BOSTON, Mass. – The Simmons College softball team named Lauren Backhaus (Windsor, Conn.), Hannah Cunningham (Cotuit, Mass.), Mikaela Caracciolo (North Attleboro, Mass.) and Heather White (Westfield, Mass.) as its Quad-Captains for the 2015 season, it was announced by Head Coach Anne Forsythe.
The Sharks' quartet has won at least 22 games in every one of their respective seasons since joining Simmons softball, while three of them earned All-Region honors last year.
Backhaus has proven to be the "backbone" of the pitching staff, leading the group with a gaudy 1.61 earned run average, while holding opponents to a .220 (113-513) batting average last season, en-route to being named a Third Team All-Northeast Region honoree by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. The senior racked up more than half of the team's wins in 2014 with a 15-4 record, while striking out 127 batters in 135 innings pitched. The Northwest Catholic High School product made 17 starts in 23 appearances in the circle, while hurling 13 complete games to lead the staff. Backhaus exhibited excellent control with a 3:1 strikeout to walk ratio and also held opponents to one or fewer earned runs on 13 occasions, including a pair of shutouts. A social work major, she strung together eight straight appearances where she allowed just four earned runs in 51 2/3 innings of work to register a miniscule 0.54 ERA, while going 6-1, striking out 48 batters to just nine walks and holding batters to a .202 batting mark. She also completed all six games she started during the stretch from April 12-27. The pitcher finished the season as one of the best hurlers in the league, ranking among the top five in victories (third), innings pitched (second), strikeouts (fifth) and ERA (fifth) and was an All-GNAC Second Team selection. In 72 career appearances, Backhaus has compiled an impressive 43-19 record, while striking out 482 batters and issuing 107 bases on balls in 421 1/3 innings pitched to go with a 1.66 earned run average.
A GNAC Third Team selection, Cunningham is a solid threat at the plate as well as in the field from her shortstop position. The Barnstable High School graduate hit .295 (31-105), while starting all 31 games that she appeared in. The senior ranked second on the team with 30 runs scored, while owning a .364 on-base percentage. Cunningham also knocked in 14 runs and maintained a .902 fielding percentage. The middle infielder ranked fourth on the squad with nine multi-hit contests, including a five-game stretch where she collected two or more hits in three games to hit .500 (8-16) with six runs batted in, nine runs scored and a home run from March 28 to April 4. A Nursing major, she has been extremely consistent throughout her career, hitting .293 or better in each of her three seasons to compile a .309 career batting mark in 106 games, while slugging .406 with 13 doubles, five triples and four homers. Cunningham is just six runs shy of the century mark and has also racked up 55 RBI during her career.
Caracciolo was also tabbed for the All-Northeast Region Third Team by the NFCA after enjoying a tremendous offensive season, leading Simmons with a staggering .532 on-base percentage and a .438 (46-105) batting mark. She showed a rare combination of patience and punch at the plate last season, recording a .619 slugging percentage on 11 doubles, a triple and a pair of home runs, while drawing a team-high 21 walks. The junior scored 35 times to lead the Sharks in addition to doing the little things to help the squad with a team-best five sacrifice bunts. She also plated 22 runs from the number two spot in the order to rank third on the team. A graduate of North Attleboro High School, Caracciolo proved her worth in the field as well, committing just five miscues at second base in 131 chances for a .962 fielding mark. The middle infielder was a Second Team choice by the GNAC and ranked among the top hitters in the league, placing in the top 10 for walks (second), on-base percentage (second), runs (fourth), batting average (seventh) and doubles (10th), while topping the league with a .484 (30-62) batting mark in conference-only games. In addition, she racked up 13 multi-hit outings, including seven three-hit efforts to lead the team. In two seasons at Simmons, the Physical Therapy major has hit .399 (59-148) with 45 runs scored and 30 RBI, while owning a sparkling .503 on-base average to go with 16 extra-base hits, including 13 doubles in 57 games.
A staple in center field for Simmons, White was the Sharks' top run-producer last year with 36 runs batted in to rank third among GNAC leaders, while batting .375 (45-120) to earn Third Team All-Region and Second Team All-Conference accolades. The junior slugged .550 and led Simmons with four roundtrippers, while posting a .419 on-base percentage. The Westfield High School product also crossed the plate 23 times and was a perfect 4-4 on stolen base attempts. White proved to be the toughest player on the squad to strike out at a rate of once in every 16.3 plate appearances with eight whiffs in 130 plate appearances. The junior was also one of the most clutch performers at the plate for the Sharks, leading the team with 13 two-out RBI, while batting .429 (15-35) with two outs. White tied for the team lead with 10 multiple-RBI games, including two outings with four runs batted in and put together a 10-game hitting streak that saw her hit .529 (18-34) and strike out just once in 38 plate appearances to start last season. She also knocked in 12 runs and scored 12 times during the string. A Physical Therapy major, White owns a .316 (65-206) batting average with 49 RBI and 43 runs scored in 67 career games.