LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Amherst College senior pitcher Lorena Ukanwa is among 50 outstanding softball players who have been chosen for the 2019 Schutt Sports/NFCA Division III National Player of the Year watch list, which will be paired down in the coming months, until just one player remains at the conclusion of the season.
In 2018, Ukanwa was among the most dominant pitchers in New England, earning First Team All-NESCAC and First Team All-Region from the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA).
She posted a 17-2 record in the circle and led the NESCAC with 155 strikeouts in 116.1 innings pitched, a K/7 rate of 9.33. She finished the year with an earned run average of 1.68 and threw seven complete games and six shutouts, including a one-hit complete game shutout of Western New England in the NCAA Regional.
Boasting a career ERA of 2.35, Ukanwa has appeared in 64 games and made 49 starts. The native of Morgan Hill, California has racked up 32 wins to just 9 losses in her career, while also earning five saves during the 2017 season.
Ukanwa has struck out 357 batters and walked just 79 opponents, a K/7 of 8.40 in just under 300 innings pitched.
Twenty-six returning NFCA All-Americans top the Watch List, including seven first-team honorees, 11 second-team selections and eight from last year's third team. The remaining 24 members of the group all earned first-team NFCA All-Region recognition last season.
Ukanwa is one of four NESCAC players on the list, joined by Williams Utility Mackenzie Murphy, Middlebury outfielder Melanie Mandell and Tufts pitcher Kristi Van Meter.
The University of Texas at Tyler leads all schools with five players on the list, while national runner-up Illinois Wesleyan had three players chosen, and Coe and Rowan each had two players selected.
Virginia Wesleyan lefty pitcher Hanna Hull, who has won the Schutt Sports/NFCA National Player of the Year award the past two seasons, is back on the list, as the two-time reigning national champion Marlins' lone representative, while 37 other schools also had one representative.
In all, there are 25 seniors, 14 juniors and 11 sophomores in the group.
The list is compiled annually by the NFCA's Division III All-America committee. The list will subsequently be cut to 25 and 10 as the season progresses, before the winner is chosen following the completion of the NCAA Championship.
The list will be adjusted along the way to assure the best players are being considered, with the eventual winner coming from the group of 10 finalists.