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Cathi Aradi

Humboldt State’s Pena & Winona State’s Walker Earn Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division II Accolades

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Julie Pena of Humboldt State and Ashley Walker of Winona State have been tabbed as the Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division II National Player and Pitcher of the Week for April 23rd, respectively.

The current California Collegiate Athletic Association Player of the Week, Pena starred for the Jacks during a huge four-game league sweep of then-No. 15 UC San Diego, hitting .857 (6-for-7) with two runs, three doubles, 10 walks and six RBIs while reaching base successfully on 16 of 17 trips to the plate. The San Diego, Calif., native christened her weekend by going a combined 4-for-5 with two doubles, two walks and three RBIs in the series-opening doubleheader on April 18. She followed that up during Saturday’s two match-ups versus the Tritons by posting a combined 2-for-2 day at the plate with a double and an RBI all while drawing a staggering eight free passes. For the year the redshirt sophomore third baseman is batting .319 with 27 runs scored, 10 doubles, 11 HR’s, 23 walks and a team-leading 46 RBIs. 

"This is a real honor for me as it is nice to see my hard work pay off,” Pena said. “I have been working on my hitting weaknesses every day, and I hope to continue my success and help the team have success the rest of the season.

"It is a great honor for Julie and our program,” Humboldt State head coach Shelli Sarchett said. “Julie has worked very hard. Last weekend was a big series for us against (then No. 15) UC San Diego, and she really stepped up when we needed her."

Walker, already named as the latest Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Pitcher of the Week, guided the Warriors from the circle by posting a 3-0 mark with a 0.00 ERA and 14 strikeouts over 22 innings of work. Included among her impressive efforts were back-to-back, complete-game shutouts of both Sioux Falls and Southwest Minnesota State. The finest performance by the junior from Shakopee, Minn., came against then-No. 12 Minnesota State Mankato, however, as Walker scattered four hits, struck out three and allowed an unearned tally over eight frames, while also going 1-for-3 at the plate and scoring the winning run as WSU ended the Mavericks’ 22-game winning streak, 2-1 (8 inn.). On the season Walker is 13-4 overall with a 1.92 ERA and 78 K’s over a team-high 124 innings, while hitting .343 with a squad-best 45 tallies and 13 doubles, three HR’s and 27 RBIs.

“I felt comfortable on the mound, especially with a strong defense behind me,” Walker said. “They made play after play throughout the week, and I never worried about where the ball was going to go knowing that they had my back. I was able to take every at bat one pitch at a time, and as a team, we were able to win some big games.”

“Ashley had a tremendous week for us,” Winona State head coach Greg Jones said. “She shut down some prolific lineups with a combination of mental toughness and skillful pitching. She was able to hit her spots and work ahead in the count and use a masterful mix of pitches against everyone she faced.”


Other Selected Top Performances

UMSL’s Hannah Perryman, the Great Lakes Valley Conference Pitcher of the Week, was 4-0 from the circle with a 0.56 ERA and 55 strikeouts over 25 innings, including 19 K’s in a win over Bellarmine…Columbus State’s Lindsey DeFee was chosen as the Peach Belt Conference tournament Most Valuable Player after batting .800 with two HR’s and five RBIs while going 2-0 from the circle over two contests…Montana State-Billings’ Emily Osborn hit .533 (8-for-15) with four HR’s and 12 RBIs against a combination of Saint Martin’s and Simon Fraser on the way to being named the GNAC Player of the Week…Wayne State (MI) pitcher Lyndsay Butler was 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA, a save and 20 strikeouts over 16 frames against Malone & Ashland to earn GLIAC Pitcher of the Week…PSAC Softball West Pitcher of the Week Alexa Campbell of IUP won all four of her starts, tossing three complete games and striking out 20 while shutting out both Gannon and Clarion…Uva-Wise’s Taylor Brandts, the Mountain East Pitcher of the Week, went 3-0 with two complete-game blankings and 21 K’s over 19.1 innings…ECC Co-Player of the Week Crystal Tarango of Dowling hit at a .526 clip (10-for-19) with two doubles, three HR’s and nine RBIs while slugging 1.105, joining LIU Post’s Alexis Gonzalez in sharing the league award as she batted .533 (8-for-15) with four doubles, two HR’s and 10 RBIs…Alycia Stiles of Limestone, the Conference Carolinas Player of the Week, went a combined 4-for-5 with a double, two HR’s and seven RBIs in two wins over Erskine that clinched an outright league title…Metro State’s Kaylynn Harmon drove in 11 runs while batting .500 with five extra-base hits (three HR’s) to earn RMAC Player of the Week accolades…West Texas A&M’s Jessica Sipe was chosen as the Lone Star Conference Hitter of the Week after posting a .571 average with two doubles, a HR and nine RBIs while slugging 1.286 over seven official at-bats…Breanna Morris of California (Pa.), the PSAC Softball West Athlete of the Week, posted a .650 batting mark, scored eight runs and managed at least one hit in each of her team’s six games…Oklahoma Christian’s Shea Coats was named the Heartland Conference Pitcher of the Week after firing two shutouts against Newman to extend her three personal streaks of four straight blankings, 27 consecutive scoreless innings and 16 straight wins…NSIC Player of the Week, Jenny Nelson of Winona State, batted .611 (11-for-18) with three HR’s and nine RBIs, including two RBIs during a DH sweep of #12 Minnesota State Mankato…Shippensburg’s Jessie Trammell hit 11-for-19 (.579) and extended her hitting streak to nine games to reap PSAC Softball East Athlete of the Week honors.


2014 Louisville Slugger Division II National Player of the Week 

Feb. 19 – Darian Dunn – Angelo State – So. – IF/OF – Frisco, Texas

Feb. 26 – Jessica Sipe – West Texas A&M – Sr. – 3B – Phoenix, Ariz.

March 5 – Tiffany Brown – Pittsburg State – Sr. – UTIL – Catoosa, Okla.

March 12 – Kala Ratliff – Oklahoma Christian – Sr. – C/3B – Yukon, Okla.

March 19 – Chloe Wolf – North Alabama – Jr. – 1B – Oakville, Mo.

March 26 – Courtney Albritton – Valdosta State – Jr. – UTIL – Sycamore, Ga.

April 2 – Shelby Miller – Southern Arkansas – Fr. – P/IF – Brazoria, Texas

April 9 – Tracey Balinskas – Molloy – So. – 3B/P – Edison, N.J.

April 16 – Lindsay Thorstenson – Northwestern Oklahoma State – Jr. – OF – San Diego, Calif.

April 23 – Julie Pena – Humboldt State – R-So. – 3B – San Diego, Calif.


2014 Louisville Slugger Division II National Pitcher of the Week 

Feb. 19 – Lyndsay Butler – Wayne State (MI) – R-Fr. – P – Cambridge, Ontario, Canada

Feb. 26 – Rachel Pence – Florida Tech – Fr. – P – Jacksonville, Fla.

March 5 – Carley Tysinger – Catawba – So. – P – Lexington, N.C.

March 12 – India Kornegay – USC Aiken – Sr. – P – Eufaula, Ala.

March 19 – Kindra Henze – Truman State – So. – P – Palmyra, Mo.

March 26 – Kalyn Loverich – Flagler – Sr. – P – St. Johns, Fla.

April 2 – Stacey Houser – Wingate – So. – P – Mooresville, N.C.

April 9 – Lindsey Clarkson – Cal State Monterey Bay – So. – P – Fresno, Calif.

April 16 – Kalynn Schrock – Central Oklahoma – Sr. – P/1B – Choctaw, Okla.

April 23 – Ashley Walker – Winona State – Jr. – OF/P – Shakopee, Minn.