VESTAL, N.Y. — The UMass Lowell softball team capped off a great season with several honors at the 2017 America East awards banquet on Tuesday night, taking took home three of the league’s four major honors.
Head coach Danielle Henderson earned Coach of the Year honors for her efforts in orchestrating the team’s impressive turnaround from just a season ago. Senior Lauren Ramirez (Dracut) was named AE Pitcher of the Year, while freshman Courtney Cashman received Rookie of the Year accolades.
“I was so proud of the way this team played the entire year and the tremendous improvement we showed from just last season,” said Henderson. “This has been something that we have been working towards for the past few years and I am glad that these young women are receiving recognition for everything they have done.”
After winning just five games in 2016, Henderson guided the River Hawks to their best Division I finish at 21-19 overall. The team’s 12-5 record in America East play also set a new benchmark for the program.
Ramirez capped off her college career as the program’s first pitcher at the Division I level to reach double-digit wins with a 10-8 record. She boasted a team-low 3.77 ERA in 117 innings and matched a personal best with 85 strikeouts.
The former Middie star struck out a career-best eight hitters against Albany on April 8. She finished her tenure as a River Hawk ranked sixth on the program’s all-time record list for strikeouts with 215, and also sits in the top 10 for appearances (76) and starts (51).
Cashman paced all hitters in the America East with a .430 batting average, marking the highest average by a UMass Lowell freshman since 1997 (Pamela McNeil, .436). She had 58 hits, 11 doubles, two triples, seven home runs and 35 RBI, all of which were team-leading marks.
“I am happy that Lauren got to finish her career on such a high note,” said Henderson. ” I have never seen a pitcher come back from a shoulder injury and be able to compete the way she did. Lauren works hard in everything she does and she had a great season.”
Both players were also named to the All-Conference First Team, along with junior Vanessa Cooper.
Seniors Tori Alcorn (Lowell) and Alisha Welch each earned a spot on the Second Team. Joining Cashman on the America East All-Rookie Team were Casey Hardingand Marianne Sparacia.