June 5, 2002
The Santa Clara University softball team recently completed its season, posting a 25-38 record, just one win shy of tying a school record for a season. Under third-year head coach Marcy Crouch, the Broncos also won the WISL Championship for the first time since 1998. A few season highlights:
Santa Clara won the Western Independent Softball League Championship at Cottrell Field in Moraga with a 12-5 victory over Loyola Marymount. The Broncos defeated host Saint Mary's 7-1 earlier in the day to advance to the Championship. Coresta Salas went 4-4 with two runs and four RBIs to lead the Broncos to victory over the top-seeded Lions. SCU notched 15 hits- the second most allowed all season by LMU-as Tracie Hall went 3-4 and Lacey Smale went 2-4 with three runs and three RBIs. Deanna Rodriguez and Smale were named to the All-Tournament Team.
The Broncos closed out the season with a 25-38 record. The 25 wins marked the second most in school history for one season, falling just one victory short of the 1986 Bronco squad's 26-12 mark. The team set a new school record for triples, recording 21, while also walking the most times in a season, reaching base on balls on 131 occasions. SCU also tied the season record for sacrifice flies, with six. Bronco pitchers Deanna Rodriguez, Jennifer Ponzo and Kelley Johnson combined for 14 shutouts, also setting a school record.
Junior Coresta Salas and freshman Lacey Smale were named first team All-Independent for their performances this season. It was the first year that athletes from NCAA Division I Independent softball programs were recognized for their athletic accomplishments. Salas anchored the outfield, leading the team with 61 hits, including 10 triples. She went 4-for-4 against Loyola Marymount in the WISL championship game with a double and a triple to seal the title for the Broncos. She maintained a .305 batting average and lead the team in individual runs scored with 27. Smale led the team with a .314 batting average and 32 RBIs. The first baseman tallied 50 hits, and registered 477 putouts with a .992 fielding percentage.
Junior Roni Rivera was honored for her success at balancing athletics with academics, as she earned second team honors for the Arthur Ashe Sports Scholar Award. A starting catcher and co-captain, Rivera holds a 3.41 GPA as a history major. She also recently represented SCU at the 2002 NCAA Foundation Leadership Conference in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The conference was made up of 300 student-athletes from across the nation. Rivera is one of the most active members of the Broncos' Student-Athlete Leadership Council and has organized several activities to help increase the spirit between teams, including the "Flag Run" for the soccer games and the Athlete Ball.
The Broncos say goodbye to seniors Kristi Harrington, Deanna Rodriguez and Sydney Wiginton. The trio made their marks in the recordbooks and hold a combined 17 listings in the career top-five standings. Harrington started every game she played in her career, spending most of her time this year at third base while Rodriguez took control of the circle, setting three single-season marks in 2002. Wiginton came back from a broken jaw earlier this season and increased her career stolen base record.
After only notching one home run in each of the last two seasons, the Broncos went the distance in 2002, recording eight homers, including a single-season best five from sophomore catcher Rachel Sherman. When not behind the plate, Sherman took her place in the lineup as SCU's designated player or third baseman and finished the season with 25 RBIs, second best on the team.