CAMBRIDGE, Mass.-Pitcher Margaux Black and third baseman Melissa Schellberg will captain the Harvard softball team next season, head coach Jenny Allard has announced. The Crimson has also handed out its 2009 team awards.
Bailey Vertovez was the recipient of the Becky Pocius Award and the Becky Ippolito Legacy Award, while fellow senior co-captain Hayley Bock earned selection as the Best Defensive Player. Junior rightfielder Jennifer Francis and freshman Rachel Brown were named Best Offensive Player and Most Outstanding Pitcher, respectively.
Rising seniors Black and Schellberg were chosen to lead the team in 2009-10. Black ranked second on the team with 40.1 innings pitched this season, posting a 3.47 earned-run average. She appeared in 16 games, making three starts. The Atlanta native pitched a four-hit shutout of North Division rival Yale April 14 and was part of two combined shutouts.
Schellberg completed her third season as the Crimson's starting shortstop in 2009. She was one of the nation's toughest players to strike out, fanning just six times in 131 plate appearances, and ranked second on the team with 23 runs batted in. The Las Vegas native also made a number of outstanding defensive plays on the way to her third straight All-Ivy honorable mention.
The Ippolito Award goes annually to the player who has done the most to continue the Harvard softball program's tradition of excellence, while the Pocius Award is presented to the player who best embodies the qualities of a true team player. Vertovez was a team leader off the field and a contributor on it as an infielder, outfielder, pitcher and batter. She was the Crimson's starting shortstop this season and made 12 appearances, including six starts, as a pitcher.
Bock earned the Best Defensive Player award in a season that saw her cement her legacy as one of the great defensive players in Harvard history. She threw out 15 runners trying to steal, falling one caught-stealing short of the school single-season record, but blew past the Harvard career record with 36 runners caught. She also picked off five baserunners, limited Ivy opponents to 10 steal attempts and did not commit an error, earning All-Ivy League honorable mention.
Francis, a first-team All-Ivy pick, had the Crimson's highest batting average overall (.311) and in league play (.368). She also paced Harvard with 24 overall RBI and a .579 slugging percentage and .455 on-base percentage in league play. She started all 44 of Harvard's games, hit three home runs and scored 20 runs
Brown struck out 11 in a two-hitter against Kansas to begin her career and one of the most dominant seasons in team history. She struck out a school-record 211 batters, posting a 16-7 record and 1.49 ERA. The performance earned her selection as the Ivy League Rookie of the Year, a spot on the All-Ivy first team and two regular-season tournament MVP awards.
The Crimson finished 27-17 and was 12-8 in Ivy play, finishing second in the Ivy League North Division.