May 18, 2017
by Tony Jones
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame softball team remained a key player in the season-ending awards as part of the Mid-Atlantic Region of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA). The Irish saw four players earn 2017 NFCA Mid-Atlantic all-region team accolades, as announced by the NFCA on Thursday.
Senior captain and two-time NFCA All-American Karley Wester, sophomore outfielder and 2017 all-ACC first team selection Ali Wester and junior infielder and three-time all-ACC choice Morgan Reed were each named to the NFCA Mid-Atlantic all-region first team. Sophomore infielder Melissa Rochford rounded out the Notre Dame honorees as a member of the NFCA Mid-Atlantic all-region second team.
Since the 1992 season, Notre Dame has earned a total of 99 all-region accolades, with 62 players receiving first team recognition in that span. There have been 25 Irish players tabbed to NFCA Mid-Atlantic all-region teams since Notre Dame joined the ACC in 2014, including 17 first team, five second team and three third team choices.
Karley Wester became just the third player in Notre Dame history to earn first team all-region scrolls in four consecutive seasons, along with two-time All-Americans Megan Ciolli (2002-05) and Terri Kobata (1993-96). Wester was a second team NFCA All-America choice in 2014, and was named a third team All-American in 2016.
A four-time all-ACC selection (2014, 2015, 2017 first team, 2016 second team), Wester led all Notre Dame players with a .416 batting average, 37 hits and 10 stolen bases in 24 ACC appearances. Wester became just the 12th player in Irish program history to earn all-conference distinction in each of her four seasons. Wester leads all Notre Dame players with 30 stolen bases in 2017, and is a top three performer in batting average (.346), hits (64) and runs scored (42).
Wester ranks second on the Irish roster with 19 multi-hit games this season, including 13 contests with two hits. The active NCAA Division I softball leader with 320 career hits, Wester is also the all-time Notre Dame leader in stolen bases (128) and runs scored (225).
Ali Wester claimed first team all-region honors for the second straight season after logging a .404 batting average, 72 hits, 44 runs scored and eight stolen bases over her first 54 starts. Wester has also chipped in 15 sacrifice bunts thus far in 2017, to go along with six doubles and 14 RBI. Her 66 singles this season lead all Notre Dame hitters.
An all-ACC first team selection, Wester batted .415 with 34 hits, five stolen bases and 22 runs scored in 24 league starts. Wester’s 20 overall multiple-hit games rank first among all Notre Dame hitters.
One of the standout hitters in the center of the Notre Dame lineup, Reed netted all-region distinction for the third straight campaign (first as part of the first team). Reed, the 2017 Irish team leader with 54 RBI, a .594 slugging percentage and 101 total bases, has logged a team-high 14 multi RBI games in 2017 and is tied with Caitlyn Brooks for the most home runs (7). She established a Notre Dame program record with eight RBI at Georgia Tech on March 12, which included a grand slam in the top of the eighth inning.
Along with a career-high 21 extra-base hits, Reed has stolen a career-best nine bases. She has also made 115 assists in 190 chances in the Notre Dame middle infield.
Rochford returned to an all-region team for the second straight season, rebounding from an injury that ended her 2016 campaign. The Irish third baseman batted .302 with 12 extra-base hits, a career-high 42 RBI and 26 runs in her first 54 games. Rochford’s 11 multi-hit games and RBI total both rank second among all Notre Dame hitters.
In every inning at third base, Rochford has made a career-high 63 putouts and 75 assists on the hot corner.
Notre Dame is set to open the 2017 NCAA Championship on Friday at 2 p.m. (ET) against California as part of the Auburn Regional in Auburn, Alabama. The game will be televised on ESPN2.
For the latest news and updates on all things Notre Dame softball, visit www.und.com/softball, follow the Irish @NDsoftball and @NDcoachGumpf on Twitter and at Instagram.com/notredamesoftball, and Like the team at Facebook.com/NDSoftball.
Tony Jones, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2012 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame softball and men’s soccer programs. A native of Jamestown, New York, Jones is a 2011 graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and prior to arriving at Notre Dame held positions at the University of Louisiana Monroe and with the National Football League’s Buffalo Bills.