SALEM, Virginia – Four members of the top ranked Lady Buffs of West Texas A&M achieved the highest individual honor a Division II softball player can reach on Wednesday night as the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) and Daktronics announced their 2014 All-American teams during and prior to the DII College World Series awards banquet being held at the Salem Civic Center in Salem, Virginia.
WT’s Rita Hokianga picked up 1st Team NFCA accolades while Jessica Sipe and Renee Erwin were named to the second team by the association. On the Daktronics side, Alyssa Lemos picked-up Honorable Mention accolades while Hokianga was named to the third team and Erwin was a first team selection while also being named the Ron Lenz Player of the Year. The Player of the Year accolade is a first for the WT Softball program while the four All-American honors brings the WT program All-American total to six student-athletes as Sipe and Hokianga join Erwin, Lemos, Kasey Henderson (2009-11) and Kim LeComte (2009-12)
“What a night for WT Softball and Buff Nation, these four young ladies have played a key role in the success of this program and this season and all of their postseason honors are well deserved” said WT head coach Kevin Blaskowski “Not only are they great softball players but they’re even better people and teammates, now it’s time to step between the lines tomorrow afternoon and try and reach our ultimate goal.”
Erwin, an Anna, Texas native, has been the backbone of the powerful WT offense during her junior season, leading the team with a .457 averages with 20 doubles, 6 triples and 17 homeruns to drive in 71 RBI on the season for a slugging percentage of .899 with 36 walks for an on-base percentage of .561 while going a perfect 21-for-21 on stolen bases. The junior outfielder also has 49 putouts and seven assists with just two errors in right field for the Lady Buffs, for a fielding percentage of .966. Erwin was an All-Lone Star Conference First Team selection while being named to the league's Golden Glove team and the LSC All-Tournament Team. She was named to the Daktronics All-South Central Region 1st Team while also picking up Player of the Year accolades.
Hokianga has become the ace of the top ranked Lady Buffs during her first season in Canyon, going 25-3 with a 2.25 ERA while striking out an incredible 262 batters in 186.2 innings for an opponent batting average of .197. The Hawke's Bay, New Zealand native has registered 18 complete games including eight shutouts to go along with two saves on the season, allowing just 134 hits while walking 66 opposing batters. Hokianga was named the Lone Star Conference Pitcher and Newcomer of the Year while also picking up All-LSC First Team honors, the junior lefty was a member of the league's Golden Glove team as well as the LSC All-Tournament Team. She was named to the Daktronics All-South Central Region 1st Team while also picking up Pitcher of the Year accolades, the junior becomes the second Louisville Slugger/NFCA First Team All-American in program history to join former Lady Buff standout Kim LeComte back in 2011.
Sipe has been huge in the middle of the order for the top ranked Lady Buffs this season, hitting .398 with 16 doubles, two triples and 18 homeruns to drive in 71 RBI for a slugging percentage of .818 while walking 35 times for an on-base percentage of .502. The Phoenix, Arizona native has also registered a .931 fielding percentage at the hot corner for the Lady Buffs with 56 putouts and a team leading 107 assists on the season with just 12 errors. Sipe was a member of the All-LSC First Team while being named to the league Golden Glove Team, she was also named to the Daktronics All-South Central Region 2nd Team.
Lemos has continued to be one of the top shortstops in all of Division II during her senior season, hitting .335 with 13 doubles, three triples and 12 homeruns to drive in 44 RBI for a slugging percentage of .632 while walking a team leading 54 times for an on-base percentage of .492. The Grapevine, Texas native is the all-time DII career leader in walks, entering the weekend with 177 while starting all 241 games of her storied career at shortstop while registering a fielding percentage of .966 with 37 putouts and 106 assists. Lemos was a First Team All-LSC selection while being named to the league's Golden Glove team for the second straight season. Lemos was named to the Daktronics All-South Central Region 1st Team for her efforts on the diamond while also excelling in the classroom, being named the 2014 WTAMU President's Award recipient for the top graduating female student-athlete as well as a two-time CoSIDA/Capita One Academic All-American.
The Lady Buffs will make their first ever appearance in the NCAA Division II College World Series on Thursday afternoon as the begin play against the East Region Champion #20 Pioneers of LIU-Post with first pitch set for 1:30 p.m. CT at the Moyer Sports Complex in Salem, Virginia.