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Fresno State Favored By Coaches To Win WAC Softball Title

Senior Ann Mesman was a first team All-WAC selection last season.
Senior Ann Mesman was a first team All-WAC selection last season.
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Jan. 24, 2001

Denver, Colo. - For the seventh year in a row, Fresno State has been picked as the league favorite in this year's Western Athletic Conference softball race in a vote by the league's coaches.

Fresno State, received four of six first-place votes and tallied 24 points to top the WAC poll. Hawai`i, who finished in second place last season, was picked second with two first-place votes and 22 points. Loyola Marymount was picked third with 16 points followed by Portland State (10). San Jose State and Tulsa tied for fifth, each receiving nine points.

Fresno State will defend its 2000 WAC Softball Championship after its 11th 50-win season in the last 14 years. The Bulldogs finished with a 54-14 record, 16-2 in the WAC. Fresno State is the only school in the nation to have participated in every NCAA postseason tournament and lost to California, 2-0 in the Regional finals last season. It returns seven letterwinners and five starters, including one All-American. Leading the way will be senior outfielder Becky Witt, a two-time All-American and three-time All-WAC selection. Last season, Witt led the WAC in runs (43) and ranked third in batting average (.377). The biggest question mark will be pitching as Fresno State will try to replace Amanda Scott, a four-time All-American, who is the WAC's all-time leader in wins (106), saves (10), ERA (0.55), strikeouts (851) and ranks second in innings pitched (871.0).

Looking to fill the void will be freshman pitcher Jamie Southern, who is from Clovis High School, the same school that produced Scott. Southern, an NFCA/Louisville Slugger High School first team All-American selection, can play four positions, including pitcher, first base, rightfield and centerfield. As a senior at Clovis, she batted .393 to go along with 21 RBI, 43 runs and 18 stolen bases. From the mound, she was 19-4 with a 0.27 ERA and 229 strikeouts.

Hawai`i, which finished last season with a 25-24 overall record, 11-9 in the WAC, returns 13 letterwinners, including six starters from last year's team. Desiree Duran, Kate Judd and Tyree Woodruff return as the Wahines' top players. Duran, a second team All-WAC selection in 2000, finished with an 11-5 record, including 96 strikeouts. Judd, a sophomore shortstop emerged as one of the top freshmen in the WAC, hitting .293 to go along with 17 runs and 25 RBI. Woodruff, a senior outfielder batted .305 to lead all returning players.

Loyola Marymount (36-27/10-10), who is in its second season as a WAC affiliate member, returns 10 letterwinners and seven starters. Senior Kim Bisset, a 2000 first team All-WAC performer tied for the team lead with 25 RBI and ranked second in batting average (.333) and doubles (8).

Portland State, also a WAC affiliate for the second-straight season, finished last season with a 22-34 record. The Vikings will be led by Kiauna Anderson, a senior outfielder, who led the team with 20 runs and ranked second with a .284 batting average.

Tulsa, who returns nine letterwinners and five starters, finished with a 20-32 mark and will led be senior first baseman Ann Mesman, a first team All-WAC performer in 2000.

Finally, San Jose State (19-37/6-14) returns 14 letterwinners and eight starters and will be paced by the sophomore tandem of Jackie Jimenez and Roxanne Staniorski. Jimenez, the WAC Freshman of the Year, hit .269 with 43 hits and 19 runs scored. Staniorski was a second team All-WAC selection and hit .256 with 31 hits and 22 RBI.

Both Tulsa and San Jose State will be under the direction of new head coaches. James Pinkerton begins his first year as a head coach and comes to Tulsa after serving as an assistant at Virginia. San Jose State will be guided by Dee Dee Enabenter, who comes to the Spartans after spending 16 years as the head coach of Bridgewater State College (Mass.), where she compiled a 428-154-2 (.744) overall record.

The 2001 season begins on Saturday, Jan. 27 as Loyola Marymount hosts CS Bakersfield.

2001 WAC Softball Coaches' Poll
(Points awarded on an 5-4-3-2-1 basis)*

Team 1 2 3 4 5 Total 1. Fresno State 4 1 - - - 24 2. Hawai`i 2 3 - - - 22 3. Loyola Marymount - 2 2 1 - 16 4. Portland State - - 2 1 2 10 5. Tulsa - - - 4 1 9 San Jose State - - 2 - 3 9

*Coaches could not vote for their own teams.