Hart named NESCAC Player of Year; Ensor, Graebner grab all-conference honors

Hart named NESCAC Player of Year; Ensor, Graebner grab all-conference honors

HADLEY, MA — Williams senior Ali Hart (Roswell, Ga.) — who put together one of the greatest seasons in the history of the softball program one year after missing most of her junior year with an injury — was named the 2012 New England Small College Conference Player of the Year today.

Hart finished her season hitting a conference-best .540, which is currently the second-best Div. III average in the country. She set six single-season Williams records including at-bats (137), runs scored (49), hits (74), doubles (14), total bases (109) and stolen bases (22). Her average was the third highest single-season in Williams history.

Williams finished 22-16, its best season since 2006, but missed out on the conference tournament and postseason play.

"From the day she was cleared to begin working out (after her injury), she was out there working on becoming the best player she could be," Ephs' head coach Kris Herman said. "She made herself into the most complete offensive player I've ever coached. I think it's hard when teams don't win to earn such a distinction, so cleary this speaks loudly about the kind of season she had."

Hart and teammate Ally Ensor (Sugar Land, Tx.) were both First Team All-NESCAC selections, while sophomore Ali Graebner (Short Hills, N.J.). earned an Second Team All-NESCAC honor.

Hart became the third player in Williams history to be named NESCAC Player of the Year, joining Laura Jacobs (1999) and Joey Lye (2009). She was named a Second Team member as a sophomore.

Hart's prowess at the plate was evident all season. She finished atop the NESCAC stat sheet with a remarkable .540 batting average, connecting for 74 hits with 21 of those going for extra bases, and had a .568 on-base percentage. Hart's league-leading totals in hits, doubles (14), and runs scored (49) represented half of the categories in which she set a single-season Williams record. She also stole 22 bases (22-for-27) and only struck out twice in 146 plate appearances.

"Ali could do so many things well," Herman said. "She moved to center field and played great defense there this season. She was a great baserunner. Both she and Aly (Ensor) have such great bat control. And Ali was a natural switch-hitter and dangerous from both sides of the plate. Plus, she was such a great team leader for us."

 Ally Ensor '14

Ensor was no slouch at the plate either. Owning a good combination of

 Ali Graebner '14

a strong swing, speed, and baserunning instincts, Ensor wrapped up the year with a .518 batting average and a .561 on-base percentage while driving in a team-best 42 runs. The Eph left fielder finished with 57 hits, including 13 doubles, 3 triples and 4 home runs. She scored 38 runs and finished with a team-leading .800 slugging percentage. She also stole 10 bases in 11 tries.

"To have two kids hit over .500 in one season is special," Herman said. "Obviously, Aly (Ensor) is a great hitter. She's a pure, power-hitting lefty, but what may go unnoticed is she also has great speed and instincts on the bases."

Graebner, the Ephs' right fielder, finished with a .318 batting average. She started all 38 games for the Ephs and had 7 doubles and 2 home runs. Her 35 RBI were second on the team behind Ensor and ahead of Hart. She had a .400 on-base percentage and 6 stolen bases.

"Ali had a great year and still has a lot of upside as a player," Herman said. "She hits the ball hard and leads by example. She has great competitive spirit and intensity."

"I'm real proud of all three of them," Herman said of the NESCAC honorees.