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2014 Dudley® NJCAA Softball Players of the Year announced
 May 27, 2014

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The NJCAA national office announced the 2014 Dudley® NJCAA Softball Players of the Year Wednesday.

Polk State (Fla.) sophomore catcher Stephanie Koutsoumbaris, Jones County (Miss.) freshman infielder Tori Dew and Brookdale (N.J.) sophomore center fielder Cassidy Brzozowski were named the Offensive Players of the Year. Pitcher of the Year honors were presented to Miami Dade (Fla.) freshman Milena Calixto, LSU Eunice freshman Raven Cole and Rock Valley (Ill.) sophomore Amanda Blankenship.

Selections are made by each division’s respective committee. For more information, please visit www.njcaa.org.  

NJCAA Division I Player of the Year
Stephanie Koutsoumbaris – Polk State (C / So.)

Polk State put forward another successful season in 2014 thanks to their sophomore team leader Stephanie Koutsoumbaris. The catcher’s top 50 batting average of .442 was highlighted by a team-high .742 slugging percentage. Koutsoumbaris ranked 12th in the nation with 22 doubles to go along with 11 home runs and 73 RBIs – 17th most in the country. Behind Koutsoumbaris’ stellar play, the Eagles clinched the FCSAA Suncoast Conference championship with a 41-12 record. Polk State went on to finish the season at 45-14 after falling in the championship game of the Region 8 Gulf tournament. Finishing up at Polk State this summer, Koutsoumbaris has received interest from Syracuse, Binghamton and NCAA DII program Rollins.

NJCAA Division I Pitcher of the Year
Milena Calixto – Miami Dade (RHP / Fr.)

Milena Calixto played an integral role this season in leading Miami Dade to a 29-16 record and earning the name of co-champions in the FCSAA Southern Conference. The freshman was a workhorse for the Sharks, pitching in 186 of their 304.1 innings of play and recording over two-thirds of her team’s wins. With a 20-8 record, she was one of only 21 DI pitchers to hit the 20-win mark for the season. In 29 appearances during the 2014 season, Calixto showcased her durability with 27 complete game efforts. Calixto’s 1.05 ERA was the second-lowest in the land while her team-high 165 strikeouts ranked 16th. With one more year of NJCAA eligibility remaining, Calixto is planning on returning to Miami Dade for her sophomore season.

NJCAA Division II Player of the Year
Tori Dew – Jones County (IF / Fr.)

Enjoying one of the most impressive freshman seasons in the history of NJCAA softball, Tori Dew spearheaded Jones County’s run to a 52-6 record and national runner-up finish. The Jones County infielder led all three divisions with a .602 batting average and 104 RBIs, while ranking second with a 1.111 slugging percentage and a .665 on-base percentage. In the DI ranks, Dew hit the second-most home runs with 20 and third-most doubles with 27. Despite falling just short of her championship aspirations, Dew’s effort in the national tournament earned her a spot on the all-tournament team. With just one collegiate season under her belt, Dew will have another shot to win a national title next season as she returns to the Bobcats.

NJCAA Division II Pitcher of the Year
Raven Cole – LSU Eunice (RHP / Fr.)

With exceptional pitching in the regular season and national tournament, Cole was a vital piece of the puzzle for LSU Eunice in their campaign for a second straight national title. Entering the final day of the national championship needing three wins, the Bengals turned to Cole who tallied back-to-back wins with a seven-inning shutout and a five-inning, one-run effort. The right-hander was named to the all-tournament team following those performances. With a 166.2 inning pitched and a 27-1 record for the year, Cole’s wins were fifth most in the nation. The freshman amassed the third most strikeouts in the country with 217 and ranked eighth in the land with a 1.09 era. Cole is planning on returning to LSU Eunice next season as they make their run towards a three-peat.

NJCAA Division III Player of the Year
Cassidy Brzozowski – Brookdale (CF / So.)

Cassidy Brzozowski etched her own mark in the growing tradition of Brookdale softball in 2014. Ranking sixth in the nation in both doubles with 17 and RBIs with 53, the sophomore led the Jersey Blues to a 41-9 record, their second consecutive Region 19 championship and a third-place finish at the national tournament. Brzozowski’s six home runs and .742 slugging percentage were also team highs for Brookdale, while her .477 batting average ranked 32nd in the country. The center fielder was a hawk in 2014, registering 41 putouts and a .978 fielding percentage. 
Completing her final season with the Jersey Blues, Brzozowski is looking to continue her collegiate softball career at the four-year level and has drawn interest from several colleges including Coastal Carolina.

NJCAA Division III Pitcher of the Year
Amanda Blankenship – Rock Valley (RHP / So.)

Behind her outstanding pitching – including three phenomenal performances to close out the season – Amanda Blankenship propelled Rock Valley to their first NJCAA DIII Softball national championship. Facing the top two seeds in the national tournament, Blankenship allowed only two runs on 11 hits in three consecutive winning efforts. The sophomore’s accomplishments earned her Most Outstanding Pitcher and Tournament MVP honors. For the season, Blankenship accumulated 241 strikeouts – second-most in the nation – and ranked 16th in the country with a 1.97 ERA. 
During the Golden Eagles’ 42-9 campaign, the right-hander tallied a 21-5 record and was one of only four pitchers in the DIII ranks to win at least 20 games. 

Photos courtesy of Tom Hagerty/Polk State, Alysia Dyer, Shawn Wansley/JCJC Sports Information, Nicholas Phillips/LSU Eunice Athletics, Brookdale Athletics and Rochester Amatuer Sports Commission.

About Spalding®
A Division of Russell Brands, LLC, Spalding is the largest basketball equipment supplier in the world, and America’s first baseball company.  Spalding is the official basketball of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA), the official backboard of the NBA and NCAA, the official baseball of the Little League World Series and the official volleyball of King of the Beach.  In addition to being the leading producer and marketer of basketballs, footballs, volleyballs and soccer balls, Spalding produces softballs under the Dudley brand. The SPALDING® and DUDLEY® trademarks are owned by Russell Brands, LLC.  For more information, visit www.spalding.com.

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