Six Major Softball Awards Split Among Five Clubs
2017 Big West Softball Awards Release
A year of parity included the end of year honors as the six major softball awards were handed out among five clubs.
CSUN claimed two of the honors as Taylor Glover was named Player of the Year and Katie Hooper earned the Defensive Player of the Year award. Cal Poly brought home an award as Sierra Hyland was named Pitcher of the Year, while the Freshman Pitcher of the Year was bestowed on Cielo Meza of Long Beach State. The Freshman Field Player of the Year accolades went to Hawai’i’s Angelique Ramos and the Coach of the Year honors went to Cal State Fullerton’s Kelly Ford, the second consecutive season Ford has taken home the award.
Glover, a senior from Los Angeles, wrapped up one of the most distinguished careers in league history with her first Player of the Year honor. She is also the second Player of the Year from CSUN in the last three years, following Hooper who won the award in 2015. This season the outfielder leads the league in batting (.412) while ranking third in runs (37), first in hits (73), third in doubles (13), 7th in RBI (35), second in steals (24) and first in total bases (106). During league play Glover was a terror in the box and basepaths as she batted .357 with 25 hits, 10 steals, 12 runs scored, six doubles and just three strikeouts in 70 at-bats. The senior is also all over the Big West career leaderboard as she ranks third in batting average (.397), third in hits (292), second in runs scored (164), ninth in RBI (143), second in steals (93) and tied for ninth in triples (15).
Hooper, a senior from Sun Valley, returned to the form that earned her Player of the Year and first team all-conference honors back in 2015. The first baseman was a rock at a key position as she committed only four errors in 388 chances, good for a .990 fielding percentage. Hooper was so sure handed at first that she went from February 12 to April 26 without committing an error, a 36-game errorless string. She also recorded 15 assists and spearheaded a solid defensive unit that ranked second in the league in double plays and assists.
Hyland, a senior from Visalia, cemented her place as one of the best pitchers in the storied history of the Big West. This season Hyland is 22-12 with a 1.00 ERA in 237.1 innings over 40 appearances. She leads the league in wins, complete games (27), shutouts (10), innings pitched, strikeouts (249), ERA and is second in batting average against (174). Heading into the postseason, Hyland ranks 16th in the NCAA in strikeouts, 34th in victories, sixth in ERA and 13th in shutouts. She also recorded several personal milestones during the 2017 campaign. Hyland became the league’s all-time strikeout leader and is the only player in league history to record 900 career punchouts (939). She has also earned 16 career Big West Big West Pitcher of the Week honors and 18 total weekly honors. The 16 weekly pitcher mentions is the most all-time and the 18 weekly honors is the most in Big West history in any sport. Hyland earned National Pitcher of the Week honors twice this season, was named a top 25 finalist for National Player of the Year honors and was selected fourth overall in the National Pro Fastpitch draft.
Meza, who hails from Fillmore, had a delayed debut to her rookie season but was well worth the wait. Meza was 6-4 with a 1.26 ERA in 66.2 innings over 13 appearances, 12 of which were in a starting role. After missing the first 31 games of the season, Meza made her first start against CSUN on April 1, pitching four innings and allowing just two hits, no runs and striking out four in the victory. She then recorded her first complete game in her next start against UC Davis, allowing just three hits and no runs to go along with eight strikeouts. Meza didn’t allow any runs over her first give appearances, compiling a 23-inning scoreless string. She gave up one run or less in eight of her 13 appearances, recorded at least four strikeouts seven times and put up her first career no-hitter on May 7 on the road against Hawai’i.
Ramos, a native of Long Beach, is the second straight Rainbow Wahine rookie to earn Freshman Field Player of the Year honors. Ramos batted .310 with six home runs, 17 RBI, 40 hits and a .473 slugging percentage in 49 games. During league play Ramos was an even more consistent threat as she batted .353 with three home runs, 18 hits, four RBI and a .569 slugging percentage. Over the course of the season Ramos recorded 11 multi-hit games and hit her first career grand slam as part of a five RBI day against Montana on February 26.
Ford is the first coach to win back-to-back Coach of the Year honors since former Long Beach State coach Pete Manarino took home the award in 2003 and ‘04. Ford led the Titans to their second straight Big West title, something the program has not accomplished since a four-year run of crowns from 2000-03. Cal State Fullerton started the conference season at 3-3, then proceeded to win 13 of 15, including 12 straight, against league foes to claim the championship. Ford has also led the Titans to 16 or more conference wins in back-to-back campaigns, the first time the program has done that since 2000-03.
The league’s first team features Glover and Hyland, who are making their fourth and third appearances on the league’s top list, respectively. Glover becomes just the eighth player to earn four-time first team honors, while Hyland and CSUN’s Savannah Horvath are the 34th and 35th players all-time to earn three first team accolades.
The full All-Conference teams are available in the link above.
2017 PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Taylor Glover, CSUN
2017 PITCHER OF THE YEAR
Sierra Hyland, Cal Poly
2017 COACH OF THE YEAR
Kelly Ford, Cal State Fullerton
2017 DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Katie Hooper, CSUN
2017 FRESHMAN PITCHER OF THE YEAR
Cielo Meza, Long Beach State
2017 FRESHMAN FIELD PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Angelique Ramos, Hawai’i