Bouncing back from an injury-plagued freshman season, Kelsie Packard of Rock Valley Community College (IL) has been named the 2017 Dudley® NJCAA DIII Softball Pitcher of the Year as announced by the Division III Softball Committee.
After missing the final 37 games of the 2016 season, Packard rebounded in 2017 to dominate opposing hitters in the circle on the way to Rock Valley’s fourth consecutive Division III National Championship. The sophomore posted an unblemished record of 23-0 on the year while leading the nation in strikeouts with 209.
Opposing batters hit just .135 against Packard on the year. The right handed hurler posted a 1.29 earned run average which ranked second among all NJCAA DIII pitchers.
Packard’s ability to overcome last year’s obstacle paved the way for a focused attack in 2017. “This award means so much to me,” Packard exclaimed. “Being able to come back and receive this year award is such an honor. This season has taught me that a setback leads to a comeback if you work for it. I wanted to do what I could to help my team win a national title. I could not have done this without my family, my teammates, and my coaches.”
A NJCAA and National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-American, Packard has committed to play at NCAA Division I Valparaiso next season. Before joining the Crusaders in the fall, Packard will showcase her talents for the NJCAA softball national team which will play in the Canadian Open Fastpitch International Competition in July in Surrey, British Columbia.
Rock Valley head coach Darin Monroe commended Packard for her strong presence in the circle throughout the season. “Kelsie was without a doubt one of the most dominating pitchers to ever wear our uniform,” Monroe stated. “Her ability to shut down opponent’s offenses allowed our hitters a chance to settle in. The bigger the game, the better Kelsie pitched.”
The Golden Eagles have been awarded each of the last four NJCAA DIII Pitcher of the Year honors.
Packard recently graduated from Rock Valley with an Associate of Arts degree and will study Sports Management at Valparaiso next year.
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