BYU, LMU Rewarded In 2018 All-WCC Softball Awards
Lions, Cougars split the five major awards after a runner-up season
SAN BRUNO, Calif.- Loyola Marymount was rewarded with a successful runner-up season in the West Coast Conference by winning three of the five major awards while champion Brigham Young also claimed three top honors thanks to a Co-Pitcher of the Year in the 2018 All-WCC awards announced by the conference office Tuesday.
All five major awards - along with the All-West Coast Conference Teams - were voted on by the league's six head coaches. A total of 22 student-athletes make up the first and second teams, including eight outfielders by position, seven infielders, five pitchers and two catchers.
Loyola Marymount head coach Sami Strinz-Ward was named the WCC Coach of the Year after a spectacular campaign, and two of her student-athletes also picked up major honors in WCC Co-Pitcher of the Year Hannah Bandimere and WCC Defensive Player of the Year Maddison Flores. BYU’s Rylee Jensen was named the Player of the Year, fellow Cougar Bridget Fleener was named the Defensive Player of the Year and Kerisa Viramontes picked up Co-Pitcher of the Year honors.
Jensen is the fourth straight Cougar to earn the WCC’s top honor after teammate Caitlyn Larsen Alldredge was selected last year, Ashley Thompson in 2016 and Gordy Bravo in 2015. In league contests, Jensen led the conference in runs scored (18), walks (11) and on-base percentage (.608) en route to claiming the conference’s top honor. Additionally, the sophomore outfielder – who last season was named the Co-Freshman of the Year – finished second in the league in batting average at .474 with her 18 hits tops for the Cougars and good for third in the league for the championship team.
Bandimere and Viramontes are the first Co-Pitchers of the Year in conference history. Bandimere becomes the first Lion to take home Pitcher of the Year honors after finishing second in the WCC with a 1.36 ERA and did so with remarkable consistency as one of just two pitchers in the league to surpass 60 innings pitched in conference play. The junior righthander is the WCC co-leader in shutouts (2) and was second in the league in both wins (8) and saves (1). Her 72.7 percent win rate with eight wins in 11 appearances also ranked second in the league.
Viramontes makes it four consecutive seasons that a BYU Cougar has won the Pitcher of the Year honor after former teammate McKenna Bull took home the honors from 2015-17. The sophomore was the league-leader in conference games with nine wins and two shutouts and was the only pitcher to record the win of record in all of her appearances. Her nine strikeouts rank second in conference history for WCC games in a single season. She finished second in complete games (5) and strikeouts (43) while earning a 1.37 ERA, good for third in the league after pitching 46 innings.
Flores is the first Lion to be named the Defensive Player of the Year and is also the first freshman to win the award in conference history. The second baseman had a perfect 1.000 field percentage on the conference season with 23 putouts and 33 assists on zero errors. Additionally, Flores turned two double play balls for the Lions in WCC play. At the plate, she batted .333 with a league-best two triples.
Fleener is the second straight Cougar to be named the WCC Freshman of the Year after a season that saw her lead the league in batting average (.500) and slugging percentage (.765). The utility player becomes the third freshman to lead the West Coast Conference in batting average, following fellow Cougars Rylee Jensen (2017, .452) and Lauren Bell (2014, .395). Further, she is just the third overall student-athlete to finish a league season with a batting average at or above .500.
Strinz-Ward is named the WCC Coach of the Year for the second time in three years after leading the Lions to an 11-3 record and battling BYU for the WCC championship all the way into the final game of the season. Strinz-Ward, who previously was named Co-Coach of the Year in 2016, led Loyola Marymount to their most conference wins in WCC history with an 11-3 record and at one point in the season rattled off a conference-best 10-game winning streak
A complete list of All-WCC performers and major postseason award winners can be found below.
2018 West Coast Conference Softball Individual Honors
Player of the Year – Rylee Jensen, BYU
Co-Pitcher of the Year – Hannah Bandimere, Loyola Marymount & Kerisa Viramontes, BYU
Defensive Player of the Year – Maddison Flores, Loyola Marymount
Freshman of the Year – Bridget Fleener, BYU
Coach of the Year – Sami Strinz-Ward, Loyola Marymount
All-West Coast Conference Softball First Team
NAME YR POS SCHOOL
Hannah Bandimere Jr P Loyola Marymount
Alicia Brown Sr. OF Loyola Marymount
Bridget Fleener Fr. UTL BYU
Rylee Jensen Soph. OF BYU
Sydney Lahners Sr.. 1B Pacific
Samantha Owen Soph. OF Pacific
Hannah Russell Soph. C Santa Clara
Talli Shepherd Fr. 2B Pacific
Taylor Spence Jr. OF San Diego
Libby Sugg Sr. C BYU
Lexi Tarrow Jr. OF BYU
All-West Coast Conference Softball Second Team
NAME YR POS SCHOOL
Andrea Gonzalez Fr. 3B Loyola Marymount
Maddison Flores Fr. 2B Loyola Marymount
Aubree Kim Soph. P Santa Clara
Autumn Moffat Fr. P BYU
Hailey Reed Soph. OF Pacific
Hailey Sparacino Sr. SS Saint Mary’s
Alexa Strid Sr. SS BYU
Sabrina Tebou Sr. OF Loyola Marymount
Kerisa Viramontes Soph. P BYU
Marissa Young Sr. P Pacific
Kimiko Zapanta Fr. OF Saint Mary’s
All-West Coast Conference Honorable Mention
Briielle Breland, BYU; Madison Casiano, San Diego; Lindsay Clare, San Diego; Ellie Fisher, Santa Clara; Molly Grumbo, Loyola Marymount; Delaney Heller, San Diego; Kailey Hill, San Diego; Abbey Mariani, Saint Mary’s; Madison Merrell, BYU; Eleni Spirakis, Santa Clara; Linnay Wilson, Loyola Marymount; Delanie Wisz, Loyola Marymount