Del Vacchio, Hennessey Named to GNAC Softball First Team; Nelson Named Second, Vann Tabbed Third

WINTHROP, Mass. ? Simmons College?s Lauren Del Vacchio (Murrieta, Calif.) and Molly Hennessey (Charlton, Mass.) were both named to the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Softball All-Conference First Team, while Juliet Nelson (Cumberland, R.I.) was selected to the Second Team and Ivy Vann (Bend, Ore.) was tabbed to the Third Team, it was announced by the league. 

WINTHROP, Mass. – Simmons College's Lauren Del Vacchio (Murrieta, Calif.) and Molly Hennessey (Charlton, Mass.) were both named to the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Softball All-Conference First Team, while Juliet Nelson (Cumberland, R.I.) was selected to the Second Team and Ivy Vann (Bend, Ore.) was tabbed to the Third Team, it was announced by the league. 

The four all-conference honorees mark the most Sharks to receive the accolade since 2015. 

Del Vacchio repeats as an All-Conference performer at second base after being named to the Third Team last season. The sophomore was one of the most dynamic hitters in the league, ranking second among league leaders with a .514 on-base percentage, including .560 in league games, while owning a .686 slugging mark from the leadoff spot to place 11th among GNAC players. The middle infielder batted .424 (50-118) to rank 10th among league leaders, while her .471 mark in GNAC games was the eighth-highest average. She led the league with 43 runs scored, which also ranks fourth in school history for the most in a season at Simmons and scored at least one run in seven straight games from April 7-14. The five-foot, two-inch Del Vacchio socked a team-high six home runs to place her eighth in the league, while her nine stolen bases was good for 16th, including eight thefts in league-only contests for the eighth-most in the conference. The Communications major racked up 50 hits to place ninth in the league and stand as the sixth-highest total in school annals, while her 20 walks was second in all games for GNAC players, but her 13 free bases in conference outings topped the league circuit. Del Vacchio added 13 doubles to place fourth in the league as part of 81 total bases to rank eighth among GNAC rivals. The Vista Murrieta High School product reached base via hit, walk or being hit by a pitch in 36 of 41 games that she played and failed to reach base in consecutive games just once. She was named the GNAC Player of the Week for April 2-8 and put together a team-best eight-game hitting streak from March 30 to April 8 that saw her hit .583 (14-24) during the stretch. Del Vacchio led the team with 16 multi-hit efforts, including a string of fourth straight outings with two or more base knocks. She also recorded 75 infield assists for the ninth-most in school history. 

The West Coast native has started all 80 games that she's appeared in and owns a .389 (91-234) career batting mark for the fourth-highest average in school history, while her .480 on-base percentage puts her fourth and her .585 slugging mark places her fifth. The second-year player also has 14 stolen bases to rank second, 22 doubles to place fourth and 36 walks to place sixth on the Sharks' career list. Del Vacchio stands ninth at Simmons with 137 total bases and seventh with 136 fielding assists. 

Hennessey earns a spot on the First Team after enjoying a season as one of the most productive hitters in the conference. The sophomore was among the league leaders in runs batted in for the entire season and finished the year ranked third with 39 RBI, which was also good for the sixth-most in school history. She excelled against league opponents, placing 17th with a .417 batting average in GNAC games as a part of an overall .372 (45-121) batting mark in all games. She also posted a .681 slugging percentage in league-only contests to rank 11th and registered a .554 clip in all games, while owning a .458 on-base mark in GNAC games for the 18th-highest figure. In addition, Hennessey scored 31 runs and rapped out 45 hits to rank 13th among GNAC leaders. The center fielder struck fear into opposing base runners with a throwing arm that often prevented them from taking extra bases and a glove that committed just one error, prior to closing out the season with 50 chances without a miscue. A graduate of Shepherd Hill Regional High School, Hennessey recorded 12 multi-RBI efforts, including a career-high of five that saw her hit a grand slam home run at Regis (Mass.) on April 7. She put together a six-game stretch that saw her hit .600 (12-20) with nine RBI and nine runs scored from April 8-14. 

For her career, Hennessey has batted .366 (89-243) for the sixth-highest batting mark in school history, while driving in 62 runs to rank seventh. She also places sixth on the school's career list with a .413 on-base percentage and a .539 slugging mark, while starting all 81 games the team has played. 

Nelson is named to the Second Team in her final season, after missing parts of the last two seasons with injuries. The senior flirted with the league lead in victories all year and finished second with a 14-8 record, including 10-3 in league games, while leading the circuit with 27 appearances. The starting pitcher ranked second with 21 starts and fourth with 123 2/3 innings pitched and 15 complete games, while placing eighth with a 2.83 earned run average and a .269 opponents batting average. Nelson's success was predicated on excellent control, issuing just 1.36 walks per seven innings pitched for the fourth-best mark in school history and her 67 strikeouts ranked seventh among GNAC leaders. The right-hander hurled three shutouts to stand sixth among league leaders, including a five-hitter with no walks to earn a 2-1 victory over Brandeis University on March 28. The Captain strung together a brilliant five-appearance span that saw her post a 5-0 record with a stingy 0.55 ERA, while holding opponents to a meager .229 batting mark over 25 1/3 innings and struck out 11 against just one walk from March 28 to April 7. The Cumberland High School product allowed two or fewer runs on 20 occasions, including a run or less 14 times. 

Nelson will graduate ranking fourth among Simmons career leaders in wins (26), complete games (27), appearances (54), fifth in earned run average (3.12), games started (42), innings pitched (256) and strikeouts (114). She also stands second with just 1.42 bases on balls allowed per seven innings pitched and sixth in opponents batting average at .297. 

Vann earns Third Team honors in just her first year of collegiate softball. The rookie was outstanding from the two-hole in the lineup, scoring 41 runs to rank second among league leaders, while cracking a school-record eight triples to rank second in the nation. The left fielder started all 41 games and batted .323 (40-124) for the season and owned a .597 slugging percentage, including .676 in league games, which placed her 12th on the GNAC leaderboard for GNAC competition. The first year player showed some pop at the plate with four home runs to stand 11th in the conference and collected 74 total bases to rank 10th . The Mountain View High School graduate also stole seven bases and rapped out 40 hits to rank 20th in the league in both categories. Vann registered a .382 on-base percentage as well and committed just one error in 45 chances in the outfield. She enjoyed a seven-game hitting streak that saw her hit .520 (13-25) with eight RBI and 10 runs scored from April 22-29 and was named the GNAC Rookie of the Week for the week of March 19-25, earlier in the season. 

Simmons finished the season with a 22-19 record, including 15-9 in GNAC play and earned the number three seed in the conference championship tournament. The Sharks' season came to an end in the GNAC Tournament semifinals.