May 11, 2016
ANN ARBOR – As the Michigan softball team prepares to defend its Big Ten title this weekend, the Wolverines raked in the conference’s top honors.
Michigan’s Sierra Romero was named the 2016 Player of the Year, teammate Megan Betsa was selected as the Pitcher of the Year and Michigan’s Carol Hutchins was named the Coach of the Year in awards announced Wednesday.
Romero, a senior second baseman from Murrieta, Calif., earned her third Player of the Year award after winning as a freshman and sophomore. She’s only the second player in Big Ten history to earn Player of the Year honors three times, joining Northwestern’s Garland Cooper (2005-07). Romero led the Big Ten this season in batting average (.485), slugging percentage (.947), on-base percentage (.600) and RBIs (71). She also has a team-leading 16 home runs, stole 13 bases in 14 attempts and posted a .964 fielding percentage. It marks Michigan’s 19th Player of the Year honor.
Betsa, a junior from McDonough, Ga., was named the Pitcher of the Year for the second straight season. During Big Ten play she led the conference with a 13-2 record and 135 strikeouts while posting a 1.76 ERA and holding hitters to a .142 batting average. Betsa is the third Big Ten player to be named Pitcher of the Year in back-to-back seasons and gives Michigan its 14th award in that category.
Hutchins, who broke the NCAA record for wins earlier this season in her 32nd year at Michigan and has racked up 1,476 victories, was named Coach of the Year for the seventh time in the last nine seasons and 16th time overall. She guided Michigan (44-4, 21-2 Big Ten), ranked No. 2 in the nation, to its ninth straight Big Ten title heading into this week’s tournament at Penn State. Michigan is the No. 1 seed and will play in an 8 p.m. quarterfinal on Friday against either Wisconsin or Indiana.
Romero and Betsa were joined on the All-Big Ten First Team by teammates Sierra Lawrence and Kelsey Susalla – both senior outfielders. Michigan sophomore first baseman Tera Blanco, senior pitcher Sara Driesenga, sophomore catcher Aidan Falk and junior third baseman Lindsay Montemarano were named to the All-Big Ten Second Team. Montemarano was Michigan’s lone selection to the All-Defensive Team.