PISCATAWAY, N.J. (May 15, 2014) – Rutgers softball juniors Jackie Bates (Lincroft, N.J.) and Chandler Howard (Wilmington, Del.) were both named to the 2014 NFCA Division I All-Mideast Region First Team, the organization announced Thursday.
The awards honor softball student-athletes from the Association’s 10 regions with first, second and third teams selected for each region. The all-region teams were voted on by NFCA member coaches from each respective region, and all the honorees now become eligible for selection to one of three 2014 NFCA Division I All-American teams. The 2014 NFCA Division I All-America teams will be announced at approximately 5 p.m. EST on Wednesday, May 28, via NFCA.org.
The two selections to an NFCA All-Region first team are the most for RU since 1989 and marks just the third time in school history multiple Scarlet Knights were named to a first team. Adele Calimer and Linda D’Armiento both made the NFCA Division All-Northeast Region First Team in 1989, while three players – Tracy Buono, Renee Clark and Kelly Gallagher – were named to the first team in 1988.
The selections give RU its first all-region honors since Brittney Lindley made the NFCA All-Mideast Region First Team in 2011.
“Jackie and Chandler are model student athletes for the Rutgers softball program,” said head coach Jay Nelson. “Both are very humble about their accomplishments and are leaders on the field. They lead by example. They love to play the game and compete and have helped spread that attitude to include our entire team.
“In my years of coaching softball no one works harder and has a better time playing than Chandler and Jackie. I am really pleased for them and they are deserving the recognition by the NFCA.”
Howard and Bates carried the RU offense this season hitting in the second and third spot, respectively. Bates paced the Scarlet Knights with a .390 batting average, 16 doubles, 40 RBIs and a .685 slugging percentage, and tied Howard with the team home runs lead with nine. She notched 15 multi-hit games and tied Howard with a team-leading 10 multi-RBI games. The center fielder also posted the third longest hitting streak this year among RU players (10) and closed the season by reaching base in 30 consecutive games. Bates’ on-base mark of .483 led the team.
Howard, meanwhile, finished just behind Bates with a .389 batting average, leading the squad with 63 hits and tying for the team lead with nine homers. Her 36 runs led Rutgers, while she finished second with nine doubles, 29 RBIs and a .623 slugging percentage. Her 20 multi-hit games led the team. The left fielder posted a pair of long hitting streaks this season, including spans of 12 and 13 games.
Both players were named All-American Athletic Conference, with Bates making the First Team and Howard being named to the Second Team.
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