Eric R. Flores
The Paw Print
Adams State College sophomore centerfielder Katelyn Lovato continues to make history for the Grizzlies as she was named as the 2011 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Player of the Year. The selection was announced Tuesday by conference officials who conducted a vote of the league’s 12 head coaches.
Redshirt freshman first baseman Kristen Payne earned a big honor of her own as she was named as the RMAC Freshman of the Year, duplicating the honor that Lovato had earned in 2010.
In addition to Lovato and Payne, junior infielder Rebecca Lindquist was named to the All-RMAC First Team at the third base position while senior utility player Jaycee Lovato was named to the Second Team All-RMAC squad. Senior pitcher Sarah Lindquist and freshman leftfielder Carly DeLorenzo rounded out the Grizzlies’ contingent of six All-RMAC selections, the largest grouping of any team in the RMAC.
Katelyn Lovato, who was the 2010 RMAC Freshman of the year and the 2011 Preseason Player of the Year, joined RMAC Pitcher of the Year, Colorado School of Mines sophomore Kelly Unkrich, as the only two players to be unanimous First Team All-RMAC selections.
Rebecca Lindquist and Mesa State senior Lauren Cross were tied in the voting for the first team honor at third base and because of that, they were both awarded First Team honors.
This is the third year out of the past four years that the Grizzlies, who, along with Mesa State, led all RMAC squads in first team selections, have had three first team all-conference honors as the squad also accomplished the feat during the 2008 and 2010 seasons. Under fourth-year head coach Dervin Taylor, the Grizzlies have had now 18 total all-conference selections.
Katelyn Lovato, who led the conference with a .505 batting average during the regular season, also leads the conference in hits, runs scored, triples, stolen bases and on-base percentage. Her 92 hits have allowed her to tie the ASC single-season record, now co-held by former Grizzly All-American Heather Ebert. Her eight triples and 41 stolen bases are new single-season records for the Grizzlies while her 58 runs scored is third on the ASC charts.
In addition to her stats from her freshman season, when she led the RMAC with a .523 batting average, Lovato has also set new career school records for triples with 10, and stolen bases with 58. She also set an NCAA Division II record for consecutive games with a hit, recording a hit in 42 straight games over the last two seasons. She also earned RMAC and National Fastpitch Coaches Association Player of the Week honors this season.
“It’s exciting and I am very honored,” Lovato remarked upon hearing the news of her selection. “I don’t focus on stats and I do my best to try and get on base and help the team.”
Payne, who leads all RMAC freshmen with a .431 batting average, also leads the conference with 23 2-out RBI while ranking fourth overall in the conference in the batting average category. She also sits in second in slugging percentage and on base percentages of .876 and .412, respectively. She is tied with teammate Jaycee Lovato, for fourth in the conference with 14 homers while sitting in seventh in the conference in RBI with 48.
“I’m excited as this is the biggest honor that I have ever received,” said a speechless Payne. “It’s exciting to follow in Katelyn’s footsteps as Freshman of the Year.”
“I’m in awe at the awards the Grizzlies continue to rack up,” said head coach Dervin Taylor. “It is just getting better with the athletes we continue to bring in. It shows just how much the ASC Softball program is growing.”
Rebecca Lindquist has now earned her second straight All-RMAC First Team honor, as she tallied 23 doubles to tie the RMAC single-season record for doubles, six more than any other RMAC player. In addition to the ASC single-season record for 2-baggers, she set a single-season record for at bats with 194 and has racked up 26 multiple hit games and 15 multiple RBI games to tally 55 on the season.
With the 55 RBI, equal to the RMAC lead with Jaycee Lovato, Lindquist now owns the Grizzlies career record for RBI with 134.
Jaycee Lovato, who was an unanimous preseason All-RMAC pick, finished the year by batting .339 with 28 extra base hits, including 14 homers, and 34 runs.
She started the season on fire as she set the Grizzlies single-game record for RBI in a game with 8. This effort helped her be named as the RMAC and NFCA Player of the Week.
Sarah Lindquist won a career-best 17 games to get within one win of the Grizzlies single-season record while improving her career total to 50 games, four more than any other Grizzly pitcher. She also set a single-season record for complete games with 23 as she was named RMAC Pitcher of the Week on Feb. 15.
DeLorenzo finished the regular season by batting .338 with 31 runs scored. She posted 21 stolen bases, the second most amongst the Grizzlies and fourth in the RMAC. She had 11 extra base hits, six of which were triples.
“Having six players is an honor and shows a lot about the program,” added Taylor.