June 6, 2002
MILPITAS, Calif. - Santa Clara senior Kristi Harrington received the Bronco of the Year Award as the softball team honored its seniors and thanked the fans at the team banquet tonight at Dave and Buster's restaurant in Milpitas. The team also celebrated its 25-victory season, the second best in school history, and the WISL Championship.
Freshman Lacey Smale received the Ms. Clutch and Rookie of the Year awards while senior Sydney Wiginton earned the Most Inspirational award. Most Valuable Offensive honor was given to sophomore Rachel Sherman while senior Deanna Rodriguez received Most Valuable Defensive recognition.
The Bronco of the Year award has been given annually to the player who best exemplifies what it means to play Bronco Softball, including attitude, effort, support of teammates, results and best representation of the program. Harrington started every game she played in her career, spending most of her time this year at third base.
Smale was named an Independent All-American as she 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. In the Championship game of the WISL Tournament against Loyola Marymount, Smale went 2-4 with three runs and three RBIs while earning All-Tournament Team honors.
Wiginton came back from a broken jaw earlier this season and increased her career stolen base record. She continued to show her leadership off the field while recovering from her injury. Teammate Coresta Salas said during senior day, "Sydney is a hard worker who expects nothing less than perfection from herself and her teammates. Her competitive attitude and passion for winning will be missed."
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 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. Her defensive counterpart, Rodriguez, took control of the circle and set three single-season top-five marks in 2002 while joining Smale on the WISL All-Tournament Team.
Santa Clara completed its season, posting a 25-38 record, just one win shy of tying a school record for a season. The Broncos also won the WISL Championship for the first time since 1998. The team set a new school record for triples, recording 21, while Bronco pitchers Rodriguez, Jennifer Ponzo and Kelley Johnson combined for 14 shutouts, also setting a school record.