Koponen earns ACCAC DII SB Pitcher of the Week Honors for 2nd straight week
Sophomore hurler fires two complete-game wins for Bears last week
Phoenix, Arizona – February 19, 2014 -- Phoenix College is proud to announce that PC Softball player Kaitlyn Koponen (kuh-POH-nehn) has been named the ACCAC DII Pitcher of the Week for the week ending February 15th. It’s the second straight week that Koponen has taken the award home, and it’s the fifth time during her illustrious two-year Bears’ career that she’s enjoyed the honor. The announcement comes just six days after Koponen threw her fourth straight complete-game victory: a 9-3 win over the archrival Glendale Gauchos to complete the sweep of the ACCAC Softball doubleheader last Thursday afternoon at Glendale.
Mid-February usually means a time of transition and moving the chess pieces around for Bears’ Head Softball Coach Heinz Mueller to find the perfect combination to make another run at a Region I title and possible national championship. While Mueller is still tweaking things in several areas, he knows he doesn’t need to worry about his ace, since Koponen has shown no signs of a ‘sophomore slump’ after winning 24 games for the Region I DII Champions a year ago. The former Corona Del Sol High School star kept her 2014 record perfect with 2 strong wins last week. She set the tone in the first inning of the first game of the week Tuesday at home against South Mountain, striking out the side swinging in the top of the 1stinning. Koponen took a no-hitter into the 5th inning but allowing her first hit, but that runner never got past second base as Koponen got the next three hitters to pop up, hit into a fielder’s choice (to retire the lead runner) and line out. Koponen gave up just one other hit en route to a 4-0 shutout in which she fanned six Cougar hitters overall. Two days later in the Bears’ first road test in conference play, Koponen’s teammates gave her a six-run lead after 1 ½ innings, and that was more than enough comfort zone for Kaitlyn to work with as she squelched every possible big rally that the Gauchos offered. Koponen again went the seven-inning distance in the 9-3 win, scattering six hits and allowing just one earned run while fanning four batters. For the week, Koponen allowed eight hits and that lone earned run in 14 innings of work while fanning 10 hitters and upping her overall record to 5-0. While she’s second in the ACCAC in wins, no one can touch her league-leading 0.50 earned run average. Koponen is also third on the team in strikeouts with 14.
Koponen and the 3rd-ranked Bears now get ready for their biggest challenge of the young season as they continue their current six-game homestand this Saturday afternoon. They’ll take the field for a showdown against Pima Community College, the 4th-ranked team in NJCAA Division I, in a battle of the two defending Region I Champions of a year ago. First pitch for the ACCAC Softball doubleheader is scheduled for high noon 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.