Amanda Genovese had already earned numerous accolades for her storybook spring with Brandeis University softball when her mother called her and told Amanda they had to fly to Wisconsin. The reason for this abrupt journey was because Amanda-whose sophomore year saw her break Brandeis's single-season and all-time stolen base records for All-Conference and All-New England honors-had gained an even greater distinction by being named a Division III First Team All-American. Amanda attended the ceremony on May 16 and was honored to take the stage among the country's elite.
"When I was leading the nation in steals, I knew I would get on the radar and hoped I would make All-American, but I didn't think it would happen," said Amanda, who swiped 57 bags in 59 chances this year and is 79-for-84 in her career. "When they announced my stats, everyone in the crowd was like 'Wow' and so was I because I realized I did something really great and am one of the best softball players in the country."
Amanda-a standout softball player and fencer who graduated from North Haven in 2011-began her college career with a stellar freshman season that featured her making Second Team All-Conference and Third Team All-New England to go with conference Rookie of the Year honors for Brandeis, which is in Waltham, Mass. She then established two goals for her sophomore year as the Judges' leadoff batter and center fielder. Amanda's primary goal was to steal 48 bases in her team's 48 games, but she also wanted to accomplish something she had never done in her career: hit a home run over the fence. After she had already achieved the first feat en route to breaking the single-season stolen base record, Amanda knocked her second goal out of the park while making more history when the Judges hosted Eastern Connecticut for a doubleheader on April 28.
First, Amanda came to bat in the third inning of the nightcap and took a two-strike pitch over the right field fence for a solo homer. Then in the fourth, Amanda reached base on a single, stole second base to tie Brandeis's career stolen base mark, and then promptly thieved third for her 73rd career steal, the most in program history. Brandeis won the game 7-3 and Amanda stole six more bases and batted .453 for the Judges.
"There were two outs and so I had nothing to lose by swinging for the fence. At first, I thought it would be a double, but then when I saw the right fielder stop running, I knew it had gone over and I felt excited to have finally done it," says Amanda, who is studying neuroscience. "Then I thought I had broken the stolen base record when I stole second, but they didn't say anything over the loudspeaker; then when I stole third, they announced it. I actually thought hitting the home run was cooler, but I'm honored to be in the history books for stolen bases and it meant a lot that I did it in a game we won."
Ready to congratulate Amanda was Brandeis Coach Jessica Johnson, who's glad she gave her athlete the green light to steal at her leisure this year.
"Amanda broke some records that I don't think will ever be touched," Johnson says. "Amanda gets on base by taking what the defense gives her and also made a seamless transition to center field, where she saved games for us by throwing out runners and catching balls I never thought she'd get to. Amanda was a difference maker on every play."