May 15, 2014
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The No. 13-ranked University of Michigan softball team put seven members on the All-Great Lakes Region teams as announced Thursday (May 15) by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association, including a quartet on the first team.
Seniors Taylor Hasselbach (Clarkston, Mich./Clarkston) and Nicole Sappingfield (Norco, Calif./Norco), junior Haylie Wagner (Orange, Calif./El Modena) and sophomore Sierra Romero (Murrieta, Calif./Vista Murrieta) all earned spots on the first team.
A pair of Michigan outfielders took spots on the second team: senior Lyndsay Doyle (Channahon, Ill./Minooka Community) and sophomore Sierra Lawrence (Snellville, Ga./Greater Atlanta Christian). Senior Caitlin Blanchard (Petersburg, Mich./Summerfield) was voted to the third team.
Romero is the reigning two-time Big Ten Player of the Year and is a top-10 finalist for USA Softball's Collegiate Player of the Year award. The sophomore is currently leading the nation in batting (.510), on-base percentage (.646), and walks per game (1.07). She is second in runs per game at 1.22, and is third in the nation in slugging at .930. She led the Big Ten in batting, slugging, on-base percentage, runs scored and walks on her way to an unanimous All-Big Ten first team selection. This is the second consecutive season she has earned a spot on the All-Great Lakes Region first team, as she eventually wound up on the All-America second team (at-large).
Hasselbach is enjoying a breakout season as a senior and wins her first spot on the All-Region team as a designated player/utility. The senior is batting .337 with nine doubles, eight home runs and 38 runs batted in. She played primarily as a reserve until nearly a month into the season, when she began hitting at a torrid pace. Since entering the lineup as a full-time starter on March 15, she hit all eight of her home runs and knocked in 35 runs. During Michigan's 20 game win streak (March 7-April 16), she knocked in 27 runs. Hasselbach earned a spot on the All-Big Ten second team.
Sappingfield makes her first All-Region team as one of three outfielders. The four-year starter is providing the best offensive season of her career. She is currently batting .402 with nine doubles and an on-base percentage of .433. The two-time co-captain has set career highs in hits (74), doubles (nine), and steals (nine). She has compiled a .973 fielding percentage, including a 1.000 mark during Big Ten play. She was voted to the All-Big Ten first team and the Big Ten All-Defensive Team.
Wagner put together a record of 21-3 with an earned run average of 1.55. The southpaw won her 19 decisions, including wins over No. 4 UCLA, No. 5 Kentucky and No. 7 Arizona. She was the first pitcher to beat the Bruins after UCLA opened the season 17-0. She also shut out Kentucky and Arizona. Wagner is 4-1 against ranked teams in 2014. She was voted to the All-Big Ten second team after posting a 7-2 record in conference play. Wagner was voted to the All-Great Lakes Region second team as a freshman in 2012.
With the inclusion of Doyle and Lawrence on the second team, Michigan's entire outfield received All-Region honors.
Doyle continues the theme of seniors putting together their finest offensive seasons in their final years. The senior is batting .374 from the leadoff spot with nine doubles and triples. She has an on-base percentage of .403, and has a career best 11 steals. Doyle has started all 54 of Michigan's games to this point and has career highs in hits (73), doubles (nine), triples (three), and total bases (91). She was a unanimous selection to the All-Big Ten first team. This is her first selection to the All-Region team.
Lawrence continued to excel in her sophomore season, batting .333 with a six homers and 50 RBI. She leads U-M in steals with 16 and has an on-base percentage of .462. Lawrence ranks second on Michigan with 16 multi-RBI games, and is currently batting .500 (6-for-12) with the bases loaded, including two grand slams. She has a fielding percentage of .977, starting 51 games in left field. This is her first time making the All-Region team.
Blanchard rounds out Michigan's contingent on the All-Region team with her spot on the third team. The senior continued to provide steady offense in the cleanup spot of the lineup, and started all 54 games for the Wolverines thus far. She is batting .325 with 11 doubles, three home runs and 39 RBI. She leads the team in sacrifice bunts (12), and has a .985 fielding percentage, with 41 of her 54 starts coming first base. Blanchard bats behind Romero in the lineup and has an astounding mark following a Romero intentional walk: she is batting 4-for-4 with one walk and 12 RBI. She was an All-Region first team selection in 2013.
The Maize and Blue opens up its 20th straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament on Friday (May 16) against San Diego State in Tempe, Ariz. First pitch is slated for 3:30 p.m. EDT and the game will be carried live on ESPNU.
The NFCA will announce the All-America teams on May 28.
NFCA All-Great Lakes Region First Team
Haylie Wagner, P, Michigan
Sara Moulton, P, Minnesota
Erin Burner, C, St. John's
Mary Connolly, 1B, DePaul
Brianna LeBeau, 2B, Northwestern
Katilyn Richardson, 3B, Minnesota
Sierra Romero, SS, Michigan
Jennifer Gilbert, OF, Ball State
Nicole Sappingfield, OF, Michigan
Mary Massei, OF, Wisconsin
Kirsten Verdun, UT/P, DePaul
Taylor Hasselbach, DP/UT-Non P, Michigan
Kristen Wood, P, Northwestern
Taylor-Paige Stewart, P, Wisconsin
Becca Changstrom, P, Creighton
Cassandra Darrah, P, Wisconsin
Emily Naegele, C, Northern Illinois
Taylor Rager, 1B, Ball State
Jacki Flecher, 2B, UIC
Michelle Mueller, 3B, Wisconsin
Tyler Walker, SS, Minnesota
Sierra Lawrence, OF, Michigan
Lyndsay Doyle, OF, Michigan
Eileen McCann, OF, Iona
Sara Groenewegen, UT/P, Minnesota
Andrea Filler, DP/UT-Non P, Northwestern
Nicole Sleith, P, Robert Morris
Megan Reiner, P, Farleigh Dickinson
Carly Argyle, P, Iona
Chloe Miller, C, Wisconsin
Caitlin Blanchard, 1B, Michigan
Erica Meyer, 2B, Minneosta
Audrey Bickel, 3B, Ball State
Natalie Hernandez, SS, UIC
Briana Evans, OF, Ball State
Andrea DiPrima, OF, Northwestern
Paige Peterson, OF, UIC
Alexis Bower, UT/P, St. Francis
Stephanie Peace, DP/UT-Non P, Wisconsin
Contact: Michael Kasiborski