Rowan University senior Stephanie Labas, a Millville High School graduate, was named the New Jersey Athletic Conference Softball Player of the Year on Thursday.
Labas, who plays first base, is a three-time all-conference selection. Still, the 22-year-old was surprised to receive the Player of the Year honor.
"It never crossed my mind that it was even a possibility," Labas said. "I was shocked when I was selected."
In conference games, Labas finished the regular season at the top of the league in slugging percentage (.729), hits (24), home runs (six) and total bases (43). She is second in the league in batting average (.407) and RBIs (23).
Her offensive presence has tremendously benefited Rowan's season. The Profs are 36-5 and the top seed in the NJAC tournament. Rowan hosts fourth-seeded Richard Stockton College in a tournament game at 1 p.m. today.
"We're such a young team and we've really proved people wrong. We've done well from the get-go. We're a really strong team, and that's great for as young as we are," Labas said.
This season, Labas broke the school record for career home runs (25) and tied the single- season home-run record (11) that she set last year. She has 31 total home runs.
Rowan has posted 28 or more wins in each of her four seasons.
"Being around people who are experienced and know what they're doing helps a lot," Labas said. "They give me advice and tips on how to improve each day. They help me stay positive and keep my head up so I can be successful."
Rowan's LeAnne Miller (Vineland) was also named to the first team. Miller is the Profs' senior pitcher who has a 20-2 record and an ERA of 0.79. Meagan Lee (Oakcrest) was a second-team selection for Rowan.
Also on the first team are Stockton's Michelle Pietrocola and Nicole Scanlon.
Pietrocola, a junior pitcher, has a 15-5 record, 1.00 ERA, 15 complete games and nine shutouts. Her 184 strikeouts are third best in the NJAC.
Scanlon, the Ospreys' junior catcher, is batting .347 this season and has a .462 average with runners in scoring position. In 35 games, Scanlon has scored 10 runs and has 20 RBIs.
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