Posted: Thursday, May 29, 2014
Media Contact: Dave Costello, 815-921-4516
The NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) national office announced the 2014 Dudley® NJCAA Softball Players of the Year this week and Rock Valley College's Amanda Blankenship has earned NJCAA Division III Pitcher of the Year honors.
Blankenship, a sophomore from Belvidere North High School, was essentially unhittable in the national tournament en route to winning NJCAA tournament MVP and Pitcher of the Tournament. She picked up all four wins in the Golden Eagles' run to the national championship, going 4-0 in three starts with a 0.30 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 23 1/3 innings pitched.
Blankenship was one of only four pitchers in the DIII ranks to win at least 20 games as she went 21-5 with a 1.97 ERA in 34 games, while striking out 241 hitters (second most in the nation) in 181 innings pitched. She was 8-0 in conference play with a 1.38 ERA in 12 games on her way to earning first team All-Conference and N4C MVP honors. Her other honors this season include first team NJCAA All-American, first team All-Region for NJCAA Region IV, and NJCAA Division III Pitcher of the Week for back-to-back weeks in April.
The NJCAA national office also released the winners of the 2014 NJCAA Softball Marucci Elite Hitter awards. The awards are presented to the All-America nominee from each district with the highest batting average and Rock Valley College's Danielle Walker received the honor for NJCAA Division III, District G.
Walker, a sophomore short stop from Rockford Guilford High School, finished the season with a .503 batting average, collecting 86 hits in 51 games, including 10 home runs, 82 runs batted in, and 63 runs scored to lead RVC in each of those five categories. She was a first team NJCAA All-American, first team All-Conference, first team All-Region, and was selected to the NJCAA All-tournament Team.
Blankenship and Walker helped propel RVC to its first national championship for softball and a record-setting 42-9 season.