Lynchburg's Chitwood Named Division III Player of the Year

Lynchburg's Chitwood Named Division III Player of the Year

LOUISVILLE, Ky. --- For the third straight season, the softball player of the year calls an ODAC school home.

University of Lynchburg first baseman Mackenzie Chitwood earned Schutt Sports/NFCA Division III Player of the Year honors as announced by the NFCA on Friday afternoon. The award is an addition to the First Team All-America nod she received from the organization earlier this month.

Chitwood joins Virginia Wesleyan University lefty Hanna Hull as recent recipients of the NFCA's top award. Hull earned the honor in 2017 and 2018. The award was broken into two separate honors for the first time this season -- the Schutt Sports/NFCA Division III Player and Pitcher of the Year awards.

The Schutt Sports/NFCA Division III National Player and Pitcher of the Year award recipients are selected by NFCA's All-American Committee, which includes a representative from each of the eight NCAA Division III regions.

RELATED: NFCA Player of the Year Release

Chitwood headlines a list of ODAC honorees that includes four All-Americans and eight athletes named to the All-Atlantic Region first and second teams. For Chitwood and teammate Taylor Mabry, this is their first All-American nods with Mabry earning a spot on the third team. Virginia Wesleyan third baseman Julia Sinnett joined Mabry on the third team, while national strikeout leader and player/pitcher of the year finalist Hull partnered with Chitwood on the first team. This is the third year Hull has earned a first team spot.

All four All-Americans were named to the Atlantic Region first team. Four more from the ODAC picked up second team honors. That list includes Guilford College outfielder Makayla Carver and catcher Makayla Crawford, Randolph-Macon College shortstop Savannah Wood, and VWU outfielder Madison Glaubke.

RELATED: NFCA All-Americans | NFCA All-Region

Chitwood, from Ferrum, Va., put together a banner campaign that saw her finish the year as the Divison III leader in homer runs (21) and runs driven in (72). Both marks are new ODAC and Lynchburg single-season records. She posted a .342/.448/.848 slash line on the way to collecting 140 total bases, which also topped all Division III players.

The three time ODAC Player of the Week and Most Outstanding Player from the Virginia Beach Regional pushed the pedal down in the postseason. In 12 games thru ODAC Tournament and NCAA Tournament play, Chitwood hit .378 with a .551 OBP and a 1.000 slugging percentage. She belted seven of her 21 homers and drove in 19 of her 72 RBI in playoff games. Four of her homers cleared the fences in NCAA Tournament contests, tying for the most in the tournament.

Chitwood, who graduated earlier this month, ends her career as the ODAC's all-time leader in home runs with 44. Her 158 runs driven in are seventh all-time.