JMU softball dominates All-CAA honors

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RICHMOND, Va. – With a dominant 44-7 record in the regular season, No. 16 James Madison softball claimed three major Colonial Athletic Association awards while nine student-athletes were listed to all-conference teams, as announced by the league on Tuesday afternoon.

For the second straight season, junior Odicci Alexander was named the CAA Player of the Year and Head Coach Loren LaPorte received the honor as CAA Coach of the Year. Redshirt senior Megan Good was tabbed the CAA Pitcher of the Year for the fourth time in her career.

Five Dukes were named to the All-CAA First Team, three earned All-CAA Second Team honors and one was selected for the CAA All-Rookie Team.

After another strong season in the circle and in the box, Alexander received the league’s top honor. The Boydton native has played in 48 games, averaging .354 at the plate with 51 hits, eight doubles, 14 home runs and 52 RBI with a .715 slugging percentage. During the series against Drexel, Alexander blasted four home runs in two games, including one grand slam. In the pitcher’s circle, Alexander leads the CAA with 20 victories while tallying 141 strikeouts through 124 2/3 innings with a 2.02 ERA. Alexander was also named to the All-CAA First Team.

Despite sitting out in 2018 due to injury, Good’s dominance returned in the 2019 campaign, collecting 18 wins with three coming against nationally-ranked opponents in the circle. Good threw 18 complete games, six shutouts and two saves over a span of 150 1/3 innings while racking up 172 K’s. Her 1.49 ERA leads the league and is 28th in the nation while she’s limited her earned runs in conference action, posting a 0.87 ERA.

In her second season at the helm, LaPorte challenged her team with a strong non-conference schedule and finished the regular season at 44-7 while holding a 20-1 record in CAA play. JMU’s 20 CAA wins are the most in a single-season in program history. LaPorte guided the Dukes to their seventh consecutive 40-win season and six straight regular-season title while holding a spot in all three national polls every week since the preseason.

The five Dukes among All-CAA First Team selections include: Madison Naujokas, Kate Gordon, Logan Newton, Alexander and Good.

In her junior campaign, Naujokas started all 51 games at second base in which she had 57 putouts and 62 assists while yielding a .944 fielding percentage. The Chicago native is having a career season at the plate, averaging .336 with 43 hits, six doubles, four home runs and 27 RBI. Naujokas has had 10 multi-hit games while boasting a 10-game hitting streak earlier this season. This is the junior’s second First Team All-CAA honor of her career.

With a stellar batting average of .434, Gordon has earned First Team honors for the second straight season. The local product leads the team in hits (69), doubles (15) and home runs (16) while boasting a .855 slugging percentage – 14th best in the country. Gordon set a school record with three homers against No. 6 Tennessee at the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational earlier this year after hitting a long ball in four consecutive at-bats, including one against Florida Atlantic.

Having a breakout sophomore campaign, Newton is 12th in the nation with a .442 batting average while garnering 46 hits, eight doubles, 10 homers and 45 RBI in 40 games. Newton launched her first career home run against Lehigh at the ASU Invitational and finished the game with two home runs. She’s been named the CAA Player of the Week twice this season.

In addition to her numbers in the circle, Good has performed well at the plate, hitting .338 on the year with 47 hits, 15 home runs and nine doubles. Good leads the team with 56 runs batted in while drawing 40 walks.

After receiving All-Rookie honors last season, sophomore Sara Jubas was named to the All-CAA Second Team. Jubas has played shortstop in all 50 games she’s appeared in, upping her batting average from .302 last year to .415 this season. The sophomore has the second-most hits on the team (54) while garnering 15 doubles, nine home runs and 50 RBI. With only three strikeouts on the season, Jubas is the ninth toughest batter in the nation to strike out and has an on base percentage of .506.

Starting the season in right field before moving to third base, sophomore Hannah File has been named to the All-CAA Second Team after starting in all 51 games this season. File holds a .354 batting average with 52 hits, 11 of which of doubles, six home runs and 34 RBI. She’s had 16 multi-hit games, including a career-high four hits against Delaware on May 4.

Sophomore pitcher Payton Buresch was named to the All-CAA Second Team for the second consecutive season following a 6-1 record in 2019. Buresch threw 46 1/3 innings in which she compiled a 1.66 overall ERA and 0.49 in CAA action. The sophomore has appeared in 18 games this season and earned the save in two while picking up 30 strikeouts.

Rounding out JMU’s conference awards is freshman Victoria Figueroa who was named to the CAA All-Rookie Team. Figueroa has become a go-to pinch hitter, capitalizing in eight of 19 at-bats for a .421 average. The rookie has hit one double, one triple and one home run while tallying eight RBI.