RICHMOND, Va. – James Madison claimed three major Colonial Athletic Association softball season awards, the league announced on Tuesday.
Garnering the CAA Rookie of the Year last season, sophomore Odicci Alexander was named the 2018 CAA Player of the Year. Freshman Payton Bureschwas tabbed 2018 Rookie of the Year, while Head Coach Loren LaPorte was chosen as CAA Coach of the Year.
Three Dukes were named to the All-CAA First Team, one was named to the All-CAA Second Team and two were tabbed to the CAA All-Rookie team.
Alexander earned the league’s top player honor after excelling from both the plate and in the circle. Accumulating a .389 average, she has recorded 37 runs on 58 hits, including 8 doubles and 13 homers, tying her for third most in the CAA. Starting in every game that she’s appeared in this season, Alexander has a team-leading 47 RBI and is registering a .705 slugging percentage.
A strong addition to the pitching staff, Alexander has accrued a league-leading 23 wins and a 1.89 ERA over 194 1/3 innings of work, the second most in the conference. Having hurled 13 complete games, she’s recorded seven shutouts, fanning 191 for the second most in the league, and has a .202 batting against average that ranks third in the CAA.
Buresch has thrown 141 1/3 innings in her premiere season as a Duke. With her 1.39 ERA, she ranks within the top-25 in the nation and second in the CAA. She is third in the conference with 87 strikeouts and third with her 17 wins.
The Downers Grove, Ill. native tossed the program’s ninth no-hitter against Stony Brook in a five-inning 15-0 win. She has been a four-time CAA Rookie of the Week and has been named CAA Pitcher of the Week once.
In her first season as the Dukes’ head coach, Loren Messick LaPorte boasts a 40-10 regular-season record – a near perfect 19-2 in conference play – and sends JMU into postseason on a 10-game win streak. LaPorte has guided the Dukes to their sixth consecutive 40-win season and fifth straight regular-season title to enter the CAA Championship as the No. 1 seed. LaPorte’s squad is nationally ranked first in home runs per game (1.46 with 73 long balls in 50 games), ninth in scoring per game (6.28), 13th in ERA (1.72), and 21st in batting average (.310).
In her final season with the Dukes, Tolle has been an offensive force, producing a .389 batting average. She leads the team and the CAA with 16 homers, has recorded a squad-leading 46 runs and 68 hits as well as drawing 21 walks. Tolle leads the team with 20 multi-hit games. Her 46 RBI is second amongst the Dukes.
Gordon currently leads JMU with a .419 batting average after starting every game this season. The sophomore is tied for 16th in the nation after knocking 17 doubles on the season and leads the conference with a .508 on base percentage. She follows Tolle with 43 runs and 65 hits. Gordon has notched 11 homers and 43 RBI over 2018. At UNCW, she broke the program in RBI after putting up six in a single game.
Buresch was named to the All-CAA Second Team, as well as the CAA All-Rookie Team where she is joined by freshman Sara Jubas.
Starting every game on the season, Jubas has tallied at .277 batting average which includes 32 runs on 39 hits. She has hit seven homers, batted in 23 runs and drawn 13 walks. A two-time CAA Rookie of the Week, Jubas has also recorded six stolen bases during her freshman campaign and leads the Dukes with 12 sacrifice bunts.
The No. 22 ranked Dukes begin postseason action as they host the CAA Championships May 9-11. Top-seeded JMU opens play on Wednesday at 4 p.m., battling the winner of the first game – either No. 4 UNCW or No. 5 College of Charleston.
Credit to: James Madison University Athletics