DAY 18 (Aug. 18): Seniors In The Circle
Earlier this month, Azusa Pacific softball head coach Carrie Webber announced a four-player recruiting class that replaces four outgoing seniors who brought the Cougar program back to consecutive national tournaments, but the 2013 squad features an even greater veteran presence with 10 seniors on the roster.
Leading the way is a trio of top-notch pitchers in Taryn Devich, Rita Kim, and Mariah Worley, who have combined to throw all but 35 innings over the past three years while racking up combined three-year totals of 36 shutouts and 811 strikeouts with a 1.91 ERA. Kim (2012) and Devich (2011) have each earned all-conference recognition, and Worley earned CoSIDA Academic All-American first team honors after posting a team-best 1.27 ERA to go with a 14-1 record in 2012.
The offense loses three all-conference performers to graduation, but returning seniors Angie Sprague and Brandi Andrews represent Azusa Pacific’s 2012 team leaders in virtually every major offensive category except batting average. Andrews earned repeat All-GSAC recognition after she led the team in doubles (18), home runs (11), RBIs (64), slugging percentage (.756), and Sprague was also an All-GSAC honoree while posting team-highs in runs (50), hits (70), triples (4), and stolen bases (36).
The Cougar outfield is loaded with experience, counting both Sprague in center and Andrews in right field along with another returning starter in left field in senior Rachel Miller, who batted .311 with eight home runs during her 2012 junior campaign. Behind the plate, Jac Harkey and Adrianna Martinez shared all of the catching duties in 2012, combining to throw out 10 baserunners on stolen base attempts last year.
The senior class is completed with Heather Koch, a CoSIDA Academic All-America first team recipient who batted .313 as she started most of the year as the Cougars’ designated player, along with outfielder Brittni Moreno, who started 11 games and appeared in another 12 as a reserve.
Azusa Pacific joins the Pacific West Conference next season, and the Cougars’ 32-game PacWest schedule includes a late-March road trip to take on all four of the conference’s institutions located in the state of Hawai‘i. The full spring schedule will be finalized and announced later this fall.