Bears sweep inaugural ACCAC Division II Softball Player of the Week Awards
OF Geith named Player of the Week; Koponen named conference’s top pitcher last week
Phoenix, Arizona – February 11, 2014 -- Phoenix College is proud to announce that two members of the PC Softball team have been named as the ACCAC Division II Softball Players of the Week for the week ending February 8th. Outfielder Courtney Geith (GHEETH) was named the ACCAC Division II Player of the Week, while Kaitlyn Koponen (kuh-POH-nehn) was named the ACCAC DII Pitcher of the Week. They both win the awards in the first week that the conference is handing out the accolades for the 2014 season. Geith and Koponen become the first Bears’ players to win the two awards since current teammate Nicole Larsen took home both awards in the same week last April. It’s also the fourth time that Koponen has been named the ACCAC’s top pitcher for a week during her career after earning the honor three times between late February and last March last season. The announcements come just five days after the two led the Bears to a their 7th& 8thconsecutive wins of the season in a 11-1, 12-2 doubleheader sweep of Embry-Riddle University from Prescott Friday afternoon at the Bears’ Softball Field on the PC campus.
While this is Geith’s first year in a blue and gold uniform, she’s in many ways more experienced than her Bears’ teammates. Geith came to PC after spending her freshman year as a starting outfielder for the Lobos of the University of New Mexico. Despite playing 41 games for UNM as a freshman, Geith saw an opportunity to not only return to her Peoria home but also get the chance to play for a national championship with PC. The Sunrise Mountain High School alum has fit in perfectly with the Bears’ speed-oriented outfield, aligning with last year’s NJCAA Stolen Bases Champion Rebecca Wyatt to provide a lightning-quick top of the batting order for Bears’ Head Softball Coach Heinz Mueller. Last week, Geith proved that and more, since she had at least one hit in every one of the Bears’ six games last week, and showed both speed and power in PC’s six wins. In her first doubleheader at her new home field Tuesday, Geith knocked out 3 hits in 7 at-bats, stealing 3 bases and scoring 3 runs. Two days later, Geith was retired the first two times she came to the plate against Arizona Christian University, then promptly punished the Firestorm with 5 straight hits, including banging out her second home run of the season in the 2ndinning of the 10-4 win in Game 2. She also added 3 more stolen bases in the doubleheader sweep while crossing the plate four times. There was no sign of fatigue as Geith took the field just 24 hours later as the Bears hosted Embry-Riddle on Friday, since she extended her string of consecutive hits to eight, going 3-for-3 in the first game of the twin bill, hitting a triple, stealing 2 bases, scoring twice and knocking in a pair of runs in just five innings of work. Her final game of the week saw her beat out a bunt for a single in three at-bats in the nightcap against ERU, coming around to score. For the week, Geith hit a scorching .600, with a dozen hits in 20 at-bats, with a homer, a triple, and eight stolen bases. She also scored 10 and knocked in 3 of the Bears’ 67 runs on the week.
For Koponen, winning the award is merely Kaitlyn picking up where she left off last year, and trying to improve on a stellar freshman campaign that saw her win more games-24-than all but 6 Division II pitchers in the nation. After just 11 games, Koponen is already 1/8 of the way to duplicating that total, including picking up 2 of those 3 wins this past week. The Corona Del Sol High School alum took the bump for the nightcap Tuesday against Mesa and kept the Thunderbirds at bay. She methodically worked her way out of a 2nd-inning jam, working her way out of a bases-loaded jam by striking out one batter, then forcing the next two batters to pop up in the infield. After that, only one Thunderbird base runner even reached 2ndbase as Koponen scattered six hits over five innings of shutout ball. Three days later, it was much of the same against Embry-Riddle as Koponen came out for Game 2 trying to finish off a perfect Bears’ week. She gave up an unearned run in the 2ndinning, but then doused the rally by giving up a double-play ball, then striking out Karina Pacheco to end the inning. Koponen only got stronger as the game went on, retiring the last 7 hitters to face her en route to another six-hitter. For the week, Koponen was 2-0, with an 0.90 earned run average over 10 innings of work. She also struck out five hitters while walking just one and allowing a single earned run. For the season, Koponen is a perfect 3-0 and tied for the conference lead in wins, while her 0.41 ERA is 3rd-best in the ACCAC.
Geith & Koponen will lead the Bears back into conference play later today as they close out this eight-game homestand against the Cougars of South Mountain Community College. First pitch for the ACCAC Softball doubleheader is scheduled for 1PM at the Bears’ Softball Field on the PC campus (1202 West Thomas Road in Phoenix), and admission prices are as follows: $5 for adults; $3 for students with a valid ID; and kids 12 and under get in FREE.