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Bethlehem, Pa., April 25, 2005—Moravian College senior Heather Bortz was the recipient of one of 19 scholarships sponsored by the Tug McGraw Foundation’s Diamond 45 Scholarship Program, and UbiquiTel, Inc.
She received the honor at a ceremony on April 15 in Citizens Bank Park. Officiating at the ceremonies were Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Jim Thome, a member of the foundation’s board of directors; Phillies broadcaster Larry Andersen, a member of the foundation’s advisory committee; and Donald A. Harris, chairman and CEO of UbiquiTel.
Bortz, Allentown, Pa., has excelled both athletically and academically at Moravian. She is a psychology and elementary education double major, and was awarded Dean’s List standing for 6 semesters during her college career. She has been inducted into the Kappa Delta Pi (education) and Psi Chi (psychology) academic honor societies.
Bortz is the starting shortstop for Moravian’s softball team, and set an NCAA All-Division record with a 44 game hitting streak from April 15, 2003 to April 17, 2004. Last season, she helped the Greyhounds to become the National Runner-Up at the NCAA Division III World Series. As of April 18, 2004, her career statistics rank first in all-time in hits (230), first in batting average (.446), second in at-bats (516), second in runs (125), second in total bases (271) and third in stolen bases (42) for Moravian softball players. She set a Greyhound single-season record with 74 hits in 2004 and already has 39 this season.
Bortz’s stellar performances on and off the field have earned her the honor of being named to the 2004 College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-America Third Team College Division; the 2004 National Fastpitch Coaches Association First Team All-American and 2003 National Fastpitch Coaches Association Second Team All-American; the NFCA All-Region First Team in 2003 and 2004 and Second Team in 2002, the Commonwealth All-Conference First Team three times.
She was also recognized as the 2002 Commonwealth Rookie of the Year, the 2003 & 2004 Commonwealth Player of the Year, the 2003 & 2004 Eastern College Athletic Conference Southern Player of the Year (and a First Team All-Star), and the 2003 Lehigh Valley Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women Player of the Year. Bortz was featured in Sports Illustrated on May 31, 2004 as part of its weekly Faces in the Crowd column.
The Diamond 45 Scholarship Program supports students who exemplify Tug McGraw’s “Ya Gotta Believe” message. McGraw coined the phrase while a member of the New York Mets, inspiring them to win the National League pennant in 1973. He was a fan favorite throughout his Major League Baseball career, which spanned 21 years of his life.
Prior to his death from brain cancer in January 2004, he created the Tug McGraw Foundation to raise funds for brain cancer research to help survivors and their families have a better quality of life, and to increase public awareness. This is the first year that the scholarship has been awarded, and attests to McGraw’s belief in higher education. The Tug McGraw Foundation encourages recipients to be proactive in serving to improve the quality of life for people with serious illnesses or other significant challenges in their lives.