HADLEY, Mass. – First-year's Kyra Naftel and Sammy Salustri of the Amherst College softball team were named First Team All-NESCAC selections while classmate Lorena Ukanwa was named Second Team All-NESCAC Tuesday, as voted on by the conference coaches. Salustri was also crowned with the Defensive Player of the Year honor, the first-ever rookie to receive the conference accolade.
Naftel earned the all-conference laurel after a strong first-year campaign as a utility player where she appeared in centerfield for most of the year before making an impact in the infield at the hot corner. The Santa Clarita, Calif. native posted a .416 batting average while notching 16 multi-hit games to lead the Purple & White to their first appearance in the NESCAC Championship Tournament since 2012. In addition to ranking fifth among all league players with 47 hits while tying for first in triples (6), Naftel also posted a solid slugging percentage (.556) while totaling 63 bases and scoring 26 runs.
Salustri finished the season as the first Amherst player and first-ever rookie to be recognized as the league's Defensive Player of the Year while also garnering First Team honors. A native of Pleasanton, Calif., the second baseman was a brickwall for the Purple & White, recording 50 assists and 65 putouts during the year while committing just two errors for a .983 fielding percentage. Also a force at plate, Salustri recorded a .376 batting average and tallied 16 RBI's while ranking in the top-10 overall in hits (45), stolen bases (8), and runs scored (28).
Ukanwa earned a Second Team nod after posting a 2.59 ERA in 105.1 innings pitched to register an 8-4 record in the circle. The Morgan Hill, Calif. native ranked first in the conference for strikeouts (97) and strikeouts per game (6.45), while allowing just 48 runs.
In a breakout season Amherst advanced to the NESCAC Championship tournament for the first time since 2012 after finishing the year with a 24-12 overall record and 7-5 mark in league action. Capturing a 4-3 win over Trinity in Game 3, the Purple & White closed out the year with a third place finish in the conference tournament.