Bison honored with softball awards

ELMHURST, Ill.--North Dakota State freshman pitcher Krista Menke earned dual honors as The Summit League Pitcher and Freshman of the Year, while Southern Utah junior outfielder Mikkel Griffin was named Summit League Player of the Year as the league announced its annual awards Wednesday.  Individual awards and all-league teams were selected in a voting of the league’s nine head coaches.
Griffin ranks 35th in the country in batting average (.413), led the league with 11 home runs, 111 total bases and a .716 slugging percentage and was second in hits (64), runs scored (42) and on-base percentage (.508).  In league play, the junior hit .389 with a .722 slugging percentage, 28 hits and 25 runs.
Menke ranks 20th in the country in shutouts (9) and 35th in wins (22), earned a league-high five Summit League Pitcher of Week honors and ranked in six of the 10 pitching categories in league play and five of 10 overall on the season. She has notched a league-leading 22 wins, nine shutouts and 27 complete games with 179 strikeouts. In league play, she tallied a league-best 14 wins, seven shutouts, 115 strikeouts and 1.51 ERA in 116 innings of work.
North Dakota State’s Darren Mueller (head coach), Jamie Trachsel (co-head coach), Brittany Weil (pitching coach), Kelly Cantrell (volunteer assistant) and Andi Padilla (director of operations) were named Coaching Staff of the Year after guiding the Bison to their second regular season title in school history and first top seed in the league tournament. NDSU was second in ERA and fielding percentage and posted a league record of 18-6 and an overall mark of 34-19.
The Bison captured a league-high four first team honorees, while IPFW and Southern Utah tied for a league-best six overall all-league team selections.
Griffin and Menke were both honored as first team selections.  Joining Menke on all-league first team were teammates Amanda Grable (.280, 45 H, 27 RBI, 22 R) at catcher, Cristine Borek (.248, 40 H, 28 RBI, 19 R) at designated player and Jamie Gay (.298, 42 H, 27 R, 18 RBI) at utility player.  IPFW was represented by third baseman Ashleigh Bousquet (.337, 57 H, 58 RBI, 33 R, 8 HR), outfielder Larissa Franklin (.361, 65 H, 41 R, 12 RBI) and pitcher Miranda Kramer (13-4, 1.90 ERA, 8 CG, 3 SHO,131 KO, 110.2 IP).  Western Illinois’ selections were comprised of first basemen Jamie Goss (.358, 58 H, 40 RBI, 31 R, .556 SLG%) and shortstop Sammy Marshall (.420, 55 H, 38 R, 45 SB).  Rounding out the first team were South Dakota second baseman Kassie Loe (.259, 38 H, 15 R) and Oakland outfielder Ericka Polidori (.376, 44 H, 23 R, 15 RBI, .641 SLG%).
Southern Utah tallied a league-high five second team selections, including first baseman Madison Resley, third baseman Kadi Henderson, outfielders Terysa Dyer and Tessa Loewen and designated player Haylee Hoch.  IPFW was represented by the trio of shortstop Alex Bousquet, outfielder Brittany Kachur and pitcher Courtney Cronin.  Rounding out the second team were UMKC catcher Caitlin Christopher, North Dakota State pitcher Whitney Johnson, IUPUI utility player Nicole Checkie and Oakland second baseman Erin Galloway.
The 2012 Summit League Softball Championship begins Thursday with top-seeded North Dakota State meeting No. 4 seed and host UMKC and No. 2 IPFW facing No. 3 seed Southern Utah. Double elimination play continues through Saturday’s championship game at the Missouri 3&2 Field in Kansas City, Mo.