May 15, 2014
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) unveiled its All-Region Teams on Thursday with five BIG EAST players on the list. DePaul, on the eve of its 2014 NCAA Regional debut, had two players selected to the Great Lakes Region First Team in Mary Connolly and Kirsten Verdun, while Erin Burner of St. John’s joined the Blue Demon duo on the 12-member squad. Creighton’s Becca Changstrom was named to the Great Lakes Second Team, while Georgetown’s Megan Hyson rounded out the BIG EAST honorees with her First Team recognition in the Mideast Region.
Connolly is one of two BIG EAST hitters to boast a season batting average above .400 as she ranks second in the league at .407, while her on base percentage of .506 leads all conference players. Connolly’s runs batted in and runs scored totals are tied for first in the BIG EAST, with Burner knotted with the DePaul first baseman with 39 runs scored in 2014. Burner’s 117 total bases is tops among BIG EAST players, while her 14 homers rank second.
Verdun, Changstrom and Hyson were all recognized for their skills in the circle. Verdun is the lone BIG EAST regular to have an earned run average under 2.00, showing a 1.72 ERA entering the NCAA Regionals. The DePaul ace’s 30 wins ranks third in the nation, while Changstrom’s 10 shutouts rank 11th among all Division I pitchers. Hyson held the opposition to a .199 batting average to rank fourth in the BIG EAST, while on the offensive side of the ball boasted the fourth-highest batting average among all league hitters (behind the Red Storm’s Jackie Reed, Connolly and Burner), at .373.
Burner and Verdun were unanimous All-BIG EAST First Team selections, while Changstrom and Connolly also earned spots on the first squad. Hyson garnered All-BIG EAST Second Team accolades. Verdun was unanimous choice as BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year and was also the BIG EAST Championship’s Most Outstanding Player, while Connolly was voted the BIG EAST Player of the Year. All five NFCA All-Region selections earned spots on this season’s All-Tournament Team at the BIG EAST Championship, which was played May 9-10 at The Ballpark at Rosemont.
The NFCA All-Region Teams honor softball student-athletes from the Association’s 10 regions with first, second and third teams selected for each region. The all-region teams were voted on by NFCA member coaches from each respective region, and all the honorees now become eligible for selection to one of three 2014 NFCA Division I All-American teams. The 2014 NFCA Division I All-America teams will be announced at approximately 5 p.m. EST on Wednesday, May 28, via NFCA.org. For the full list of NFCA All-Region Teams, click HERE
2014 NFCA All-Region Teams
Great Lakes Region
Mary Connolly, DePaul, 1B
Kirsten Verdun, DePaul, UT/P
Erin Burner, St. John’s, C
Becca Changstrom, Creighton, P
Megan Hyson, Georgetown, UT/P