May 16, 2013
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Four members of the No. 7-ranked University of Michigan softball team were voted onto Great Lakes All-Region teams as announced today (Thursday, May 16) by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association, including a first-team citation for freshman shortstop Sierra Romero (Murrieta, Calif./Vista Murrieta).
Three other Wolverines standouts, junior first baseman Caitlin Blanchard (Petersburg, Mich./Summerfield), sophomore pitcher Sara Driesenga (Hudsonville, Mich./Hudsonville) and senior second baseman Ashley Lane (Escondido, Calif./Escondido), took spots on the second team. This quartet of U-M student-athletes is now eligible to earn inclusion on NFCA All-America teams.
The 12-member all-region teams were chosen by NFCA member coaches in their respective regions.
The postseason accolades continue to accumulate for Romero who was recently named a top 10 finalist for collegiate softball player of the year (May 9). Big Ten coaches voted Romero the conference Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year earlier this month (May 8). She also earned first team All-Big Ten honors.
Romero set a new single-season home run record at Michigan with 22, and she led the team in numerous other offensive categories including runs batted in (66), slugging (.897), runs (62) and tied for the team lead in hits (62). She batted .397 with eight doubles and two triples. The freshman started all of Michigan's 53 regular season games.
Blanchard was also a first team All-Big Ten selection and had a breakout season offensively following an injury in 2012. She led the Wolverines with a .400 batting average and 11 doubles while knocking in 43 runs. She also tallied 33 hits during Big Ten play, best in the conference. The junior transitioned to first base from catcher this season and posted a .981 fielding percentage.
Driesenga carried the pitching load for the Wolverines during the first month of the season, pitching in 21 of U-M's first 23 games. She won 25 games in all during the regular season with a 1.88 earned run average, and she struck out 195 batters in 193.1 innings pitched. The righty tossed 20 complete games and five shutouts. She also threw her first career no-hitter against Hofstra (Feb. 23). Driesenga was named the National Player of the Week (March 19) after she defeated three ranked teams at the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, Calif. She also earned All-Big Ten first team honors.
Lane earned All-Region distinction for the second time in her career. As a sophomore she was voted onto the first team. Lane batted behind Romero and Blanchard, providing thump with 15 regular season home runs and a boatload of RBI (50). The senior slugged .681 and tied for the team lead in hits with 62. She swiped a career-high seven bases and provided steady leadership at second base. Lane was also named All-Big Ten first team.
The 2013 NFCA Division I All-America teams will be announced on Wed., May 29.
Michigan plays in the NCAA tournament for the 19th consecutive season and will host a regional round. The Wolverines open as the No. 8 seed nationally on Friday (May 17) against Valparaiso. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Wilpon Complex.
Contact: Michael Kasiborski (734) 763-4423