A softball player takes a swing of her bat
Kenzie Dore of Husson University takes a cut during a May 2021 game in Bangor. Credit: Courtesy of Debbie Ryan

Two local softball players who led Husson University to its fourth straight North Atlantic Conference championship earned Player of the Year and Pitcher of the Year honors from the conference on Wednesday.

Holden native and former Brewer High star Kenzie Dore was named the conference’s Player of the Year and Old Town’s McKenna Smith was chosen the Pitcher of the Year.

Dore, the Eagle third baseman and the 2021 NAC Rookie of the Year, followed up a remarkable All-American freshman season during which she was a national Player of the Year finalist, with a stellar sophomore season.

Dore hit .563 in 10 conference games and .411 overall. Her on-base percentage in conference play was .605 and her slugging percentage was .875.

In all games, she had an on-base percentage of .469 and a slugging percentage of .696.

She has four homers, six doubles, seven triples and 11 stolen bases in 35 games. She has driven in 26 runs and has scored 29.

The hard-throwing Smith did not allow an earned run in her six regular season conference starts and held opponents to a .046 batting average while striking out 76. She was named the Most Valuable Player in the NAC Tournament.

In all games, the Saint Anselm College transfer is 17-3 with two saves and is third among 400 Division III schools in the country in strikeouts (239), strikeouts per seven innings (12.9) and hits allowed per seven innings (3.45). She is fifth in earned run average (0.70) and opponents are hitting just .139 against her.

Husson’s senior center fielder Whitney Bess from Madison was named the conference’s Senior Scholar Athlete.

Bess had a 4.0 grade-point average and recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree in accounting with a minor in coaching and an MBA. On the field, she led the Eagles in stolen bases with 13 and she hit .278 with four doubles and 12 RBIs.

Sophomore Dore, junior Smith and freshman Knapp were joined on the All-NAC Eastern Division first team by Thomas College graduate student catcher Bailey Dunphy, senior pitcher/infielder Kelsey Currier, senior first baseman Kasey Champney and junior shortstop Maddie Rock; University of Maine senior pitcher-shortstop Jordan Hansen and NVU-Lyndon junior shortstop Saleena Porter.

Husson placed four players on the second team in senior catcher Meagan Gosselin, senior second baseman Katie Windsor, junior right fielder Katie Raymond and senior center fielder Whitney Bess. Windsor is from Hermon, Bess is a Madison native, Gosselin is from Lewiston and Raymond is from Rochester, New Hampshire.

The other two members chosen to the second team were University of Maine Farmington freshman catcher Christa Allen and NVU-Lyndon sophomore pitcher-outfielder Victoria Valentine.

The Coach of the Year was SUNY Cobleskill’s Liz Neubinski and the Rookie of the Year was Northern Vermont University-Lyndon catcher Claudia Knapp.

Husson will face host Amherst College in the NCAA Division III Amherst Regional on Friday at 4:30 p.m.