GCU’s Barak earns Preseason Player of Year; Dixie State’s Snow claims top pitching honor

Mattie Snow PHOENIX, AZGrand Canyon sophomore SS Kelsey Barak (Fontana, CA/Etiwanda) has been named the 2013 Pacific West Conference Preseason Player of the Year, while Dixie State junior hurler Mattie Snow (Tooele, UT/Tooele - right photo) claimed the Preseason Pitcher of the Year honor.

California Baptist, meanwhile, has been selected to repeat as the conference champion. The Lancers, who were 49-6 overall last year and 26-4 in the PacWest, received 133 total points and six of a possible 12 first-place votes.

Dixie State claimed four first-place votes, while Grand Canyon collected two; however the two schools tied for second in the preseason prediction with 127 points. Hawai'i Pacific (107) is picked to take fourth place, while newcomer Azusa Pacific (92) is slated to finish fifth.

The conference unveiled the league's Preseason All-PacWest Softball Team live on Thursday, Jan., 31, during its weekly Internet radio show on KQCK. The head coaches of the Pacific West Conference nominated and voted on the awards.

Fans can watch the show here.

The preseason squad consists of 11 players, including one at each of the five infield positions, three outfielders, two pitchers and a designated player.

Barak had a superb rookie season in earning both the 2012 PacWest Player and Freshman of the Year awards and making the All-PacWest First Team as a shortstop.

Barak ended the 2012 campaign hitting .408 in 57 starts for the Antelopes. She amassed 73 base hits, 43 runs scored, 11 doubles, six triples, eight home runs and 54 runs batted in. She also boasted a .670 slugging percentage and a .474 on-base rate. In addition to her two major awards, Barak earned All-PacWest First Team honors.

GCU sophomore DP Nicole Upshaw (Chandler, AZ/Hamilton), an All-PacWest Second Team member in 2012, was named to the preseason squad after batting .336 in 49 games and 31 starts last season. She scored 21 runs, drove in 26 others, belted four homers, banged out seven doubles, and posted a .514 slugging rate.

Kelsey Barak Snow, the PacWest Preseason Pitcher of the Year, received the most votes among hurlers to warrant being named to the All-PacWest Preseason Team. Last season she missed out on All-Conference accolades because the candidate pool for pitchers was extremely deep.

Despite missing out on the end-of-the-year awards, Snow produced a terrific 2012 campaign that saw her post a 17-5 overall record with a 2.00 earned run average and a .218 batting average allowed. She started 25 games and appeared in 27 contests, tossing 143.2 innings while striking out 133 hitters. She tossed 14 complete games and four shutouts during her stellar 2012 campaign.

With a trio of players on the preseason squad, Dixie State toped all conference teams in terms of representation. In addition to Snow, sophomore OF Courtney Sherwin (Mesa, AZ/Red Mountain) and sophomore catcher Marla Reiter (Fresno, CA/Central) were named to the Preseason All-PacWest Team.

Reiter batted .351 in 44 games and 41 starts, going 40 for 114 with 21 runs, 10 doubles, three homers and 20 RBI. She recorded a .518 slugging rate.

Sherwin, meanwhile, hit .363 in 50 games and 49 starts for the Red Storm. She was 49 for 135 with 36 runs, 52 RBI, 12 homers, 12 doubles and two triples. She boasted a .748 slugging rate and a .456 on-base mark.

California Baptist landed a pair of preseason players in the infield. Senior 2B Mara Rodriguez (Moreno Valley, CA/Canyon Springs) – who earned All-PacWest First Team accolades at third base last year – moves to second base this season.

Rodriguez finished the 2012 campaign batting .406 in 51 starts, going 69 for 170 with 46 runs scored, 12 doubles, five triples and 14 homers. She wielded a .782 slugging rate and a .461 on-base mark.

California Baptist senior 1B Sloan McHann (Modesto, CA/Modesto) – who earned Second Team honors for the Lancers last season – landed a slot on the preseason squad at first base.

McHann hit .339 in 55 starts during 2012, ripping 62 base hits that featured 12 doubles, a triple and eight home runs. She drove in 36 runs and posted a .546 slugging mark.

Academy of Art junior OF Elyse Cordova (Tulare, CA/Tulare Union), a Second Team outfielder in 2011 and an All-PacWest First Team choice last season, earned a place on this year's preseason squad.

Cordova batted .441 in 47 starts, going 63 for 143 with four doubles, two triples, 13 RBI, a .497 slugging rate, a .463 on-base average, and 20 stolen bases.

Hawai'i Hilo sophomore 3B Emily Greene (Woodland Hills, CA/Louisville) put together a solid 2012 campaign that led to her preseason selection. She hit .320 in 44 games with 43 starts, produced 41 base hits in 128 at-bats, scored 15 runs, drove in 30 runs and walked 14 times. She produced a .492 slugging rate and a .386 on-base mark.

Azusa Pacific, entering its inaugural softball campaign in the PacWest, claimed two slots on the preseason team. Senior pitcher Rita Kim (Irvine, CA/Northwood) was simply outstanding last year in compiling a 16-4 overall record with a 1.89 ERA. She appeared in 28 games with 17 starts, producing five shutouts and six complete games. She struck out 101 over 107.2 innings of work, allowing a paltry .186 batting average.

Senior OF Brandi Andrews (Glendora, CA/Glendora) started 53 games for the Cougars in 2012, unleashing a .421 batting average featuring 69 base hits in 164 at-bats, 42 runs scored, and 64 runs batted in. She totaled 124 bases, smacked 11 home runs, reeled off 18 doubles a pair of triples, and stole seven bases. She had a .756 slugging rate and a .462 on-base mark.