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WCSN’s mid-season awards

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At 36-4, Arizona State softball is currently ranked as the second-best team in the nation and are in the middle of their tough Pac-12 schedule but it’s never too late to take a look back at the first half of the season. Here are my WCSN mid-season awards.

BEST MOMENT

Cheyenne Coyle wraps in the Best Moment award, shared with Katee Aguirre. (Photo: Kelci Cooper/WCSN)
This was a tough choice, with a 12th inning walk-off and a Cheyenne Coyle walk-off grand slam being in the running but the winner is…

Cheyenne Coyle and Katee Aguirre

Cheyenne Coyle and Katee Aguirre both hit grand slams in the fifth inning against Illinois Chicago on February 16th. This is the second time in school history that two grand slams have been hit in the same inning. The last time ASU had hit two grand slams in one inning was last season against Stanford, off the bats of Amber Freeman and Katelyn Boyd.

BIGGEST SURPRISE

We all know the Sun Devils have a deep team, which is keeping many great freshmen on the bench but the biggest surprise this season has taken her playing time as a freshman and ran with it. And the winner is…

Nikki Girard

Freshmen Nikki Girard has been a pleasant surprise this season while splitting time with Bethany Kemp at first base. In 34 games played this season, Girard has amassed a .316 batting average with three home runs and 34 RBIs. With her performance this season, head coach Clint Myers has a very good problem with two players he knows can perform at first base.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT

Defensive Miscue

There hasn’t been much this season that a Sun Devil softball fan can look at as a disappointment, but for a team that has championship aspirations, it is disappointing that they rank fifth in the conference in errors committed with 31.

It has been better of late, with ASU having only committed four errors during the first nine games of Pac-12 play. If they want to come back from Oklahoma City with a championship they are going to need to step up defensively.

Best Pitcher

The Sun Devils clearly have two aces in Dallas Escobedo and Mackenzie Popescue, but who has been the best this season? The winner is….

Mackenzie Popescue

Dallas Escobedo is this team’s ace and their best-known player, but that has not stopped Mackenzie Popescue from putting up the most impressive pitching stats on the team.

Popescue is undefeated this season with a mark of 16-0 and a stellar 1.19 ERA. She has set new career highs in wins (16), strikeouts (74), and innings pitched (100). Popescue also threw the 24th no-hitter in Sun Devils’ history (March 1, vs. North Dakota).

Best Offensive Player

The Sun Devils are by far the best offensive team in the Pac-12, they lead in most of the major categories including runs, hits, batting average, RBIs, and home runs. There are many great choices but the winner is…

Cheyenne Coyle

Prior to this season transfer student Cheyenne Coyle was expected to step into the lineup and replace the graduated Katelyn Boyd, and it is pretty clear that any questions surrounding her production have been answered. Through 40 games this season Coyle is batting .360 with 14 home runs and 46 RBIs.

Coyle leads the team in home runs and runs scored and she is second on the team in RBIs. Coyle has also made an impact beyond the numbers by hitting second in the batting order on a nightly basis and reaching base more than half the time. She provides plenty of protection for Amber Freeman who is the team leader in hits and RBIs.

MVP

For a team that is the second overall in the country, you could probably choose just about anybody to be the team’s MVP, so without further ado, the winner is….

Clint Myers

Coach Myers is definitely a bold choice but his impact on this team cannot be overlooked. Earlier this season he earned his 400th career victory as head coach at Arizona State and that, combined with his two national championships while coaching here, is a huge asset to this team. Because of his experience and coaching ability he will be able to keep this team focused on the goal of a national championship.

The Sun Devils have just 15 games remaining in the regular season and will continue their quest on Friday in Tempe against the No. 24 Washington Huskies.

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