As part of our summer series, the Johnson & Wales athletics department is counting down the Top 10 stories from the 2016-17 school year. A group of staff members, coaches and student-athletes selected the best 10 stories from another great season of Wildcat athletics.
Here is #4:
It took an unconventional route, but the Johnson & Wales University softball team persevered to win its third-straight GNAC Championship. After running roughshod with a 21-1 record during conference action, the Wildcats earned the right to host the GNAC Tournament as the top seed.
JWU had to outslug Albertus Magnus, 13-12, in its first game with All-American Emily Gorecki delivering a two-run double in sixth. Rain pushed the action to Simmons' Daly Field on Saturday, but the Wildcats didn't seem fazed as they beat Suffolk, 6-0.
The Rams worked their way back to championship Sunday and scored two runs in the sixth to defeat the Wildcats, 3-2, and force a deciding game. Johnson & Wales pounded out nine runs in the fifth and six innings to beat Suffolk, 15-5, and collect its third trophy.
Johnson & Wales was shipped to SUNY Cortland for the NCAA Tournament. Missed opportunities will haunt the Wildcats as they lost, 5-2, to #12 Messiah and 4-3 to the host Red Dragons.
As expected, JWU dominated the postseason GNAC awards. Corona was named Pitcher of the Year, outfielder Kirstin Frost took home Rookie of the Year and Kim Camara-Harvey picked up Coach of the Year. Eight Wildcats were on the All-GNAC teams, including four First-Team honorees.
Accolades continued to roll in at the regional and national level. Corona, DuPerry, Frost, Gorecki and Katie Rufo were honored with NFCA All-Region awards. Gorecki became the first player in program history to earn All-America honors with a Fastpitch News First-Team selection.