All-Region Honors for Hilltopper Softball Stars
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Three West Liberty University softball players were named to the NCAA Division II All-Atlantic Region Team on Wednesday afternoon when the National Fast Pitch Coaches Association (NFCA) announced its 2021 All-Region selections.
Senior pitcher Makenzie Amend, junior catcher Kat Donzella and sophomore pitcher Annie Paterson were the Hilltoppers’ three All-Region selections, tying Coach Herb Minch’s Mountain East Conference champion Hilltoppers (35-15) with Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference powers Seton Hill and Shepherd for the most All-Region selections in the region. Amend was a first-team All-Region pick with Donzella and Paterson earning second-team honors.
Amend, the 2021 MEC Pitcher of the Year, carries a 10-2 record and an Atlantic Region-best 1.15 ERA into next week’s Atlantic Region Tournament. She opened last week’s MEC Tournament with the first no-hitter in tournament history and came back to earn the win in Sunday’s championship game. Amend has fanned 149 batters and allowed just 48 hits in 91.0 innings this season. The school’s career record holder with 494 strikeouts, she ranks No. 3 nationally in strikeouts/7 innings (11.5) and No. 7 in hits/7 innings (3.69).
The 2021 MEC Player of the Year, Donzella was also voted MEC Tournament MVP after helping lead WLU to its second straight title. Donzella is hitting .461 with a .786 slugging percentage and .525 on-base average. She has 71 hits including 18 doubles, a triple and 10 home runs with 34 RBIs. Donzella led the MEC in batting average, slugging percentage on-base average, runs, hits, doubles, home runs and total bases despite having been moved to leadoff the last half of the year due to teams pitching around her. An elite defensive catcher, she also led the MEC with 11 caught stealing and committed just two errors in 478 total chances.
Paterson, a first-team All-MEC selection, was the left-handed half of West Liberty’s lethal 1-2 pitching combo. The hard-throwing sophomore led the MEC with 153 strikeouts in 107 2/3 innings and ranked No. 2 in the league (behind Amend) with a 1.17 ERA. Paterson was also a potent force with the bat, ranking among the team’s top three in batting average, slugging percentage and on-base average. She slammed a game-winning home run in the 9th inning of the MEC Tournament’s championship semifinal on Sunday to punch WLU’s ticket to the winner-take-all championship game.
Last week’s MEC Tournament championship vaulted the Black and Gold into this week’s NCAA Division II Atlantic Region rankings at No. 5 while locking up a return trip to the Atlantic Region Tournament, scheduled for May 19-21 at Kutztown (Pa.) University. Pairings and game times for the double-elimination event will be announced on Monday.
NCAA Division II
NFCA 2021 All-Atlantic Region Team
Pos: Name School
P: Logan Hartman Seton Hill
P: MAKENZIE AMEND WEST LIBERTY
P: Dani Bauer Charleston
C: Faith Willenbrock Millersville
1B: Hannah Marsteller Shippensburg
2B: Bri Garber West Chester
3B: Nicole Purtell Shepherd
SS: Jenna Witt Concord
OF: Jenna Osikowicz Seton Hill
OF: Taylor Myers Shippensburg
OF: Maria Taliani Gannon
UT/P: Lauren Dellett Seton Hill
UT/Non-P: Cameron Davis Shepherd
Pos: Name School
P: Shawna Leonard Frostburg State
P: ANNIE PATERSON WEST LIBERTY
P: Bridget Bailey Kutztown
C: KAT DONZELLA WEST LIBERTY
1B: Jenna Lipowski Kutztown
2B: Kaitlyn Beers Indiana
3B: Reilly Vicendese East Stroudsburg
SS: Sammi Starr Bloomsburg
OF: Hannah Rose Charleston
OF: Isabella Forte Shepherd
OF: Madison Melvin West Chester
UT/P: Laura Thompson Concord
UT/Non-P: Maddie Fry Mercyhurst