Phillips Named NEWMAC Softball Rookie of the Year; Four Engineers Tabbed All-NEWMAC

Phillips Named NEWMAC Softball Rookie of the Year; Four Engineers Tabbed All-NEWMAC

Boston, MA --- Mackenzie Phillips (Gill, MA) was named the NEWMAC Softball Rookie of the Year and named to the All-NEWMAC Second Team while Ama Biney (Worcester, MA) and Renee LeClaire (Merrimack, NH) claimed a spot on the All-Conference First Team following voting by the league's head coaches. Cassie Graca (Somerset, MA) joined Phillips on the All-Conference Second Team.

Phillips joins 2015 WPI Hall of Fame inductee Nicole Maglione (2006), Nicole McDonough (2011) and current teammate Nina Murphy-Cook (2015) as the fourth Engineer to earn the major award.

The righty boasted a 12-5 record with seven complete games, a NEWMAC-best three saves and a 2.32 ERA in 114 2/3 innings over 28 appearances. She was second overall in strikeouts with 112 and fifth in conference contests with 46. During the regular season, Phillips' ERA dropped to 1.66 and batting average against went down .16 to .215 in conference matchups. The newcomer totaled a season-best 10 strikeouts three times, including her season finale against Wheaton, a 5-1 victory, in the NEWMAC tournament.

Biney, a three-time All-Conference selection in softball, returned to the first team after leading the league in walks (23), triples (5), stolen bases (25), stolen bases per game (0.60), runs (50) and runs per game (1.19) while boasting a perfect fielding percentage in 50 total chances. The junior also batted .370 with 17 extra base hits, 35 RBI and an OPS of 1.079. Biney enjoyed a 14-game hitting streak, including five multi-hit games and a 4-for-4 performance versus Becker, from April 9 until April 22.

LeClaire was second in the NEWMAC with 16 doubles, as well as third in batting average (.445), third in RBI (37), fourth in sacrifice flies (3) and fifth in hits (49). She also paced the team with 16 doubles and a .636 slugging percentage. From March 29 through April 22, LeClaire touted a 24-game hitting streak, featuring 11 with two or more and back-to-back games with four (Becker, at Babson). The sreak led to NEWMAC Co-Athlete of the Week honors following a busy eight game stretch (April 11 to 15). Defensively, LeClaire shifted from left field to first base shortly after Spring Break and finished 170-of 172 in fielding chances and was part of a two double plays.

Graca batted .373 with six extra base hits, 20 walks, 21 stolen bases, 31 RBI, 32 runs scored. Her stolen base total was second in the conference and on the team while she was third overall among her conference peers in walks and was the leader with 12 in league games. Graca, who hit .373 in 22 games in the second spot on the lineup card, went on an eight-game hitting streak late in the season where she logged six of her 11 multi-hit contests including a 4-for-5 performance at Westfield State.

Springfield claimed the three other major awards as Kirsten Drobiak, Talia Loda and Kate Bowen were selected as the Athlete, Pitcher and Coach of the Year, respectively.

WPI, who appeared in all three regional rankings, won the NEWMAC regular season title for the second consecutive season and recently wrapped up its 2017 campaign with a 29-13 record for fourth-year head coach Whitney Goldstein.

NEWMAC Release