HADLEY, MA — Senior Lexi Curt (Moorpark, CA), the most prolific hitter in Williams College softball history, was selected as the New England Small College Athletic Conference's Player of the Year today, while sophomore teammate Rebecca Duncan (Simi Valley, CA) was named the NESCAC Pitcher of the Year.
It was the second consecutive year Curt was selected as the NESCAC Player of the Year, the first player to accomplish that feat in NESCAC history. She is one of six Ephs to earned NESCAC Player of the Year honors.
Curt and Duncan were joined on the All-NESCAC First team by junior pitcher/first baseman Mackenzie Murphy (Diablo, CA). Second Team selections included senior outfielder/catcher Margo Beck (Plano, TX), junior shortstop Jessica Kim (Tustin, CA) and sophomore designated player/pitcher Kirstin Mapes (Corona, CA).
Williams (35-6) is set to host an NCAA Div. III Tournament Regional beginning Friday on Cole Field. The Ephs won their third straight NESCAC Tournament championship and sixth overall last weekend, thanks in part to Curt's dramatic three-run home run in the top of the seventh inning of the championship game and two complete-game wins by Duncan. The Ephs set a school record this season with 32 regular-season victories.
Curt has broken eight all-time school records at Williams in 2018, including hits (194), home runs (36), RBI (156), doubles (52), total bases (360), extra-base hits (91), at-bats (515) and games played (164). In addition, she has set single-season marks this year in home runs (13) and RBI (45).
Curt is the fourth player from Williams to earn the POTY honor, joining Joey Lye (2009), Allison Hart (2012), and Erica Li (2016) and 2018 marks the third consecutive season an Eph has earned the award. Curt led the league in home runs (13), RBIs (45) and slugging percentage (.915), while owning the second-best batting average (.427). Curt earns her fourth All-NESCAC honor, repeating as a First Team selection after being named to the Second Team in 2015 and 2016.
"Lexi has had a great season, especially as a hitter, but as a catcher and team leader as well," Ephs' head coach Kris Herman said. "She is tremendously respected by her teammates and coaches, and will graduate as one of the best players in Williams' history. Her love for the game and for her team is her greatest strength. It's been my pleasure to work with her."
Duncan is the third Eph to earn the NESCAC Pitcher of the Year honor joining Clara Hard (2004, 2005, 2006) and current teammate Mackenzie Murphy (2016). The No. 1 pitcher for the Ephs this season, she owns a 1.72 ERA to go along with 121 strikeouts in 114 innings in the circle. At the plate, Duncan is batting .373 with 27 RBIs and 29 runs scored. Duncan was also a First Team selection last last season.
"Rebecca had a great season, both as a pitcher and hitter," Herman said. "Her fielding ability on the mound often goes overlooked, and this makes her a truly complete player."
Murphy was voted as a First Team selection for the third straight year. She ranks third in the conference in hitting (.423), is slugging (.788) and has recorded 29 RBIs. The 2016 NESCAC Pitcher of the Year owns a 14-1 record in the circle with a 1.90 ERA in 84.2 innings of work entering the NCAA Tournament.
"Mackenzie has quietly had a truly amazing season," Herman noted. "Sometimes overlooked, she has been a huge catalyst to our success. Zero errors playing full time in the field, striking out just twice, I think Mackenzie is the most underrated player in the conference."
Kim led the NESCAC with 42 runs scored and is batting .361 with a .571 slugging percentage and a team-leading nine steals. Mapes is batting .369 with a .441 on-base percentage this season. She has belted 10 home runs, second on the team behind Curt and driven in 40 runs, only the fifth Eph ever to reach that mark in a single season. Beck has had the finest season of her career, batting .390 to date with six home runs and 29 RBI. She has set career highs in runs, hits, doubles, home runs, RBI, walks and total bases.