Five UW Softball Players Collect Pacific All-Region Honors

May 16, 2002

SEATTLE - Five Washington softball players, Tia Bollinger (Santa Ana, Calif.), Jaime Clark (Tustin, Calif.), Kristen Rivera (Perris, Calif.), Rita Roach (Norwalk, Calif.) and Becky Simpson (Tumwater, Wash.), earned All-Pacific Region honors Wednesday from the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) and Louisville Slugger. The five are now eligible for All-America honors, which will be announced on May 22 at the Women's College World Series Banquet in Oklahoma City, Okla.

Roach was the only Husky named to the 12-member all-region first team. The team's starting centerfielder, Roach is third on the team in batting average with a career-best .356 mark, including 37 runs, 58 hits and 22 stolen bases. The sophomore has more than quadrupled her RBI output this season with 18, batting primarily in the number two spot, after tallying just four RBI in 2001. A Pac-10 second team honoree this season, Roach is the second Husky outfielder to earn first team all-region honors in as many years, after former standout Kelly Hauxhurst was also the lone Husky named to the first team in 2001.

Bollinger is one of four UW players named to the all-region second team. The 5-8 pitcher, who also earned second team honors a year ago as a freshman, leads the Huskies in wins (19), earned-run average (1.20), strikeouts (167) and innings pitched (175.1). Bollinger recently set a school and Pac-10 season record with seven saves, collecting a pair last weekend in the team's doubleheader sweep of No. 2 Arizona. The sophomore right-hander garnered third team All-America honors in 2001 and was named a conference honorable mention selection this season.

A two-time All-American, Clark was named to the second team for the second consecutive season, after earning first team honors as a freshman in 2000. The team's starting shortstop leads the UW in almost every offensive category, including batting average (.423), runs (54), home runs (17) and RBI (68), a category in which she currently leads the nation. Washington's career home run leader, Clark is one of 10 finalists for the inaugural USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award and received a nod to the Pac-10 first team for the third straight season. Clark becomes the sixth Husky player to be named an all-region selection three times.

Rivera and Simpson, both first time all-region honorees, round out the Washington second team selections. Rivera, who also was named to the all-Pac-10 first team, has enjoyed a phenomenal freshman season, hitting .365 with 13 doubles, 16 home runs and 59 RBI. The UW's starting catcher is one of three Huskies to play and start in all 60 games, leading the squad in multi-RBI games with 20, while taking second behind Clark in multi-hit games with 17.

The lone senior on this year's roster, Simpson is a two-year starter in the outfield, who entered this weekend's NCAA regionals with a .312 batting average, 46 runs scored, nine doubles and 18 stolen bases. Simpson also set a UW school record for most triples in a season with seven, beating the previous mark of six, set by All-American Michelle Church in 1994.

All but one of the 24 all-region selections were players from the Pac-10 Conference, with the lone exception being Loyola Marymount outfielder Christy Cerecedes. Washington tied with top-ranked UCLA with the most all-region selections. The Huskies and Bruins, who had five first teamers, are followed by Arizona (3), California (3), Stanford (3), Arizona State (2) and Oregon State (2).

Washington, which won its opening NCAA regional game, 8-0 over Oakland Thursday, will play its second game on Friday, May 17, at 7 p.m. EDT, in Ann Arbor, Mich.

2002 NFCA/Louisville Slugger
All-Pacific Region

First Team
P Jennie Finch, Arizona
P Keira Goerl, UCLA
1B Leneah Manuma, Arizona
2B Kira Ching, Stanford
3B Phelan Wright, Arizona State
SS Natasha Watley, UCLA
C Stacey Nuveman, UCLA
UT Amanda Freed, UCLA
DP Claire Sua, UCLA
OF Jessica Mendoza, Stanford
OF Rita Roach, Washington
OF Christy Cerecedes, Loyola Marymount

Second Team
P Tia Bollinger, Washington
P Jocelyn Forest, California
1B Sarah Beeson, Stanford
2B Brynnen Guthrie, Oregon State
3B Candace Harper, California
SS Jaime Clark, Washington
C Kristen Rivera, Washington
UT Nichole Thompson, Arizona State
DP Jenny Gladding, Arizona
OF Michelle Chariton, Oregon State
OF Kaleo Eldredge, California
OF Becky Simpson, Washington

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