Shelby Noel, senior first baseman for the Bearcat softball team, was named to the preseason All-American Second Team by Fastpitch News.
Coming off of a record-breaking season in 2017, Noel is expected to be an impact leader for the team this year.
Noel herself has the bar set high for both her team’s and her own performance.
“I want to try and top my stats from last year, which will be a challenge but I’m excited for it. As a team, our goal is to win the PAC title,” Noel said.
One of Noel’s favorite memories of her time on the team is winning the PAC title her sophomore year. She wants to recreate that memorable feeling that she describes as being “like no other feeling in the world. Nothing can top it.”
Beating the number one team in the country that year, Virginia Wesleyan College, in the first round of the NCAA tournament did come close to replicating the feeling, Noel said.
Teammate Mackenzie Gostomski, junior criminology major, is certain in Noel’s ability to help lead the team to success. She noted that Noel’s work ethic in practice and poise during games sets a great example for her younger teammates.
“[Shelby] and the other four seniors are seasoned players with a lot of softball knowledge to share. There is no doubt in my mind that with their leadership we can have a spectacular season,” Gostomski said.
Last season Noel led the PAC in batting average (.458), slugging percentage (.925), RBI (39), triples (9) and total bases (99). She was named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division III All-Central Region Third Team, All-ECAC South First-Team and All-PAC first team. Noel has been named to the PAC first team in all three of her seasons playing at Saint Vincent.
So far this season Noel has been dominant once again. She is averaging a .459 at the plate, has 9 RBI’s and eight scores, including two home runs.
Nicole Karr, softball head coach, speaks highly of Noel and is confident in her ability to shine this season.
“She is a good power hitter and a great defensive player. She always gives 100% and is highly motivated and determined to accomplish her goals and constantly strives for success,” Karr said.
Something Noel looks forward to every year is the team’s spring break trip to Florida. The trip opens up their season with eight games against schools from all over the country. This year the team started the season off with a 5-3 record in the sunshine state.
Noel explained that the trip is a great way to kick off the season because it fosters the opportunity for a lot of team bonding, which is crucial for their success. She also mentioned the trip is sort of like living in a fantasy land, where “all we have to worry about is playing softball and soaking up the sun.”
Noel is a native to the Latrobe area, and graduate of Greater Latrobe High School where she played four years of softball and two years of basketball.
She is majoring in criminology with a minor in forensic science. After graduation she will be returning to Saint Vincent to pursue her masters of science in criminology.
Noel and her team return to action at home against Mount Aloysius College on April 9 at 3 p.m.
Photos: SVC Athletics