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The Best of the Best

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April 30, 2003
Gary Pine
AZUSA, Calif. -- Sophomore Rachel Alkire, who has done a little bit of everything and oftentimes in rather impressive fashion, has been rewarded for her excellent season by being named the 2003 GSAC Co-Player of the Year. With her honor she leads a parade of 4 Cougars who were named to the All-GSAC softball team as selected by the conference coaches.

Joining Alkire on the 2003 All-GSAC team are her twin sister, Megan Alkire, senior infielder Jennie Waleszonia and senior outfielder Cassie Lakey. For Waleszonia she becomes only the second Cougar ever to be a 4-time All-GSAC honoree (Liz Campbell was named to the 1992-93-94-95 teams). Lakey is a repeat selection from last year while both Alkires are making their first-ever appearances on the All-GSAC team.

Rachel Alkire, who as a collegiate rookie last year batted .245 with no home runs and 11 RBIs, made remarkable strides in her play this year and put together one of the finest individual seasons ever in Azusa Pacific history. Through 58 games this year, Alkire is batting a team-high .397 and leads the GSAC in home runs (10), RBIs (53) and hits (73). She also has 18 doubles, fourth in the GSAC, and 5 triples. As a result, her .712 slugging percentage far and away tops the GSAC (teammate Waleszonia is the only other GSAC player to eclipse .600). Alkire came on strong over the final 26 games, batting a hefty .429 with 7 home runs and 31 RBIs. In the GSAC, which includes 5 teams that are or have been ranked this season, Alkire batted .409 in 28 games.

While she predominately played shortstop in the field, Alkire has made 11 appearances as a pitcher and is 6-5 on the season with 1.37 ERA, second best on the team. She shares the conference player of the year honor with Point Loma’s Cheryl Bolding, who was the 2002 NAIA National Player of the Year. With this honor, Alkire becomes the fifth Cougar to earn player/pitcher of the year recognition from the GSAC. Former Cougars Lynsee Bock (1996), Natalie Kirkbride (1997), Kely Hibma (1998), Lorna Lyttle (2001) all received past GSAC Player of the Year honors while Robyn Cano (1996) and Mandy Dorow (2000) were past conference pitchers of the year.

Waleszonia, who has started all 58 games at either second base or shortstop, is currently batting .360 on the season with 4 home runs, 31 RBIs and a school-record 23 doubles. She leads the team with 15 stolen bases.

Lakey is batting .324 with 5 doubles and 11 stolen bases.

Megan Alkire, who has played second base, first based and pitch, is batting .309 on the season with 4 home runs and 19 doubles (third in the GSAC). As a pitcher she is 8-4 and with a team-leading 1.33 ERA.

With these 4 additional honors, Azusa Pacific has now had 56 All-GSAC picks in softball, the most by any conference school.