WINTHROP, Mass. – Simmons University's Maddie Castigliego (Bristol, R.I.) was named the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Softball Rookie of the Week for the week of April 22-28, it was announced today by the league.
Castigliego becomes the third Shark this season to earn weekly rookie honors after classmate Shannon McMahon (El Cajon, Calif.) was named the top rookie of the week of March 11-17 and sophomore Christie Bott (Seaford, N.Y.) was tabbed for the week of March 4-10. She also becomes the ninth Simmons player to earn a weekly award with five players earning Player of the Week honors and one earning Pitcher of the Week accolades.
Castigliego appeared in four games and hit .667 (6-9) with nine runs batted in, a double, a triple and a home run to go with four runs scored, while owning a 1.333 slugging mark and a .667 on-base percentage to give her a 2.000 OPS. The rookie registered at least one hit and one RBI in every game she had a plate appearance in. The first year was outstanding from the pitching circle as well, making four appearances, including three starts and posted a 4-0 win-loss record, while posting a 0.90 earned run average, allowing just three earned runs on nine hits and nine walks to go with 14 strikeouts over 23 1/3 innings pitched. She tossed three complete games and yielded four or fewer hits in all of her appearances, while holding opponents to a .111 batting average. An Exercise Science/Physical Therapy major, Castigliego began the week by earning the win in both ends of a doubleheader vs. Lasell College on April 24. She yielded just one hit and a pair of walks to go with four strikeouts in five complete innings of an 11-0 win and closed out the nightcap by hurling one-hit ball in the final three and a third innings, while giving up a walk and fanning a pair of batters to secure an 11-6 victory. The right-hander contributed at the plate as well going 2-3 with two RBI and a pair of runs scored. The rookie came through with a seven-inning complete game victory over University of Saint Joseph (Conn.) on April 27 after allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits and six bases on balls in addition to seven strikeouts. She carried the offense as well, finishing a single shy of the cycle with a double, triple and three-run homer as part of a career-high six RBI outing to help the Sharks to a 7-3 win. Castigliego capped the week by winning her fourth decision in a span of five days, hurling eight complete frames and giving up just one run on three hits and a walk to go with a strikeout in a 3-1 win at Norwich University on April 28. The St. Mary Academy – Bay View product was 1-3 at the plate with an RBI and a run scored.
Castigliego has been one of the best starting pitchers in the GNAC, leading the conference in games started (18), innings pitched (119 1/3), complete games (14) and victories (11), while ranking fifth in strikeouts (63) and appearances (20), eighth in earned run average (3.28) and ninth in opponents batting average (.276). The dual threat has been just as good at the plate for Simmons, owning the highest batting average on the team, hitting .444 (24-54) and has been one of the best run-producers in the league with 27 runs batted in and four home runs to rank sixth in both categories, despite having at least 32 fewer plate appearances than any player in the top five. She also has five doubles and two triples as part of a team-high .833 slugging percentage and has drawn five walks to contribute to a .483 on-base percentage, while scoring 15 runs. Castigliego has settled into the collegiate competition, having allowed three or fewer earned runs in each of her last 11 starting assignments from the pitching circle and has yielded five or fewer hits in seven starts, where she has thrown at least five innings this season. The Rhode Island native is currently on a six-game hitting streak, where she is batting .556 (10-18) with 11 RBI since April 13. She also put together an eight-game streak from March 24 to April 11. Castigliego has been outstanding in high leverage situations at the plate, boasting a .565 (13-23) batting mark with runners in scoring position to top the team and has a team-best 12 two-out RBI. Despite her limited plate appearances, she has still managed to rank second on the squad with eight multi-RBI efforts.
Simmons is currently 19-21 on the season, including 13-3 in league play and has won 15 of its last 20 contests. The Sharks sit in first place in the GNAC South Division and will serve as the host of the 2019 GNAC Softball Championship Tournament. Simmons will be in action again on Thursday, May 2 when they play an undetermined opponent at 7:00 p.m. at Daly Field in Brighton, Mass.