May 16, 2012
PARK RIDGE, Ill. -- Coming off its fifth consecutive Big Ten championship, the University of Michigan softball team put six on All-Big Ten teams and swept the specialty awards, as announced by the Big Ten Conference on Wednesday afternoon (May 16).
Senior first baseman Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Michigan./Cabrini) was named the Player of the Year, freshman LHP Haylie Wagner (Orange, Calif./El Modena) earned Pitcher of the Year and Freshman of the Year honors and head coach Carol Hutchins garnered Coach of the Year accolades. Chidester and Wagner were joined on the All-Big Ten first team by freshman RHP Sara Driesenga (Hudsonville, Michigan./Hudsonville). Senior centerfielder Bree Evans (Bloomington, Calif./Rialto) and sophomore outfielder Nicole Sappingfield (Norco, Calif./Norco) were named to the second team, with junior second baseman Ashley Lane (Escondido, Calif./Escondido) grabbing a spot on the third team.
Chidester is the fourth Wolverine to repeat as Big Ten Player of the Year after earning the distinction in 2011. She batted .433 during conference action, recording 17 runs batted in with a slugging percentage of .657 and an on-base percentage of .562. Chidester had eight multi-hit games and five games with at least two RBI. She also set a new career best with four hits at Wisconsin on May 5. It marks the third first-team selection for Chidester, who earned All-Big Ten honors in each of her four seasons.
Wagner, who was a unanimous selection for Pitcher of the Year and All-Big Ten, led the conference with a 15-1 record and 1.77 earned-run average during conference play. She threw three complete-game shutouts and combined for two more, allowing just 31 runs in 22 appearances. Wagner also batted .185 with three home runs and 11 RBI during the conference season. On the year, Wagner is 29-5 with a 1.55 ERA. Her total of 29 wins is the eighth-highest single-season total at Michigan and the second most by a Wolverine freshman. She is only the second Michigan freshman to earn Pitcher of the Year honors, joining Kelly Kovach (1992-95).
Driesenga earned first-team honors at the utility position, appearing in all 23 games at either designated player or pitcher. At the plate, Driesenga reached base in every Big Ten contest and boasted a batting average of .387 and an on-base percentage of .506. She hit four home runs and had 10 RBI, including a pair of solo home runs at Ohio State on April 6. In the circle, she accumulated a 3-4 record with a 3.05 ERA while picking up two saves.
Evans started all 23 games as centerfielder, leading off in all but one contest with a .378 batting average. She led the Wolverines with 31 hits during conference play, racking up 10 games with at least two hits. Evans tied for the team lead with five doubles and stole a team-leading four bases. The second-team nod marks the fourth consecutive season that she has garnered all-conference honors.
Sappingfield earned a spot on the second team, the second consecutive year she has earned conference recognition. She started all 23 games in left field, batting .392 with 29 hits and 10 runs. She was second on the team with eight multi-hit games, including a four-hit performance at Ohio State on April 7.
Lane rounded out Michigan's honorees with a spot on the third team after batting .307 with four doubles, four home runs and 20 RBI during the Big Ten season. She boasted three games with four RBI and held a 12-game hitting streak in Big Ten contests. The selection marks her first career all-conference honor.
Hutchins picked up her 13th overall and second consecutive Coach of the Year award. She led Michigan to the 15th conference title in program history and has a 1,248-422-4 overall record in Ann Arbor.
Sophomore catcher Caitlin Blanchard (Petersburg, Mich./Summerfield) was picked as U-M's Sportsmanship honoree.
Michigan, which is making its 18th consecutive and 20th overall NCAA appearance, will take on Kentucky in the first game of the Louisville Regional on Friday (May 18) at 4:30 p.m. The game will be shown live on ESPN2.
2012 ALL-BIG TEN AWARD
C - Liz Watkins, Sr., Iowa
1B - Amanda Chidester, Sr. Michigan
2B - Whitney Massey, Jr., Wisconsin
SS - Megan Blank, Fr., Iowa
3B - Marisa Bast, So., Northwestern
OF - CASSIDY BELL, Jr., Penn State
OF - Kylene Hopkins, Jr., Michigan State
OF - Kendall Grimm, Jr., Wisconsin
UT - Sara Driesenga, Fr., Michigan
DP - Shannon Cawley, Fr., Indiana
P - HAYLIE WAGNER, Fr., Michigan
P - Kayla Massey, So., Iowa
Second Team*(Additional Honorees Due to Tie)
C - Kasie Hatfield, So., Penn State
1B - Adrienne Monka, Jr., Northwestern
2B - Courtney Breault, Jr., Nebraska
SS - Emily Allard, Jr., Northwestern
3B - Amanda Wagner, Jr., Indiana
OF - Brooke Thomason, Jr., Nebraska
OF - Bree Evans, Sr., Michigan
OF - Nicole Sappingfield, So., Michigan
UT - Amy Letourneau, Fr., Northwester
DP - Michelle Zoeller, So. Iowa
P - Pepper Gay, Jr., Illinois
P - Ashley Hagemann, Sr., Nebraska
P - Cassandra Darrah, So., Wisconsin
C - Cassie Gogreve, Sr., Indiana
OF - Johnnie Dowling, Jr., Iowa
2B - Ashley Lane, Jr., Michigan
P - Sara Moulton, So., Minnesota
SS - Tyler Walker, Fr., Minnesota
3B - Gabby Banda, Jr., Nebraska
UT - Tatum Edwards, So., Nebraska
SS - Alicia Herron, Sr., Ohio State
C - Shelby Pickett, Fr., Ohio State
1B - Ashley Courtney, Jr., Purdue
DP - Karla Powell, Sr., Wisconsin
Kelley Wedel, Illinois; Amanda Wagner, Indiana; Katie Keim, Iowa; Caitlin Blanchard, Michigan; Lori Padilla, Michigan State; Dannie Skrove; Minnesota; Ashley Guile, Nebraska; Mari Majam, Northwestern; Megan Coletta, Ohio State; Danee Collett, Penn State; Ashley Courtney, Purdue; Stephanie Peace, Wisconsin
Contact: Sarah VanMetre (734) 763-4423