Rising junior Kaitlyn Schiffhauer and rising senior Maddy Kaplan will serve as captains for Harvard softball next season. (Gil Talbot)
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard softball team hosted its annual team banquet on Tuesday evening (May 9) at the Murr Center, handing out five team awards and selecting captains for the 2017-18 season. Rising senior Maddy Kaplan and rising junior Kaitlyn Schiffhauer were voted by their teammates as captains for the upcoming season.
Kaplan, a CoSIDA Academic All-District selection, was one of the Ivy League's top hitters this season. She batted .368 on the year (6th, Ivy League) and finished second on the team with 11 extra-base hits (10 doubles, home run) and 27 runs on the season, adding 21 RBIs. A native of Santa Monica, Calif., Kaplan recorded a hit in 33 of 41 games this season, including an eight game hitting streak to end the season and was a steady right fielder for the Crimson.
Schiffhauer, Harvard's regular center fielder, had her best season for the Crimson in 2017, hitting .322 with eight extra-base hits (home run, seven doubles) and 16 RBIs. Schiffhauer was at her best late in the season, batting a team-best .545 (12-for-22) in Harvard's final eight regular season games, helping the Crimson clinch its second consecutive Ivy League North Division crown.
Sophomore pitcher Kathleen Duncan earned the Most Outstanding Pitcher award. Duncan was excellent in the circle for the Crimson, finishing the year 9-7 with a team-best 3.48 earned run average (5th, Ivy League), six complete games, and 57 strikeouts.
For the second year in a row, sophomore shortstop Rhianna Rich earned the Best Defensive Player Award. Rich made nearly every play, both routine and spectacular, at shortstop, with just two errors in 172 total chances for a .988 fielding percentage.
Sophomore third baseman Erin Lockhart was named the team's Best Offensive Player. Lockhart led Harvard in nearly every power category, hitting .333 with a team high seven home runs, 35 RBIs and 19 walks. She completed the season with an impressive streak of 18 straight games with either a walk or a hit, and led the team with a .507 on base percentage.
The Becky Pocius Award, bestowed annually to the player or players that embody the qualities of true team players, was given to sophomore Nicki Nishizawa. A native of Aiea, Hawaii, Nishizawa adjusted to a new position (catcher) and became a regular contributor in Harvard's lineup. She had a career day on April 22, going a combined 4-for-7 with five RBI in a doubleheader sweep at Brown.
The Betty Ippolito Legacy Award, given to the player who has done the most to continue the tradition of excellence in Harvard softball, was given to senior captain Gianna Panariello. A steady presence at second base for the Crimson, Panariello made an impact with her glove, her bat, and her leadership on and off the field.