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Fordham Softball Named NFCA Mid-Atlantic Coaching Staff of the Year

Release: 06/14/2017
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Courtesy: Associated Press
Louisville, Ky. – The National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) announced on Monday evening its list of Division I Regional Coaching Staffs of the Year and the Fordham softball program, helmed by head coach Bridget Orchard and assisted by Reese Mariconda and Gabby Luety, split Mid-Atlantic honors with Notre Dame. This is the third such award for Orchard and Fordham, earning the distinction in both 2010 and 2011, and the first for Mariconda and Luety, although the latter was a freshman on the team that year for the 2011 season.
"I am very excited for our coaching staff to be recognized and honored by the NFCA," Orchard said, "A huge thanks to all the players, past and present, the support staff, and the administration, for all the support to make this season and our softball program so successful."
For Orchard and her Rams, the 2017 campaign was a banner year, seeing multiple team and individual records fall. Fordham finished 46-17, the second-most victories in school history, while playing the most contests, 63, in any season since its inception in 1985. The Rams won their fifth consecutive Atlantic 10 championship, matching last year's record of 18 conference wins, and reached their sixth consecutive NCAA Regional, recording a 1-2 record in Salt Lake City, with a win over Mississippi State in their first elimination contest of the weekend.
The Rams broke team records in batting average (.310), RBI (351), runs (387), total bases (801), walks (269), and on-base percentage (.409), and became the first squad in the school's history to record over 200 walks and a .400 on-base percentage, also impressively walking more than they struck out. The squad also set a single-game record with 23 runs at St. Bonaventure on April 19, doing so in just six innings, while matching the record for most RBI in a game, with 21. The team also tallied a new record 13 walks against Bryant on February 17.
At the individual level, Sydney Canessa broke the all-time record for runs scored, finishing with 193, and also became the first player to record six hits in a single contest, going 6-for-6 with a career-best eight RBI against the Bonnies on that record-setting day. Madi Shaw waited until the final day of the season, against Mississippi State, to break Elise Fortier's record for RBI in a season, with 74. Sophomore Jessica Hughes' fantastic sophomore campaign included setting single-season marks in walks (53), on-base percentage (.510), and runs scored (64).
Orchard took over at Fordham before the 2001 season, with the program never finishing with a winning record, at an overall mark of 178-430-3 (.294), and, after one losing season during her first year, has helped the team rattle off 15 winning seasons, all with 30 wins or more, and three with 40 wins or more. The .294 program win percentage she inherited is now all the way up to .495.
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