WORCESTER, Mass. – Worcester State University's Sydney Despres (Sterling, Mass.) and Rachel Couto (Chelmsford, Mass.) have been named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division III All-Region team, as announced by the association on Tuesday, May 16th.
Despres and Couto were two of 360 players chosen for the All-Region team, as the squad is comprised of three 15-player teams in each of the country's eight regions.
Despres was named to the second team All-New England as she led her team with a .410 batting average, a .526 on-base percentage and a .743 slugging percentage. She hit 12 doubles, one triple and a league-best seven home runs while tallying 27 runs and 28 RBI. She also led the league in walks with 23 and total bases with 78.
"Sydney worked hard all year long," commented head coach Michelle Cote. "She worked through much adversity this year as she had learn how to be more patient at the plate." This led to her in leading the league in walks and on-base percentage. Despres is also presently nationally ranked 27th in walks per game (0.64).
Couto was named to the third team All-New England as she closed out the regular season with a .408 batting average, .436 on base percentage and a .495 slugging percentage. She hit six doubles and a home run while bringing in 16 runs and scoring 17 of her own. Defensively, she was unstoppable and collected 48 putouts and 69 assists.
"Rachel is a true definition of a 'gamer'" commented Cote. "She came in clutch hitting-wise all season long, and saved some games defensively for us as she made some incredible plays in the hot-corner."
Third-ranked Luther leads a strong contingent of players from the NFCA Division III Top 25, placing the maximum six players on the squad in the Midwest region — three on the first team and its other three on the second team. No. 7 Wisconsin-Whitewater (five first, one third) from the Great Lakes, No. 13 Kean (three first, three third) from the East and unranked Thomas More (three first, two second, one third) from the Central were the other three schools with six players selected.
Seven schools — No. 4 Texas-Tyler, No. 5 Texas Lutheran, No. 8 St. John Fisher, No. 10 East Texas Baptist, No. 11 Christopher Newport, No. 22 Trine and unranked Johnson and Wales — had five players selected apiece, while 16 other schools each had four players on the list.
All-Region players are nominated and selected by NFCA member coaches in each of the eight Division III regions. First Team All-Region choices are eligible for selection to the NFCA All-America team, which will be announced the evening of May 24 online at NFCA.org and in person at the NCAA Division III Championship banquet in Oklahoma City.
Portions of this Release Courtesy of Dave Hines | NFCA Director of Publications