NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. — University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's Amy Sasin was named the Little East Conference Softball Coach of the Year this afternoon, when the conference office announced its 2014 major awards program and all-conference teams. Sophomore pitcher Shannon Orton (Swansea, Mass./Joseph Case) was selected to the first-team, while freshman second basemen Marissa Spinuzzi (Fair Lawn, N.J.) was voted to the second-team.
The eight conference coaches determined the major awards program and all-conference teams during an in-person meeting on Thursday, May 1 at Eastern Connecticut State University. Rhode Island College senior Stacy Pokora was elected as the Player of the Year, while Eastern Connecticut State University junior Erin Miller was chosen as the Pitcher of the Year. Plymouth State University freshman Masha Lange completed the 18th edition of the annual major awards program as the Rookie of the Year.
Sasin is the first softball coach in program history to be voted by her peers as the top coach in the conference circuit. She directed one of the youngest rosters among NCAA Division III members, fielding a team comprised of two seniors, a junior, six sophomores and nine freshmen.
In 2014, UMass Dartmouth posted an overall record of 11-21, including a 7-7 mark against Little East opponents. Sasin led her charges to the most conference wins in program history, putting an additional two victories between the previous standard that was set by the 2001 squad (5-8). The Corsairs qualified for the 2014 Little East Softball Championship tournament for the first time since 2006, earning the No. 4 seed. UMass Dartmouth was defeated by third-seeded Western Connecticut State University before being edged by No. 6 Rhode Island College. Under her guidance, the Corsairs placed two student-athletes on the All-Little East teams for the third time in program history.
Orton is just the second student-athlete in program history to earn All-Little East, first-team honors, joining former standout Amanda Leal (2006) on the top-squad. The Swansea, Mass. product is ranked among the Little East leaders in batters struck out (2nd, 110), strikeouts looking (2nd, 34), earned run average (3rd, 1.90), opposing batters average (3rd, .229), and innings pitched (4th, 144).
In 24 appearances in the pitching circle, Orton posted a 9-14 individual record, including a 7-6 mark against conference opponents. She threw the lion's share of innings for the Corsairs, completing 18 of her 24 starts. Orton limited her opponents to 39 earned runs, 22 extra base hits and 102 singles, while issuing 56 walks. The sophomore right-hander held the opposition to one or fewer runs 11 times on the season, while hurling three complete-game shutout victories. On April 19, the UMass Dartmouth ace yielded one earned run on five hits, while striking out seven in a 12-inning win at nationally-ranked Western Connecticut State University. Orton closed out the regular-season in dominating fashion with a three-hit shutout victory at Keene State.
Spinuzzi is just one of three rookies to garner All-Little East, second-team recognition this past spring. The resident of Fair Lawn, N.J. made an immediate impact in the Corsairs' lineup, starting all 32 games. Spinuzzi batted .343 (36-for-105) with a team-high 18 runs batted in. She led UMass Dartmouth with nine doubles, a triple, and 47 total bases to produce a .448 slugging percentage. The freshman second basemen hit safely in 20 appearances, including 13 multi-hit games. Spinuzzi registered three hits on three different occasions this past spring, most recently with a 3-for-4 appearance against Little East rival Southern Maine. She drove in a season-high three runs to power the Corsairs to a win over Knox College (Ill.) on March 20. Spinuzzi was also consistent at second base, posting a 94.7 fielding percentage with 58 assists.
|2014 All-Little East Softball Teams|
|Catcher||Erin Weber||Sophomore||Western Connecticut State University|
|Pitcher||Erin Miller||Junior||Eastern Connecticut State University|
|Pitcher||Shannon Orton||Sophomore||University of Massachusetts Dartmouth|
|First Base||Sam Rossetti||Junior||Eastern Connecticut State University|
|Second Base||Jessica Caturano||Senior||Western Connecticut State University|
|Shortstop||Alyssa Hancock||Sophomore||Eastern Connecticut State University|
|Shortstop||Katelyn Sykora||Junior||Rhode Island College|
|Third Base||Nina Wojtkiewicz||Junior||Western Connecticut State University|
|Outfield||Mattie Brett||Senior||Eastern Connecticut State University|
|Outfield||Stephanie Johnson||Senior||Eastern Connecticut State University|
|Outfield||Stacy Pokora||Senior||Rhode Island College|
|Des. Player||Kylee Ruther||Senior||Western Connecticut State University|
|Utility||Stefanie Stockwell||Senior||University of Southern Maine|
|Catcher||Sam Hebert||Senior||Plymouth State University|
|Pitcher||Nora Galvin||Senior||Plymouth State University|
|Pitcher||Alle Sabith||Sophomore||Western Connecticut State University|
|First Base||Julia Bocek||Junior||Western Connecticut State University|
|Second Base||Marissa Spinuzzi||Freshman||University of Massachusetts Dartmouth|
|Shortstop||Bekah Jackson||Senior||Plymouth State University|
|Third Base||Jackie Digman||Senior||Plymouth State University|
|Outfield||Kristina Bove||Junior||University of Massachusetts Boston|
|Outfield||Kristen Duross||Junior||University of Southern Maine|
|Outfield||Masha Lange||Freshman||Plymouth State University|
|Des. Player||Samantha Crosman||Freshman||University of Southern Maine|
|Utility||Kristina Gingell||Senior||Rhode Island College|
|Player of the Year|
|Stacy Pokora, Rhode Island College|
|Pitcher of the Year|
|Erin Miller, Eastern Connecticut State University|
|Rookie of the Year|
|Masha Lange, Plymouth State University|
|Coach of the Year|
|Amy Sasin, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth|