Position Players to Follow

Emilee Lepp
Sr. | C

Lepp was a key to Linfield's 2011 national title run as the Wildcats set NCAA records with 51 victories and 103 home runs while winning their second championship in five years. Along the way, she set two individual Division III records by leading the nation with 29 home runs and 0.54 home runs per game. The powerful catcher, who had one one error while starting 54 games behind the plate, also led the country with 94 RBI, 74 runs and a 1.089 slugging percentage to earn first-team All-America and NFCA/Diamond Sports Division III Catcher-of-the-Year honors, while also being named a finalist for the Honda Award. Lepp finished 2011 on a strong note, hitting .500 in 11 postseason games with two homers and 12 RBI with nine stolen bases as the Wildcats outscored postseason foes 99-9.

Staci Doucette
Sr. | 1B 

Key Notes:
• First-team All-American in 2011 after hitting .532 to finish fifth nationally
• Ranked second with 21 home runs, trailing only teammate Emily Lepp ( 29)
• Added 80 RBI to rank second behind Lepp, as no other player in the country had more than 75

Abby Flannagan
So. | C

Key Notes:
• Earned second-team All-American honors as a freshman
• Hit .467 overall (35th nationally), including .644 in IIAC play to break the 18-year-old league mark
• Belted 17 roundtrippers to rank fourth while 55 RBI were 16th nationally

Lesley Guenard
Wheaton (Ill.) 
Sr. | OF 

Key Notes:
• First-team All-American in 2011 and was CCIW Player of the Year
• Hit .424 with team-high five home runs and 43 RBI
• Posted a team-record 17 doubles to rank 29th nationally (.41 per game)
• Record 18 steals on 20 attempts

Amanda Lievanos
So. | RF 

Key Notes:
• Named first-team All-American as a freshman after hitting .473 to rank 26th nationally
• Helped team to school-record 36 wins while producing 10 home runs, 16 doubles and three triples
• Ranked 17th with 54 RBI and 58 runs scored were fifth

Jackie Mangola
Ohio Northern
Sr. | 2B 

Key Notes:
• 2011 first-team All-American
• Ranked 14th in batting average, hitting at a .491 clip with 21 homers, 49 runs and 60 RBI
• Home run total ranked second in country while finishing ninth in RBI
• Struck out just nine times with 37 walks 

Pitchers to Watch

Hayley Feindel
Coast Guard
Sr. | RHP

The first first-team All-American in Coast Guard history in 2011, Feindel has already etched her name into the NCAA record book even before the start of her senior season. She set the Division III single-season record with 26 shutouts last year while racing to a 37-4 record in 42 appearances while leading the nation in wins and ERA (0.56). Her 457 strikeouts as a junior paced the country and pushed her career total to 1,206, a Division III record. Named the NEWMAC Pitcher of the Year each of the past three years, Feindel opened last season with a 55-inning scoreless streak before coming back to post a career-best 75-inning streak while helping Coast Guard rank in the NFCA top 20. Behind Feindel, Coast Guard will open 2012 ranked No. 15.

Erika Brittingham
Jr. | RHP

Key Notes:
• Second-team
All-American in 2011
• Posted an 0.85 ERA and earned a 24-3 record with two saves, ranking seventh nationally in wins
• First nationally in hits allowed per 7.0 innings (2.36), second in shutouts (12) and fourth in strikeouts (274)

Alex Hill
Montclair State
So. | RHP

Key Notes:
• Went 17-7 with 0.94 ERA (6th nationally), 181 strikeouts (20th) and 4.67 hits per 7.0 innings (16th)
• Tossed a no-hitter in first start 
• Pitched eighth perfect game in MSU history in Game 1 vs. Rutgers-Camden, then had grand slam and six RBI in Game 2

Bridget Holloway 
Sr. | RHP 

Key Notes:
• Named third-team NFCA All-American as a junior
• Finished with 1.46 ERA and was third nationally with 0.42 walks per 7.0 innings
• Despite missing nearly a month with injury, still posted 18 wins (23rd nationally) while suffering just one loss 

Molly Rathbun
Eastern Conn. St.
Jr. | RHP

Key Notes:
• Two-time first-team All-American
• Was seventh nationally with 24 wins against two losses and 13th with 1.26 ERA
• Also recorded five saves in relief, finishing third nationally
• Placed third in strikeouts (280) and sixth in shutouts (10) in 194 innings

Lyndsay Rowell
Cortland State
Sr. | RHP 

Key Notes:
• Earned third-team All-America honors after going 26-4 (fourth nationally in wins) with two saves in 35 appearances
• Placed third with a 0.77 ERA, allowing just 20 earned runs in 181.1 innings
• Ranked 28th by allowing just 5.14 hits per 7.0 innings

Keep an Eye on These Programs

Key Players (Yr., Pos., 2011 Stats): Emilee Lepp (Sr., C, .497, 29 HR, 94 RBI, 74 R, 21 SB), Staci Doucette (Sr., 1B, .532, 21 HR, 80 RBI), Lauren Harvey (Sr., RHP, 16-0, 1.70 ERA, 63 K, 99.1 IP)

Noting the Wildcats: It's tough to recover when you lose two first-team All-Americans, but Linfield should be OK considering it still returns two other All-Americans from the NFCA first team along with a third-teamer. Emilee Lepp returns after putting up power numbers never seen before in Division III. Her partner in crime, Staci Doucette also is back after pounding pitchers at nearly the same clip, helping Linfield to a national title and into NCAA record book. Third-team All-American Karleigh Prestianni added another weapon especially in the postseason, when she hit .567 while smashing six homers with 21 RBI in the NCAA Finals, including the game-winning home run in the title game. Third-team All-American Claire Velaski -- and her 26 wins in the circle -- is gone, but Lauren Harvey and hopes to remain perfect after going 16-0 last season with a 1.70 ERA.

Key Players (Yr., Pos., 2011 Stats):
Joey Cronin (Jr., 1B, .376, 41 RBI), Brittney Batten (Jr., C/1B, .393, 11 HR, 32 RBI), Katelyn Thomason (Sr., UTL, 13-7, 2.71 ERA, 75 K) 

Noting the Patriots: Texas-Tyler hit a league-high 53 home runs a year ago on its way to a third-place finish at the NCAA Finals. Expect more power this spring as first baseman Joey Cronin, the league's choice as preseason player of the year, returns after pounding 21 homers the past two years combined. Last season she hit .367 with 41 RBIs and eight roundtrippers. Brittney Batten is back after ranking second on the squad with 11 home runs a year ago while adding 32 RBI after hitting at nearly a .400-clip and will be complemented by Lauren Robenalt's .394 average and 39 runs scored. In the circle, the Patriots lost an 18-game winner but return Katelyn Thomason, who led the squad with 75 strikeouts. She also posted 13 wins in the circle despite starting 23 games in the field.

Key Players (Yr., Pos., 2011 Stats): Bridget Holloway (Sr., RHP, 18-1, 1.75 ERA, 62 K, 7 BB), Jessica Thomas (Sr., OF, .367, 11 HR, 46 RBI), Megan Light (So., 1B, .449, 16 2B, 61 RBI)

Noting the Eagles: Emory has plenty of experience back from a squad that went 41-4-1 a year ago while posting the second-most wins in school history. Right-hander Bridget Holloway had stellar junior campaign and looks to build on an 18-win season. Backing her up offensively, Jessica Thomas set a school record and led the conference with 11 home runs while Megan Light set numreous freshman records while also establishing a new school mark for RBI with 61. Both Thomas and Light were named second-team All-Americans in 2011 while Holloway was a third-teamer.

Other Teams to Watch: Eastern Connecticut State, Cortland State, Christopher Newport, Coe, DePauw, Louisiana College, Coast Guard.

Contests to Look for in 2012

No. 1 Linfield -- March 11: vs. Pacific Lutheran (DH) March 25: at No. 18 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (DH) March 27: at No. 11 Redlands (DH) April 1: at Pacific Lutheran (DH)

No. 2 Texas-Tyler -- March 24: at No. 14 Louisiana College (DH) March 29: vs. Pacific Lutheran April 3: vs. No. 19 East Texas Baptist April 11: vs. No. 14 Louisiana College (DH) April 14: at No. 19 East Texas Baptist 

No. 3 Christopher Newport -- Feb. 11-12: at No. 7 Emory Feb. 22: at No. 25 Virginia Wesleyan March 6: at No. 8 Salisbury (DH)

No. 5 Luther  -- March 27: vs. No. 23 Wisconsin-Eau Claire (DH) March 31: vs. No. 12 Central (Iowa) (DH) April 10: at No. 10 Coe (DH)

No. 6 Cortland State -- March 4: vs. No. 15 Coast Guard April 3: at No. 21 Ithaca (DH)

No. 7 Emory -- Feb. 11-12: vs. No. 3 Christopher Newport March 11: vs. No. 21 Ithaca  

No. 10 Redlands -- March 20: vs. No. 25 Virginia Wesleyan (DH) March 24: vs. No. 18 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (DH) March 27: vs. No. 1 Linfield (DH) April 22: at No. vs. No. 18 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (DH) 

All photos courtesy of respective school athletic departments.