A softball player prepares to make a catch
Kenzie Dore of was the first Husson athlete in any sport to be named a national Freshman of the Year. Credit: Courtesy of Debbie Ryan

You would be hard-pressed to find something that Husson University freshman third baseman Kenzie Dore didn’t accomplish last season.

Dore, whose top-seeded Eagles will be hosting the six-team double-elimination North Atlantic Conference softball tournament this weekend, was the National Fastpitch Coaches Association’s National Freshman of the Year, a finalist for NFCA Division III Player of the Year, an NFCA All-Region first team selection, a first team All-American, the North Atlantic Conference’s Rookie of the Year and an All-NAC first team choice.

The Holden native and former Brewer High School standout was the first Husson athlete in any sport to be named a national Freshman of the Year.

Dore helped lead Husson to its third straight NAC championship and a runner-up finish to Tufts University in the NCAA Division III Regional hosted by Husson last spring.

She hit .455 with four homers, three triples and eight doubles, 38 runs-batted in, a .717 slugging percentage and a .513 on-base percentage. She hit safely in 28 of Husson’s 32 games and had a 21-game hitting streak.

So how do you follow a season like that?

Dore knew there would be a lot of pressure on her and she had to find a way to deal with it.

“I had a lot of meetings with coach [Diann Ramsey]. I knew if I put that pressure on myself, I wouldn’t be helpful to the team at all,” Dore said.

“She helped me with my mindset. When I get in the box, I have been taking deep breaths. I have a routine now. It relaxes me and helps me out,” she said. “But I also step into the box with a certain swagger. I always have that chip on my shoulder. I feel I always have something more  to prove.”

Ramsey has given Dore some books and articles to read pertaining to having the right mindset to be successful.

“I have found out what helps me thrive in certain situations,” Dore added.

It has been working.

Entering this weekend’s tournament, Dore is again leading the Eagles in virtually every offensive category.

She is hitting .433 with seven triples, six doubles, three homers and 23 runs batted in. She has also scored 28 runs and has a .712 slugging percentage and a .487 on-base percentage.

Her seven triples are tied for seventh in the country among 400 teams.

“I try to get out of the box quickly,” said Dore, who runs the bases aggressively. She has stolen 10 bases in 12 attempts.

Dore said she has learned to deal with failure and that has been beneficial in taking pressure off her and maintaining a healthy mindset.

“Nobody wants to have an off-game or an off-weekend,” Dore said. “But you have to realize that softball is a game of failure. You fail more than half the time. But I have become okay with that and it has helped me. The mental aspect of the game is a big part of softball and I have really improved.”

At the plate, the right handed-hitting Dore has focused on hitting the ball to the opposite field more this season.

The Eagles will come into this weekend’s tournament at the O’Keefe Softball Field with an overall record of 23-9. They are 9-1 in the conference.

Fourth seed Thomas College in Waterville, 15-15 and 8-2, respectively, will take on NAC East Division rival and fifth seed Northern Vermont-Lyndon (17-11, 6-4) to open the tournament on Friday at 10 a.m.

NAC West teams Cazenovia (15-9, 5-7) and SUNY Canton (12-20, 6-6), the third and sixth seeds, respectively, will square off at noon.

Husson will take on the Thomas-NVU-Lyndon winner at  2 and No. 2 seed SUNY Cobleskill (14-13, 11-1) will play the winner of the Cazenovia-SUNY Canton game at 4.

There will be five games on Saturday beginning at 9 a.m. and the championship round will begin on Sunday at noon with an if-necessary game following at 2 p.m.

Husson and Thomas split their regular season games with Husson winning 2-0 behind McKenna Smith’s one-hitter before Kelsey Currier tossed a nine-inning six-hitter as Thomas triumphed in the nightcap 1-0.

Complementing Dore for the Eagles this season have been senior catcher-designated player  Meagan Gosselin (.342-0 homers-13 RBIs), senior second baseman Katie Windsor (.327-0-17), sophomore left fielder Teagan Blackie (.317-0-13) and junior center fielder Katie Raymond (.310-1-10).

Saint Anselm transfer Smith is having a remarkable season in the circle. She is 15-3 with an 0.73 earned-run average. She is second in the country in fewest hits allowed per seven innings (3.29), fourth in strikeouts per seven innings (12.7) and seventh in total strikeouts (209).