New London — For the first time in school history, Coast Guard Academy will retire a uniform number when All-American softball pitcher Hayley Feindel is honored at halftime of the Coast Guard-Framingham State football game on Saturday, Oct. 27.
Feindel, who wore number 16, finished her magnificent career as the NCAA Division III all-time leader in wins (124), strikeouts (1,457), innings pitched (1,029.7), games (160), games started (156) and complete games (140). She ranks second all-time in Division III with 62 shutouts. She graduated with a career record of 124-30 with nine no-hitters and a pair of perfect games.
"The Academy does a great job of recognizing accomplishments and hard work," said Feindel, who is currently stationed in Kodiak, Alaska. "CGA has always given me more praise and flattery than I could have ever imagined for simply doing something I loved, but this tops it all. I am extremely honored and humbled by having my jersey number retired. It will serve as a permanent reminder to me of the wonderful experience that Bears softball was for me.
''From the dedicated coaches and athletic staff, to the committed fans, and to the classiest ladies I know, my teammates, I am convinced that playing on these four different teams each year has made me a better person."
During her four years, Feindel led the Bears to four straight NCAA tournament appearances, as well as three straight New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference regular season (2009, 2010, 2011) and tournament championships (2010, 2011, 2012).
Coast Guard had never won a conference regular season or tournament championship and never appeared in the NCAA tournament before she arrived on campus. The Bears had a four-year record of 139-40-1, the most wins over a four-year period in school history.
"Hayley is the kind of player that you get to coach once in a career and it's a huge honor to have Hayley be the first Coast Guard Academy athlete to have her number retired," coach Donna Koczajowski said.
"She gave our program national prominence and she will never be replaced. Hayley left her mark not only on Coast Guard softball, but on Division III softball."
Feindel was the 2011 New England Intercollegiate Softball Coaches Association (NEISCA) Player of the Year and a three-time NEWMAC Pitcher of the Year.
As a senior, Feindel missed 16 games with a broken finger and still led the Bears to the NEWMAC tournament championship and fourth straight NCAA tournament trip.
Feindel chose to wear number 16 at CGA because her brother wore it playing baseball.
"Having it honored in such a way means a lot to me and my family, without whose love and support, I could not have accomplished anything," Feindel said. "I am forever grateful for this honor."