, 6 SHO) rounded out the top squad of 15.
Making the second team were Lehigh freshman Alexis Watanabe (.361, 15 RBI, 45 R) at second base, Bucknell sophomore designated player Erin Cox (.274, 4 HR, 18 RBI), outfielders Kristen Zahn (Bucknell sophomore; .341, 3 HR, 16 RBI), Christian McKone (Army freshman; .321, 52 H, 33 R) and Emily Jarvis (Holy Cross freshman; .349, 3 HR, 19 RBI, 18 SB). Lashley (25-11, 2.30 ERA, 4 SHO), a sophomore, and Bucknell freshman Amanda Fazio (10-13, 2.75 ERA, 3 SHO) rounded out the second team in the circle.
Fregenti became just the second from Holy Cross to earn All-League laurels four times in a career. She joins former Crusader hurler Genoa Grosch, who garnered four first-team selections from 1996-99. Fregenti earned first-team laurels three times in her career (2009-10, ’13) and one second-team selection (2012).
For Reynolds, Roessel, Lucas, Dyson and Nguyen, it is their third selections to the All-League team.
The 2013 Patriot League Tournament is slated to begin Thursday with No. 1 seed Lehigh taking on fourth seed Colgate at noon and second-seeded Army battling No. 3 Bucknell at 2:30 p.m. Friday’s action is set for 11 a.m. with three games on the schedule, and the championship will be decided Saturday starting at noon. Lehigh’s Kaufman Field will serve as host.
2013 Softball All-Patriot League and Major Awards
Player of the Year – Morgan Decker, Lehigh, Fr.
Pitcher of the Year – Rebecca Bliss, Lehigh, Sr.
Rookie of the Year – Morgan Decker, Lehigh, Fr.
Coach of the Year – Fran Troyan, Lehigh
First Team All-League*
1B – Sam Fregenti, Holy Cross, Sr.
1B – Cassie Waggy, Lehigh, So.
2B – Alex Reynolds, Army, Sr.
SS – Cydnee Sanders, Bucknell, So.
SS – Brittany Paul, Lafayette, Fr.
3B – Kasey McCravey, Army, Fr.
3B – Morgan Decker, Lehigh, Fr.
C – Liz Lucas, Lehigh, Sr.
C – Mariel Schlaefer, Colgate, Fr.
DP – Colleen Ahern, Holy Cross, Fr.
OF – Alana Dyson, Colgate, Sr.
OF – Rosie Roessel, Lehigh, Sr.
OF – Amanda Nguyen, Army, Jr.
P – Rebecca Bliss, Lehigh, Sr.
P – Emily Bausher, Lehigh, So.
Second Team All-League
2B – Alexis Watanabe, Lehigh, Fr.
DP – Erin Cox, Bucknell, So.
OF – Kristen Zahn, Bucknell, So.
OF – Christian McKone, Army, Fr.
OF – Emily Jarvis, Holy Cross, Fr.
P – Morgan Lashley, Army, So.
P – Amanda Fazio, Bucknell, Fr.
* 15 members on the first team because of ties in the voting