CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard softball team hosted its annual team banquet Wednesday evening in the Murr Center, handing out five team awards and selecting its captains for the 2016-17 season. Rising seniors Savannah Bradley and Giana Panariello were voted by their teammates as the leaders of the team for next season.
Bradley and Panariello occupied the right side of the Crimson infield this season, with Bradley serving as the primary first baseman and Panariello at second in 2016. Bradley drove in 16 runs and slapped two homers this season. Panariello finished third on the team with 11 doubles and tallied 22 RBI, while batting .318.
Senior co-captain Morgan Groom took home the Most Outstanding Pitcher award, finishing the year with a 10-5 record and one save. Her 10 wins was a career-high, while her 95 strikeouts finished one shy of her career-best of 96 she set as a freshman. Groom capped her terrific Crimson career with a 2.57 ERA over her four years and 331.2 innings pitched. She sat down 291 batters and averaged 6.14 strikeouts per seven innings, accumulating 26 wins and 16 complete games in her career.
The Best Offensive Player of the Year award went to sophomore Maddy Kaplan who led the Ivy League in batting average by 30 points at .472. That mark is also the second-highest, single-season batting mark in Harvard history, trailing only Mary Baldauf '88, who hit .488 in 1985. Kaplan doubled her RBI total this season from her freshman campaign to 32 this year and bumped up her slugging percentage by over .200 to .634, launching 12 doubles and two more homers. In her two years in a Crimson uniform, Kaplan has batted .407 with 48 RBI, 16 doubles, four home runs and 25 walks.
Freshman Rhianna Rich was named the Best Defensive Player of the Year, serving as the face of the Crimson defense that led the Ancient Eight in fielding percentage at .970. Rich started every game at shortstop as a rookie making 72 putouts with 96 assists. She was also a part of seven double plays in the middle of the Harvard infield in 2016.
The Betty Ippolito Legacy Award, given to the player who has done the most to continue the tradition of excellence in Harvard softball, was issued to senior Zoe Galindo. The co-captain has been a familiar face in the Crimson outfield during her career as the primary centerfielder. She played in a career-high 44 games this year, to go with a career-best .339 batting average, 12 RBI, five doubles and 42 hits.
The Becky Pocius Award, awarded annually to the player or players that embody the qualities of true team players, was given to freshman Kaitlyn Schiffhauer. The rookie brought a positive energy all season to the team, seeing action in 35 games with 15 starts. She completed her freshman season with nine RBI and five doubles, batting .367.