Dixie State, HPU picked to slug it out for PacWest title
Dixie State, HPU picked to slug it out for PacWest title
Sea Warriors claim Preseason Pitcher, Player of the Year honors in Musquiz & Kim
PHOENIX, AZ - Dixie State College received five first-place votes, while Hawai‘i Pacific earned three as the two nationally-recognized programs have been picked to finish 1-2 in the chase for the 2010 Pacific West Conference Softball Championship.
HPU may be the preseason runner-up, but the reigning PacWest Champions boast five Preseason All-Conference selections at six positions, the Preseason Player of the Year in sophomore DP Maile Kim (Salinas, CA/Notre Dame), and the Preseason Pitcher of the Year in three-time All-PacWest First Team selection Sherise Musquiz (Pico Rivera, CA/El Rancho).
The honors were announced on Thursday, Feb. 11, during the inaugural PacWest Softball Media Day and were voted upon by the head coaches of the conference. The PacWest Softball Media Day can be accessed on PacWest Magazine Radio on the league's website (www.pacificwestsports.org), or on Red Zone Media (www.redzonemedia.com).
HPU captured the 2009 PacWest Championship with a 20-4 conference record, edging out runner-up Dixie State who finished 19-5.
Both teams wound up with more than 40 victories on the year, but it was Dixie State nudging HPU out of the sub-regional in the NCAA Division II Tournament. Ultimately, Dixie State won the West Region Championship and fought their way to a berth in the Division II Softball World Series.
The following list is the 2010 predicted order of finish:
Team (First Place Votes) - 2009 Record (Conference Finish)
1. Dixie State (5) - 41-13 / 19-5 PacWest (2nd)
2. Hawai‘i Pacific (3) - 42-12 / 20-4 PacWest (1st)
3. Grand Canyon - 37-27 / 14-9 PacWest (3rd)
4. Hawai‘i Hilo (1) - 26-22 / 13-10 PacWest (4th)
5. Academy of Art - 15-29 / First Year in a Conference
6. Chaminade - 9-40 /8-16 PacWest (5th)
7. Notre Dame de Namur - 10-38-1 / 1-21 (7th)
8. BYU-Hawaii - 13-27 / 6-16 (6th)
9. Dominican (CA) - 11-27 / 7-13 (5th - California Pacific Conference)
Kim made a sensational debut as a rookie in 2009, leaving enough of a lasting impression to be named the preseason favorite for best player in the PacWest. In addition to being named All-PacWest First Team, she also was selected as the 2009 PacWest Newcomer and Freshman of the Year.
In 54 starts for the Sea Warriors in 2009, Kim hit .412 with 70 base hits in 170 at-bats. She is the top returning hitter in the conference.
Last season she belted seven home runs while driving in a total of 50, and she crossed the plate 36 times. She also had 13 doubles, 18 walks, a .466 on-base percentage and a .612 slugging rate. She tied for third in the league in RBI and ranked fifth in total bases with 104.
While Kim is beginning her second year, Musquiz is kicking off her farewell tour in the PacWest - and batters will be glad to see her go. She has been named to the All-PacWest First Team for three straight seasons and was the 2007 Pitcher and Freshman of the Year in the conference.
In 2009, Musquiz boasted a 1.19 earned run average that led to a 21-4 record. She started 21 games and completed 14 while tossing 152.2 innings of work. She had 57 strikeouts and only allowed 32 earned runs.
In addition to their individual player awards, Kim and Musquiz were selected to the PacWest Preseason All-Conference Team.
HPU senior OF Ciera Senas (Wahiawa, HI/Mililani, an All-PacWest First Team choice in 2008, was named to the preseason squad along with senior flex player Laine Shikuma (Hilo, HI/Waiakea).
Senas hit .323 in 54 starts for the Sea Warriors last year, going 60 for 186 with 51 runs scored, eight doubles, three triples, a homer and 23 RBI. She also walked 17 times, stole six bases and produced a .414 slugging mark to go along with a .388 on-base rate. She tied for fourth in the conference in runs scored last year.
Junior Kozy Toriano (Hilo, HI/Kamehameha Schools) earned a double placement on the preseason All-PacWest squad after making the All-Conference Team twice last year. She earned her spot this year as a catcher and a utility player after being named First Team Catcher and Second Team Utility Player in 2009.
Toriano hit .353 in 53 games and 52 starts last season. She was 48 for 136 with 26 runs scored, 14 doubles, a triple, a homer and 31 RBI. She has a .493 slugging rate, 19 walks, eight stolen bases and a .439 on-base mark.
Dixie State, meanwhile, claimed three PacWest preseason picks - two from the same high school in Utah. Sophomore hurler Lauren Folta (Erda, UT/Tooele) - an All-PacWest Second Team Pitcher and First Team Flex Player in 2009 - was named to the preseason team as a thrower.
Last year she posted a 15-6 record with a 1.91 earned run average. She completed 14 games in her 28 starts while throwing 161.1 innings of work. She struck out 101 batters and allowed just a .237 batting average.
Sophomore Kelsey Mendenhall (Tooele, UT/Tooele) - a 2009 All-PacWest Second Team selection at 1B - earned her preseason honor at third base. She batted .390 with 27 runs scored, 36 RBI, six home runs, four triples, seven doubles, 17 walks and a .632 slugging mark. She started 48 of the 53 games in which she played.
Dixie State junior SS Ashley McFarland (Layton, UT/Layton) rounds out the preseason selections thanks to a solid 2009 campaign that featured a .309 batting average in 54 starts, 43 runs scored, 14 doubles, 36 RBI, seven homers, 23 bases on balls and a .568 slugging rate.
Hawai‘i Hilo, Grand Canyon and newcomer Academy of Art each earned a pair of Preseason All-PacWest choices in 2010.
The Vulcans were led by senior OF Sierra Green (Longmont, CO/Longmont) - an All-PacWest Second Team pick in 2009 - who hit .366 in 44 games. She produced 28 runs, eight doubles, 11 RBI, a homer and a triple.
UHH sophomore hurler Amber Waracka (Kahuluu, HI/Kamehameha-Kapalama) concocted a 15-12 record with a 1.79 earned run average in 30 appearances. She struck out 144 batters in 160.2 innings, by far the most in the PacWest in 2009.
Grand Canyon senior 2B Kelli Bridges (Coeur d'Alene, ID/Lake City) and sophomore OF Kara Holtorf (Peoria, AZ/Sunrise Mountain) were both named to the Preseason All-PacWest squad.
Bridges started all 64 games last season for the Antelopes, hitting .361 with 42 runs scored, 31 RBI, 10 doubles, two triples and two home runs. She produced a .472 slugging rate, a .401 on-base mark, and 13 walks last year.
Holtorf batted .321 in 64 starts for the Antelopes, crossing the plate 52 times while driving in 31 runs. She ranked second in the league in runs scored and was fourth in the conference in stolen bases with 14.
Academy of Art earned its first preseason all-conference selections in school history thanks to junior 1B Alana Aweau (Fairfield, CA/Armijo) and sophomore pitcher Sierrah Garcia (Los Banos, CA/Los Banos).
Garcia produced a 2.88 earned run average despite a 7-14 record during the Urban Knights' inaugural season last year. She had five shutouts, tossed 162.2 innings, and recorded 111 strikeouts.
Aweau batted .308 in 43 games last year, going 37 for 120 with 15 runs scored, nine doubles, three homers, a triple, 22 RBI and a .475 slugging percentage. She also had 11 walks and seven stolen base.