May 19, 2010
Park Ridge, Ill.–The Big Ten office announced the 2010 softball All-Big Ten teams and individual honors today with Michigan teammates sharing the top individual laurel. Wolverines Nikki Nemitz and Maggie Viefhaus were named Co-Players of the Year. Michigan’s Jordan Taylor earned Pitcher of the Year accolades. Ohio State’s Melanie Nichols was tabbed Freshman of the Year, and Illinois mentor Terri Sullivan was voted Coach of the Year by her peers.
For the first time since 1991, the Big Ten honors Co-Players of the Year. The Michigan duo of Nemitz and Viefhaus share the conference’s top honor after leading the Wolverines to a Big Title, a No. 2 national ranking, an 18-1 conference record and a 46-6 overall mark. The title marked the 14th time in program history that the Wolverines were crowned and their second outright title since the 2005 campaign.
Nemitz ended the 2010 conference season with a .458 batting average, a Big Ten-best 1.15 ERA and 1.000 fielding percentage. The utility player had 22 hits, including six doubles, three home runs and 18 RBI. While in the field, the St. Clair Shores, Mich., native committed no errors and had five assists. On the mound, the left-handed hurler saw action in nine games, pitching 42.2 innings. Nemitz was 7-0 in conference play with four shutouts.
Viefhaus led the Big Ten in conference play in batting average (.478), slugging percentage (1.217), on-base percentage (.632) and RBI (27). The Pacific, Mo., native is also among the nation’s best this season, ranking eighth in slugging percentage (.842) in all games, seventh in runs per game (1.15) and 17th in home runs (17.0). Viefhaus started all 19 conference games at third base for the Wolverines and earned a fielding percentage of .966 with 10 putouts and 18 assists while only committing one error. The Nemitz and Viefhaus are the 13th and 14th Michigan players to earn Player of the Year distinction.
Nichols, a native of San Jacinto, Calif., becomes the second Ohio State player to be named Freshman of the Year. On the mound, the first-year player was among the top two pitchers in the conference with an ERA of 1.83. The right-handed hurler was 22-2 after 164.2 innings of work, fanning 129 batters. Nichols joins former Buckeye Wendy Allen (2001) as players named as the conference’s top freshman.
Taylor becomes the 11th Wolverine to earn Pitcher of the Year laurels, joining a litany of standout hurlers. The junior right-handed pitcher closed out the Big Ten campaign with an 11-1 record while owning one of the conference’s best earned run averages, 1.48. The Valencia, Calif., native also allowed opponents to hit at only a .145 clip during Big Ten play.
Sullivan claims top coaching laurels after guiding the Illini to a 16-2 mark in conference play and a 43-6 overall record. The Orange and Blue are ranked 18th nationally and are enjoying one of the program’s best seasons, finishing tied for second and earning its second consecutive NCAA Tournament berth. Sullivan earns her first Coach of the Year honor and the first in program history.
In addition to the individual honors, the conference coaches selected three All-Big Ten teams. Conference champion Michigan highlighted the first-team list with five student-athletes. Ohio State featured four student-athletes on the first team, and Illinois rounded out the lineup with three selections.
The conference office also announced honorees from each of the 11 softball squads for the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award. The student-athletes chosen are individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. The student-athletes also must be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting. Honorees for softball are Illinois’ Hope Howell, Indiana’s Monica Wright, Iowa’s Katie Brown, Michigan’s Kristin Larsen, Michigan State’s Karen Fox, Minnesota’s Natalie Neal, Northwestern’s Lauren Ackerman, Ohio State’s Megan Miller, Penn State’s Ashley Griffith, Purdue’s Ashley Barr and Wisconsin’s Kendall Grimm. These 11 student-athletes are now candidates for the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award, as the conference office will honor one male and one female student-athlete from each institution at the end of the school year.
2010 ALL-BIG TEN SOFTBALL TEAMS AND POSTSEASON HONORS
Meredith Hackett, So., Illinois 1B
Danielle Zymkowitz, Jr., Illinois 2B
Alicia Herron, So., Ohio State SS
Maggie Viefhaus, Sr., Michigan 3B
Angela Findlay, Sr., Michigan OF
Bree Evans, So., Michigan OF
Hope Howell, Sr., Illinois OF
Sam Marder, Sr., Ohio State C
Nikki Nemitz, Sr., Michigan UT
Courtney Pruner, Sr., Ohio State DP
Jordan Taylor, Jr., Michigan P
Melanie Nichols, Fr., Ohio State P
Dorian Shaw, Jr., Michigan 1B
Nicole Pauly, Sr., Northwestern 2B
Emily Allard, Fr., Northwestern SS
Molly Garst, So., Purdue 3B
Jennifer Glueckert, Sr., Indiana OF
Hollie Pinchback, Jr., Illinois OF
Taylor Leichsenring, Sr., Iowa OF
Liz Watkins, So., Iowa C
Molly Bausher, Sr., Michigan UT
Michelle Batts, Jr., Northwestern DP
Monica Perry, So., Illinois P
Pepper Gay, Fr., Illinois P
Lindsey Digmann, Sr., Iowa 2B
Amanda Chidester, So., Michigan 2B
Roya St. Clair, Sr., Michigan C
Lindsey Hansen, Jr., Michigan State SS
Alex Davis, Fr., Minnesota UT
Adrienne Monka, So., Northwestern 1B
Brittany Goodchild, Jr., Ohio State OF
Dee Dee Hillman, Jr., Ohio State OF
Lisa Akamine, So., Penn State UT
Liane Horiuchi, Sr., Purdue SS
Shannel Blackshear, Fr., Wisconsin 3B
Jennifer Krueger, Jr., Wisconsin OF
Letty Olivarez, Sr., Wisconsin UT
CO-PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
Nikki Nemitz, Michigan
Maggie Viefhaus, Michigan
PITCHER OF THE YEAR
Jordan Taylor, Michigan
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
Melanie Nichols, Ohio State
COACH OF THE YEAR
Terri Sullivan, Illinois
2010 SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD HONOREES
Hope Howell, ILL
Monica Wright, IND
Katie Brown, IOWA
Kristin Larsen, MICH
Karen Fox, MSU
Natalie Neal, MINN
Lauren Ackerman, NU
Megan Miller, OSU
Ashley Griffith, PSU
Ashley Barr, PUR
Kendall Grimm, WIS