May 8, 2013
PARK RIDGE, Ill. -- Big Ten coaches voted a half dozen players from the conference champion University of Michigan softball team onto the All-Big Ten first team as announced today (May 8). Freshman Sierra Romero (Murrieta, Calif./Vista Murrieta) was named the conference's Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year, while head coach Carol Hutchins was voted by her colleagues as the Coach of the Year.
The Michigan contingent on the first team consists of Romero, junior first baseman Caitlin Blanchard (Petersburg, Mich./Summerfield), sophomore RHP Sara Driesenga (Hudsonville, Mich./Hudsonville), senior infielder Ashley Lane (Escondido, Calif./Escondido), freshman outfielder Sierra Lawrence (Norcross, Ga./Greater Atlanta Christian) and sophomore catcher Lauren Sweet (Corona, Calif./Santiago). Sophomore LHP Haylie Wagner (Orange, Calif./El Modeno) earned All-Big Ten second team honors.
Romero becomes just the second Big Ten player to win Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year in the same season (former Wolverine Sara Griffin in 1995). She also makes it four years in a row that a U-M player has taken home the conference honor (Nikki Nemitz and Maggie Viefhaus in 2010, Amanda Chidester in both 2011 and 2012). The rookie award gives U-M back-to-back winners, following Wagner's citation in 2012.
The shortstop was a unanimous choice to the first team. During Big Ten play, Romero led the league in seven offensive categories including home runs (12), runs batted in (35), runs (34), slugging percentage (1.125), on-base percentage (.659), walks (28) and total bases (63). Her home runs and runs marks established new all-time seasons bests for the Big Ten and she tied the mark for RBI. The freshman reached base in each of U-M's 22 conference games and had a 14-game hit streak in the midst of the season.
Blanchard led all Big Ten players with 33 hits during conference play and was fourth with 26 RBI. She started 21 games at first base and one at catcher, compiling a .981 fielding percentage. She batted .452 with six doubles and three home runs, including a grand slam, and 26 runs butted in. This is the second All-Big Ten citation for Blanchard following a third-team designation as catcher in 2011.
Driesenga earned first team honors with a 9-1 record and a 2.65 earned run average. She tossed three shutouts and six complete games during conference play and also saved one game. The sophomore struck out better than a batter an inning (68 K's in 63.1 innings). She held batters to a .244 batting average in her 16 appearances. She also batted .275 with two doubles, a home run and nine RBI. This is the second consecutive year she has earned All-Big Ten first team honors.
The whole right side of the Michigan infield earned All-Big Ten first team recognition with Lane's selection. The senior batted .411 in conference play with seven home runs and 28 RBI. She slugged .740 and also stole three bases. She finished tied for second in the league with her seven roundtrippers, third in RBI and third with 30 hits. This marks her second All-Big ten selection, with a third team designation in 2012.
Lawrence joins Romero as the only two freshmen to make the first team. She started all 22 Big Ten games in leftfield and batted .429 with seven doubles and four home runs to compile a .730 slugging percentage. She knocked in 22 runs and stole three bases. Lawrence was perfect in the field with a 1.000 fielding percentage. The freshman scored the second-most runs in league play (25).
Sweet also earned All-Big Ten first team honors after batting .434 with seven home runs and 29 RBI. She had the league's second-best slugging percentage at .906, and second most RBI. Her RBI mark ranks fourth all-time in Big Ten play. She also tied with Lane for second-most home runs. The catcher was also superb behind the plate with a fielding percentage of .992 on just one error.
Wagner rounds out Michigan's honorees with a second-team selection. She went 11-1 and posted an ERA of 2.99. The southpaw pitched four complete games and struck out 59 batters in 72.2 innings. This is her second consecutive All-Big Ten honor following a first-team designation in 2012.
Michigan head coach Carol Hutchins won her third consecutive Coach of the Year award and 14th overall. She led the Wolverines to a 20-2 mark in conference play and the Big Ten title, the sixth consecutive and 16th overall.
Senior tri-captain Jaclyn Crummey (Macomb, Mich./Dakota) was selected as Michigan's Sportsmanship honoree.
The Wolverines will play in the Big Tournament as the No. 1 seed beginning on Friday (May 10) against either Ohio State or Iowa in Lincoln, Neb. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m. CDT.
2013 ALL-BIG TEN AWARD
Megan Blank, So., SS, Iowa
Caitlin Blanchard, Jr., 1B, Michigan
Sara Driesenga, So., P, Michigan
Ashley Lane, Sr., 2B, Michigan
Sierra Lawrence, Fr., OF, Michigan
Sierra Romero, Fr., SS, Michigan
Lauren Sweet, So., C, Michigan
Kylene Hopkins, Sr., OF, Michigan State
SARA MOULTON, Jr., P, Minnesota
KAITLYN RICHARDSON, So., 3B, Minnesota
Tyler Walker, So., SS, Minnesota
TATUM EDWARDS, Jr., P, Nebraska
TAYLOR EDWARDS, Jr., C, Nebraska
Amy Letourneau, So., UTIL, Northwestern
Mari Majam, Jr., OF, Northwestern
Cassidy Bell, Sr., OF, Penn State
Andie Varsho, Jr., OF, Purdue
Cassandra Darrah, Sr., P, Wisconsin
MARY MASSEI, Jr., OF, Wisconsin
Whitney Massey, Sr., C, Wisconsin
Second Team All-Big Ten
Alex Booker, Jr., OF, Illinois
Amanda Wagner, Sr., 3B, Indiana
Johnnie Dowling, Sr., OF, Iowa
Haylie Wagner, So., P, Michigan
Jayme O'Bryant, Sr., 3B, Michigan State
Alicia Armstrong, Fr., SS, Nebraska
Jordan Bettiol, So., OF, Nebraska
Courtney Breault, Sr., DP, Nebraska
Emily Lockman, Fr., P, Nebraska
Brooke Thomason, Sr., OF, Nebraska
Marisa Bast, Jr., 3B, Northwestern
Anna Edwards, So., SS, Northwestern
Cammi Prantl, Fr., OF, Ohio State
Maia Monchek, Sr., OF, Purdue
Kendall Grimm, Sr., OF, Wisconsin
Meghan McIntosh, Sr., P, Wisconsin
P - Kayla Massey, Jr., Iowa
C - Taylor Edwards, Jr., Nebraska
1B - Evelyn Carrillo, Jr., Ohio State
2B - Jami Schkade, So., Illinois and Brianna LeBeau, Fr., Northwestern
3B - Gabby Banda, Sr., Nebraska
SS - Alicia Armstrong, Fr., Nebraska
OF - Alex Booker, Jr., Illinois
OF - Kylene Hopkins, Sr., Michigan State
OF - Cassidy Bell, Sr., Penn State
Sportsmanship Award Honorees: Jenny Mychko, Illinois; Meaghan Murphy, Indiana; Sam Valentine, Iowa; Jaclyn Crummey, Michigan; Ellie Stoffer, Michigan State; Kelsey Klucas, Minnesota; Mattie Fowler, Nebraska; Sammy Albanese, Northwestern; Melissa Rennie, Ohio State; Cassidy Bell, Penn State; Ashley Courtney, Purdue; Maria Van Abel, Wisconsin
All CAPS denotes unanimous selection
Contact: Michael Kasiborski (734) 763-4423