Eric R. Flores
The Paw Print
Led by Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Preseason Player of the Year, sophomore Katelyn Lovato, the Adams State College Grizzlies softball team has placed three members on the Preseason All-RMAC team while the Grizzlies were picked to finish third in the West Division and finish in sixth overall, conference officials announced on Tuesday afternoon.
The Grizzlies, who barely missed the RMAC Tournament last spring, finished with 54 points in the overall rankings and 31 points in the West Division polling of the league’s 12 head coaches, who were not allowed to vote for their own teams or players.
Mesa State, the team that eliminated the Grizzlies from postseason play last year, claimed four first place votes and 16 points in the overall rankings while nabbing eight first place votes and 16 points in the West Division poll. Metro State, which won the Central Regional title and RMAC crown, was selected to finish second overall with three first-place votes and 28 points while finishing first in the East Division poll with five first place votes and 18 points.
“Based on last year’s results, we are probably right where we are supposed to be,” said head coach Dervin Taylor.
Joining Lovato on the All-RMAC squad is her sister, senior utility player Jaycee Lovato and junior shortstop Rebecca Lindquist. The Lovatos were unanimous picks to the squad along with Metro State’s sophomore first baseman Aubree Maul.
Katelyn Lovato, who finished the 2010 season with an active 38-game hit streak, which is just two short of the NCAA Division II record and six off the NCAA all-division record, also finished the season with a RMAC-high 78 hits, the third most in ASC’s Division II history (1993-Present). The RMAC Freshman of the Year’s .523 batting average led the RMAC and was the second best in the country. It was also the highest of any RMAC player since Amy Tjaarda set the ASC single-season and RMAC record of .549 in 1993.
The speedy center fielder also lead the team with 38 runs scored and had 17 stolen bases, the fifth most in ASC’s history.
“It’s good to earn the honor,” said Lovato, “However, it doesn’t mean too much because I am just out here to play ball.”
“It’s a tremendous award for her to earn,” said Taylor. “She is just looking forward to going out there and playing and proving that she earned the award.”
In addition to the freshman of the year honor, Lovato was named as a First Team All-American by Daktronics and was named to Louisville Slugger/National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-Central region team.
Jaycee Lovato, who was named to the Third Team ESPN the Magazine Academic All-America Team, also was named to the First Team Daktronics and NFCA All-Central Region team. Lovato, who registered 20 extra-base hits and 94 total bases, led team in doubles (8) and walks (20) while finishing the season with an active 16-game hitting streak.
Lindquist, who was a 2-time RMAC Player of the Week last season, finished the season with an active 13-game hitting streak as she registered 99 total bases this season, led the team with 49 RBI, and in just two seasons, she has tallied 79 RBI in 72 career games. Lindquist was named to the Second Team Daktronics, Inc. Alla-Central Region squad in 2010.
All three Grizzlies were also selected as First Team All-RMAC picks in 2010.
The Grizzlies begin the 2011 campaign on Feb. 11 at the second annual Desert Stinger Classic Tournament in Las Vegas, Nev. Before opening conference play on Feb. 26 in Pueblo against the Colorado State-Pueblo ThunderWolves.