AZUSA, Calif. -- Azusa Pacific placed six players on the 2012 All-Golden State Athletic Conference Softball team, the most representation the Cougars have had on the all-conference honors since the 1997 team, which also had six All-GSAC honorees. Four of the Cougars’ six representatives earned their first All-GSAC recognition, while junior rightfielder Brandi Andrews and senior first baseman Erika Marmolejo are repeat selections.
“We have had a great season so far, but I wasn’t sure how many of our players would get selected for the All-GSAC team,” Cougar head coach Carrie Webber said. “I was very pleased with the six players who received this honor, and I think their selection reflects what an amazing group of players we have.”
Andrews collected a league-leading 22 hits during GSAC play, hitting safely in 15 of 16 conference games with a .449 average against GSAC foes. She registered 14 doubles, 8 home runs and 51 RBIs, all team-highs, and she wrapped up the regular season with a .434 batting average. She led the team in multi-RBI games, driving in at least two runs in 15 games, and she also registered a team-high 16-game hitting streak.
Marmolejo, Azusa Pacific’s cleanup hitter in all 46 regular-season games, batted .326 in the regular season and tied Andrews for the team-high in doubles with 14. She registered eight game-winning RBIs, including a dramatic two-out walk-off home run in a conference win over Biola in late March.
Senior shortstop Natalie Barnaby leads the group of first-time All-GSAC selections, finishing the regular season with the GSAC’s second-highest overall batting average (.444). Barnaby was the Cougars’ team leader in triples (4), and she ranked second on the team in stolen bases (17) and third in runs (38).
Senior third baseman Olivia Wilcox led the league in scoring during GSAC play, scoring 17 runs while also posting one of the league’s third-highest batting average (.426) during conference play. She ranks second on the team in home runs (7) and RBIs (49), notching 14 multi-RBI games and a pair of multi-homer games during the 2012 campaign. Wilcox tied Azusa Pacific’s single-game RBI record when she drove in seven runs in a 15-6 win over British Columbia, and she led the Cougars in both game-winning RBIs (10) and game-winning runs scored (9).
Junior pitcher Rita Kim wrapped up her regular season as the NAIA’s National Pitcher of the Week, recording a complete-game four-hit shutout of the NAIA’s top-ranked Concordia that snapped the Eagles’ 44-game winning streak to start the week before finishing with seven strikeouts in five innings of one-hit shutout ball in a victory over Biola. Kim was the team’s regular-season leader in strikeouts with 88, and she ranked third in the GSAC in shutouts (5), wins (13), and K /7 IP (6.7). Two of her shutouts were no-hitters, including a six-inning conference win over Hope International.
Junior centerfielder Angie Sprague led the GSAC and ranked 10th nationally with 33 stolen bases, and she ranked second in the GSAC with 16 runs scored. Sprague scored a team-high 45 runs, and she scored the winning run in eight games, and she was in the top 10 in the GSAC in batting average during conference play with a .374 average in conference games.
Azusa Pacific posted a 38-8 regular-season record, and the Cougars will begin postseason play in a three-day unaffiliated conference tournament involving teams from the GSAC and the California Pacific Conference. The six-team, double-elimination tournament is hosted by Concordia from May 3-5, with the full tournament bracket to be announced on Monday, April 30.