Plourde, Diaz-Patterson & Sortino Headline UMass Sweep Of Atlantic 10 Softball Awards
May 9, 2012
ST LOUIS, Mo. - Sara Plourde was named the Atlantic 10 Player and Pitcher of the Year, with Quianna Diaz-Patterson and Elaine Sortino being selected Rookie and Coach of the Year respectively when the conference announced its regular-season awards on Tuesday.
Plourde becomes the first player in league history to win the top honor for players and pitchers, as this also marks just the third time in A-10 history that a single school won all of the top awards.
Joining Plourde on the first team is UMass junior leftfielder Cyndil Matthew, while second team honorees for the Minutewomen include Diaz-Patterson at shortstop, Kyllie Magill at second base, Katie Bettencourt in the outfield and Lindsey Webster at the designated player spot. Diaz-Patterson was also named to the All-Rookie team.
Plourde's third Pitcher of the Year honor marks the seventh-consecutive year a UMass pitcher has won the award and 18th overall. Brandice Balschmiter won four in a row from 2006 to 2009. Kelly Daut (1994-95), Danielle Henderson (1997-99), and Kaila Holtz (2002-03) are the other multiple winners of the award in program history.
Plourde leads the nation in strikeouts, victories, fewest hits allowed per seven innings and opponent batting average. The eight-time A-10 Pitcher of the Week enters the tournament leading the conference with 33 wins and 487 strikeouts. The senior from Bristol, Conn., has six no-hitters, three against conference opponents, and tossed a perfect game at St. Bonaventure this season. She has held opponents to a nation?s best .114 batting average. She also leads the league in shutouts (12) and complete games (39).
Offensively, she is one of the most dangerous batters in the league. She has 11 home runs, including a league-high 10 in A-10 games. Her 25 RBI in 19 league contests are also the benchmark this season. She has posted a .706 slugging pct. and a .308 on-base pct. Earlier this season she hit a home run in five-consecutive games, falling one shy of tying the NCAA Division I record.
Diaz-Patterson is second on the team in batting at .349 and leads the team with 40 RBI. The freshman from Amherst currently has reached base in 25-consecutive games and has 14 multi-hit games and nine multi-RBI contests. In league play she has a team-best .435 avg. and 24 RBI. She was also named to the second team at shortstop.
Matthew earns her second all-conference honor and her initial appearance on the first team. She has led the conference in batting all year and enters this week's tournament with a .408 avg., 49 runs, 31 stolen bases, five triples and 12 extra-base hits. The junior from Westfield, N.J. was a second-team honoree last season.
Bettencourt earned second-team plaudits and has started every game in right field after coming back from an early-season injury a year ago. The 2010 co-Player of the Year has 11 multi-hit and nine multi-RBI games. A junior from Salem, N.H., she has established career-highs in walks, time hit-by-pitch and on-base pct.
Magill has been a four-year starter at second for the Minutewomen and has 196 starts. She has set career-highs in doubles, triples, walks and sacrifice flies in 2012. The Pawtucket, R.I. native has been voted to the second-team three times in her career.
Webster is honored for the second time in her career, earning second-team honors at designated player this year after being placed on the all-rookie team a year ago. She is 11th in hitting and 12th in RBI in the A-10 with a .318 avg and 28 RBI, respectively. A sophomore from Northridge, Calif., she has nine multi-RBI games with six coming in A-10 play and has a team-high four hits with the bases loaded.
Now in her 33rd year at UMass, Sortino has earned the A-10 Coach of the Year award an unprecedented 11 times, this time for leading the Minutewomen to their 23rd A-10 regular season title and the top seed in the A-10 Championship. She boasts a career record of 1,154-481-6 (.705) and ranks fourth in victories among active NCAA Division I coaches.
UMass (35-11), which received a first-round bye following its 19-0 regular-season, will open play in the 2012 Atlantic 10 Softball Championship on Thursday against the winner of the George Washington-Charlotte game. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. at the Billiken Sports Center and the game will be carried online at UMassAthletics.com.