Fournier, Tufts Looking for a Three-Peat

The list of accolades accorded Tufts University softball pitcher Allyson Fournier could fill an entire wall.

Honda Sports Award as the top Division III female athlete in the country in 2014. National Division III softball player of the year in 2013 and 2014. Recipient of the Hank O’Donnell Female Athlete of the Year Award from the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance at the 74th annual Gold Key Dinner in late April.

In Fournier’s view, the most important accomplishments are none of the above, but rather the back-to-back Division III national championships won by the Jumbos the past two seasons. Team success, rather than individual honors, are what matter most to this remarkable young woman.

“We just try to focus on the next game and don’t think too much about the third straight championship,” she said. “We try to get better every day at something. Everyone’s doing their job. Early in the season, we overcame some sickness and a ton of snow, so overcoming those obstacles has been the definition of this team.”

The hard-throwing righthander with the barely-hittable rise ball has helped put Tufts into the position to create history. No school has ever won three straight national softball championships.

For the fourth straight year, the Jumbos will be playing in the NCAA Finals, beginning May 21 in Salem, Virginia. Tufts will be carrying a 48-game winning streak into the series, a Division III record, including a perfect 46-0 this season.

The Jumbos qualified for the finals for the fourth straight year by sweeping WPI in a best-of-three series in the Super Regionals. The other seven finalists had yet to be determined at press time.

Fournier’s eye-popping statistics are a major reason for the program’s success. This season, she is 30-0 with a microscopic 0.12 earned-run average, allowing just three earned runs in 175.2 innings. She has struck out 380 batters while allowing just 49 hits and 16 walks.

Comparing those numbers to the past two season when she was voted the top D-3 softball player in the country, Fournier seems a shoo-in to capture that award for the third straight time. In 2014, she was 28-1 with a 0.49 ERA and 314 strikeouts, while in her national athlete of the year campaign in 2013, she was 25-1 with a 0.59 ERA and 272 whiffs.

“She is getting better, and I think she has the mindset of being so competitive out there and has a great balance of being a great team player,” Tufts head coach Cheryl Milligan said. “She doesn’t care about umpire’s calls, the strike zone, the pitch calling – just give her the ball and put a batter in the box. She goes out there and does her job, and is such a pleasure to coach. She is a great inspiration and a great person to look up to.”

Fournier, a South Windsor resident who graduated from East Catholic High School in 2001, declined several Division I offers to play softball in order to enroll at Tufts, where she is majoring in chemical engineering.

She said she plans to play a second season this summer with the Stratford Brakettes, a top-flight softball program, then will look to begin her chosen career.

 

Photo caption: Allyson Fournier and her Tufts teammates have thus far been perfect in their quest for a third straight Division III national softball title. Photo credit: Tim Jensen

 

 

 

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