Yuma, Arizona – May 1, 2013 — Arizona Western College is proud to announce that two members of the AWC Softball team have been named to the All-ACCAC & All-Region I postseason teams. Freshman catcher/3rd baseman April Marquez was named to the 1st Team on both the All-Region I and All-ACCAC postseason squads; while sophomore outfielder Courtnie Ploesch earned 2nd Team All-ACCAC honors for the second straight year. The announcements come at the conclusion of the postseason coaches’ meetings in Coolidge.
AWC Head Softball Coach Nikki Bethurum set the tone for the season immediately when the freshmen and sophomores that made up the 2013 roster showed up on campus last August: all starting spots would be up for grabs. No one took that to heart on the team more than April Marquez, who saw that as a challenge to secure starting spots at both of her natural positions: third base and catcher. Indeed, when the Lady Mats took the field for their first two games of the season at the CSN Kickoff Classic in Las Vegas, Marquez started at 3rd base for their first game of the day, then put on the catcher’s gear for Game 2, and maintained that schedule throughout the rest of the season. Her work at the ‘hot corner’ truly shored up the infield defense, while her play behind the plate at catcher kept opposing hitters off-balance and opposing base stealers at bay (throwing out 29% of baserunners who tried to steal against her). It was her work at the plate, though, that struck fear in opposing pitchers and defenders. Marquez was at or near the top of every Matador offensive statistical category all season long, and didn’t finish any worse than 2nd in any of them. She wound up as the only Lady Matador to hit over .400 (finishing with a .417 batting average), and was one of only two Matadors to finish in double figures in home runs (finishing with 10, which was tied for 10th-best in the ACCAC). She was also 2nd on the team in hits (75), runs scored (56, 8th ACCAC), runs batted in (55, 7th ACCAC), and stolen bases (20).
Meanwhile, Ploesch’s consistently stellar work in center field over the past two years hasn’t always garnered headlines, but has remained the source of respect from opposing coaches. Even though Ploesch was the team’s best player a year ago, she was unfazed by Bethurum’s preseason edict, and used it to make herself even more entrenched in center field, where she started all 62 games this season. She also was the leadoff hitter in the batting order all year, and continued to set the table for the Matadors’ barrage of power hitters to help the team score more runs. Ploesch nearly doubled her stolen base total from a year ago, and her team-leading 26 stolen bases were tied for 8th-best in the conference. However, the native of Palo Verde, California, also increased plenty of other elements to her game as a sophomore, including showing more power (8 homers, 3rd-best on the team), mixing power with speed (5 triples, tied for the most of the ACCAC); and generating more hits (80, 9th ACCAC) and scoring more runs (61, T-4th ACCAC) than in 2012. Ploesch was also 3rd on the team in runs batted in with 40.
The Lady Matadors finished the 2013 campaign with an overall record of 39 wins and 23 losses (their best overall record since 2009), and wound up with a 30-18 record in conference play.