WINTHROP, Mass. – Simmons College's Lauren Del Vacchio (Murrieta, Calif.) has been named to the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Softball Third Team, it was announced today by the league.
The first year becomes the first rookie to earn All-Conference honors for the Sharks since Lauren Backhaus (2012-15) was named to the Second Team and Hannah Cunningham (2012-15) was tabbed to the Third Team following the 2012 campaign.
Del Vacchio turned in an outstanding rookie season, hitting .353 (41-116) to rank second on the team, while batting .375 in 22 conference games. The second baseman showed a knack for getting on base, reaching via a hit, walk or hit by pitch in 30 of 39 games, including 19 off 22 GNAC contests. Her .481 on-base mark in conference games ranked as the ninth-highest percentage in the league, while leading Simmons. Del Vacchio drew 16 walks on the year, which is the sixth-highest total in the last decade for the Sharks and ranked third among conference leaders with 12 bases on balls in league games. The West Coast native showed great speed as well, racking up three triples to place third among conference leaders and added nine doubles to give her 12 extra-base hits for the for second-most on the team and contribute to a .483 slugging average, which was also the second-best mark on the squad. She ranked fifth among all GNAC rookies in batting average, second in on-base percentage and fourth in slugging percentage in league-only games. The Vista Murrieta High School product was named the GNAC Rookie of the Week for the week of March 6-12 after reaching base at least twice in all eight games she played in, while batting a robust .636 (14-22) with seven walks to contribute to a staggering .724 on-base percentage. The leadoff hitter showed some pop at the plate as well with three triples and a double to help produce a .955 slugging percentage. The infielder/outfielder also scored nine runs and knocked in a run to go with three stolen bases during the week. In addition, Del Vacchio ended the season on a tear, hitting safely in six straight games, going 11-20 (.550) with a double, four RBI and a pair of runs scored. The rookie rose to the occasion in the GNAC Championship Tournament as well, hitting .583 (7-12) with two runs batted in and a run scored.
Serving primarily as the team's leadoff hitter, Del Vacchio tied for the team lead with 21 runs scored, 16 of which came in league games for the 14th-most among league leaders. The Communications major led the team with nine doubles and four sacrifice hits, while ranking second on the team with 41 hits and14 runs batted in. She was also one of the best defenders in league games, committing just three errors in 76 chances for a .961 fielding percentage. The first year player saw action in 30 games in the infield and nine in the outfield and made just seven errors in 124 chances for a .944 fielding percentage for all games.
The Sharks finished the season with a 15-25 overall record, including a 9-13 mark in GNAC play. Simmons scored an upset in the first round of the GNAC Championship Tournament, becoming the first number eight seed to advance since Suffolk University did the same in 2013.