Rachel Roberts earns the league's highest honor after a superb sophomore season

by: COURTESY PHOTO: KIP YOSHIMURA - Pacific sophomore Rachel Roberts was recently selected as the NWC softball player of the year. After a truly stellar season, Pacific sophomore Rachel Roberts was named the Northwest Conference softball player of the year last week, leading six Boxers who were selected to the All-NWC team.

Roberts, senior Becca Moen and junior Kylee Oshiro were all unanimously voted to the All-NWC first team. Sara Aasness was named to the second team, while Kaitlyn Shikada and Ashley Mitchell were honorable mention selections.

Roberts, who was a second team All-NWC selection last year, is Pacific’s first softball player of the year since Jennifer Sharp in 1998. Roberts led the conference with a .468 batting average. Her 58 hits also led the conference and was a school record.

“Rachel’s player of the year position is well deserved,” Pacific head coach Tim Hill said. “What pleases me about Rachel is how far she’s come from her freshman year. And that’s all attributable to her. She’s so coachable and she’s always looking to get better. She wants to learn. She’s been an absolute pleasure to coach.”

One of Roberts’ fortes has been stealing bases, and she did it better than anyone in the country. Her 46 stolen bases set a new Pacific school record and also led all NCAA Division III players.

Moen was named to the All-NWC first team for the second straight year as an outfielder. She tied for first in the conference with 41 runs and was ninth with a .372 batting average.

“Becca is the best leadoff hitter in the conference,” Hill said. “She has got us going in our late-game rallies multiple times. And she’s someone who did a lot for the team.

“She was a leader in the outfield and made the critical catches in critical moments. She absolutely did everything you’d expect a senior to do.”

Oshiro also earned her second spot on the All-NWC team. The catcher led the team and was second in the conference in RBIs with 41. Her batting average of .421 was also fourth in the conference, to go along with 45 hits and 19 runs.

“Kylee was the backbone of the team,” Hill said. “She’s a natural leader and she’s very coachable. As a catcher, she gives the pitchers confidence. She makes pitchers look good and the pitchers absolutely believe in her.”

The Boxers’ ace pitcher, Aasness earned a spot on the All-NWC second team for the second year in a row after a stellar season in the circle. Aasness finished the season with a 14-5 record, three saves and a 3.29 ERA. In 125.2 innings pitched, Aasness gave up 112 hits and 72 runs — 59 earned — while striking out 85 batters.

“Sara was a much stronger second teamer this year,” Hill said. “If she started the season the way she finished, she would have been a first teamer for sure. She stepped it up when we needed her and she was a huge factor in our late season playoff rush.”

Shikada was an honorable mention pick for the second straight year. The third baseman had a .262 batting average, 27 hits, 10 RBIs and 20 runs.

“Kaitlyn was very clutch in a lot of games,” Hill said. “She made huge strides offensively. She was a huge value on defense and was provided great leadership in the infield. If the committee valued field play more, Kaitlyn would be valued higher than honorable mention.”

Mitchell was also an honorable mention selection after hitting .330 with 35 hits and 26 RBIs.

“Ashley grew so much,” Hill said. “She’s a top level athlete. She was moved from shortstop to first base and made the transition in one day. She raised her batting average by 100 points. She accepted her position change with no complaint and she was very big for us.”

Pacific All-NWC selections

Rachel Roberts 1st Team

Becca Moen 1st Team

Kylee Oshiro 1st Team

Sara Aasness 2nd Team

Kaitlyn Shikada Hon. Men.

Ashley Mitchell Hon. Men.

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