Vulcans dominate PSAC team picks
The California University of Pennsylvania softball program received three post-season awards and featured nine All-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) West selections, including seven first-team honorees, on Wednesday afternoon.
Senior catcher Natalie Wideman was tabbed the PSAC West Athlete of the Year, as the Vulcans have now boasted the division's Athlete of the Year 13 times in the last 20 years. She leads the league with a .458 batting average (54-for-118) and 45 runs scored while moving into the leadoff spot midway through the season. Wideman ranks second in the PSAC with a .484 on-base percentage and sits fourth in the league with a .703 slugging percentage and 21 stolen bases. The Ontario native also earned All-PSAC First-Team status for the third time overall in her career.
Sophomore Alex Sagl repeated as the PSAC West Pitcher of the Year, as Cal U featured the top pitcher in the division for the fifth time in the last six years. She is currently tied for first in the PSAC with a career-high 23 victories and ranks second in the league with 169 strikeouts. The Ontario native also sits third in the conference with a 1.40 ERA and a .194 opponents batting average (97-for-500).
Head coach Rick Bertagnolli was selected the PSAC West Coach of the Year for the sixth-consecutive season and 14th time in his career. He guided the Vulcans to their first PSAC Tournament Championship since 2000 and an undefeated mark in divisional play for the first time since 1998, finishing with a 23-0 league mark. Cal U enters this weekend's NCAA Tournament with a 35-5 overall record after recording a 28-game winning streak that spanned nearly 50 days.
In addition to Sagl and Wideman, senior second baseman Shelby Lia, junior shortstop Breanna Morris and sophomore first baseman Lindsay Reicoff all repeated as All-PSAC West First-Team selections.
Senior designated player Stephani Ellis and freshman utility Megan Jahoda were both also named to the All-PSAC West First-Team.
Lia received All-PSAC West accolades for the third time in her career at second base (Second Team 2011, First Team 2013-14). She ranks eighth in the league with eight homers and 35 RBI while also posting a .323 average (40-for-124) and 31 runs scored. Morris sits third in the conference with a .426 average (52-for-122) and ranks ninth in the league with 33 runs scored, .656 slugging percentage and 10 stolen bases.
She has also totaled 12 doubles, four homers and 29 RBI while starting all 40 games. Reicoff ranks fourth in the PSAC with both 10 homers and 38 RBI, while sitting among the top 10 with 36 runs scored and .667 slugging percentage. She has tallied a .381 average (48-for-126) while belting double-digit homers for the second-straight year.
Ellis earned All-PSAC West status for the first time in her career after posting a .325 average (26-for-80), seven doubles, six homers, 23 RBI and 21 runs scored. Jahoda was the lone freshman named to the All-PSAC West First-Team, tallying a .278 average (20-for-72) with five homers and 17 RBI.
Freshman Kaity Davis and sophomore third baseman Natalya Smarra were both selected to the All-PSAC West Second-Team on Wednesday. Davis ranks eighth in the league with 12 victories and has tallied a 2.32 ERA while tossing 99.2 innings behind nine complete games. Smarra ranks fourth on the team with a .340 average (34-for-100) and has posted four homers, 22 RBI and 26 runs scored.
The Vulcans earned the top seed and hosting rights for this weekend's NCAA Tournament at Lilley Field. Cal U open plays in the tournament on Friday against Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Champion Winston-Salem State at 1 p.m.