LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Guilford College’s Makayla Carver (Granite Falls, N.C./South Caldwell) and Kayli Blankenship (Pittsboro, N.C./Northwood) earned All-Atlantic Region recognition from the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Monday. Carver was a first-team pick, while Blankenship earned second-team honors. The Quakers are two of 360 NCAA Division III students so honored.
All-region players are nominated and selected by NFCA member coaches in each of the eight Division III regions. First-team all-region choices are eligible for selection to the NFCA All-America Team, which will be announced May 24 online at NFCA.org and in person at the NCAA Division III Championship banquet in Oklahoma City.
Carver, a Second-Team All-Atlantic pick in 2016, was a First Team All-Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) outfielder this season. Guilford’s starting leftfielder hit .444 in 42 contests with 53 runs scored, four homers, a league-best 18 doubles and 36 RBI. Her 67 hits top the conference and rank second in school history. Carver also ranks among the top-five ODAC leaders in at-bats (151), runs, RBI, total bases (97), batting average and on-base percentage (.500). She converted on 12-of-14 stolen-base attempts and ranks third all-time at Guilford with 36 career thefts. Carver stands 10th in NCAA Division III through games of May 15 with 61 hits, her 18 doubles rank 11th and her 1.28 runs per game are 16th-best in the country. She led the Quakers with 21 multiple-hit games, including three contests with four or more hits. Carver was also one of Guilford’s top pitchers and shared the school’s Best Female Athlete Award. She stands among the ODAC’s best with a 10-3 record in 17 appearances with 53 strikeouts and a 1.95 earned run average in 86 innings.
Like Carver, Blankenship was a First Team All-ODAC selection this spring. The rookie centerfielder leads the ODAC and ranks 28th nationally with a .466 batting average, the third-highest batting average in school history, in 37 games (28 starts). Blankenship’s .505 on-base percentage ranks fourth in the league and fifth in school history. Her 14 stolen bases in 16 attempts in all games also stand among the ODAC’s best and fifth-best all-time at Guilford. Blankenship’s 38 runs scored stood second on the team to Carver and rank seventh in school history. She had two or more hits in 12 different games, including four-hit showings in Quakers’ wins over Sweet Briar College April 22 and Westminster (Mo.) College March 19. Blankenship posted an 11-game hitting streak, Guilford’s third-longest of the year.
The pair helped coach Dennis Shores’ Quakers to the most successful season in school history. Guilford won a school-record 30 games and went 14-6 in the league, another Guilford standard. The wins marks are two of 29 school records set in 2017. The Quakers were ranked in the season’s first NCAA Division III Atlantic Region Poll. Shores could return as many as 20 letterwinners, including Carver and Blankenship.