BELLINGHAM, Wash. – Three members of the Western Washington University softball team have been selected to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-West Region team.
Junior catcher/outfielder Carlie Richards became the program’s second first-team selection, joining Alexie Levin in 2014. Junior first baseman Emily Benson and junior third baseman Makinlee Sellevold were both second-team selections.
2017 NFCA All-West Region Selections:
- Carlie Richards – 1st Team (Utility)
- Emily Benson – 2nd Team (1B)
- Makinlee Sellevold – 2nd Team (3B)
Richards (Kennewick, WA/Kamiakin) was selected to the first team as a utility player. The junior has been a key figure in the Vikings lineup batting .380 (38-for-100 with 8 doubles, 2 home runs and 22 RBI in 37 games. She has reached base safely in 34 of 37 games this season, including a streak of 26 consecutive games. She started 19 games in right field and took on catching duties for the first time in her career, making 16 starts. Her current .380 batting average is 10th-best in single-season WWU history and .479 on-base percentage is 3rd-best.
“This is a tremendous and very deserving honor for Carlie,” said head coach Amy Suiter. “She stepped into a new position this year when the team needed her due to an injury, and really stepped up her game while doing so. She was a clutch hitter, on-base machine and has been a huge part to our success.”
Benson (West Richland, WA/Kamiakin) is batting .432 (60-for-139) heads into the postseason batting .432 (60-for-139) with 12 home runs and 37 RBI, and is amongst the nation’s leaders in on-base percentage (6th, .556), slugging percentage (28th, .763) and OPS (11th, 1.319). WWU’s career home run leader with 31, Benson currently has the top single-season batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage in school history.
“Emily had one of the best offensive seasons in WWU history,” said Suiter. “She was patient and drew her walks when teams would pitch around her…and when they did she did a lot of damage.”
Sellevold (Everett, WA/Cascade) has caught fire in the second half of the season to put together one of the best offensive seasons in program history. The two-way player (also pitches) is batting .401 (65-for-162) with 8 home runs, 12 doubles and a program-record 51 RBI. She has recorded a team-high 22 extra base hits to lead to 105 total bases, 2nd-best in WWU history (behind Benson’s 106). Over her last 22 games (since 4/2), Sellevold has combined to bat .455 (35-for-77) with 7 doubles, 2 triples, 7 home runs and 41 RBI (.870 SLG, .464 OBP). She also ranks in the WWU single-season record books in batting average (6th, .401), slugging percentage (3rd, .648), hits (3rd, 65), doubles (T10th, 12) and home runs (T5th, 8).
“What a great second half to the season for Makinlee and I am so proud of her,” added Suiter. “She really stepped up and lifted our team to take us to the next level and provided so many big hits for us down that stretch. And her pitching over the last month of the season really bolstered our staff and proved to be a key part of our late-season success.”
WWU was one of only three West Region programs to have three selections to the All-Region team, joining Cal State Monterey Bay and California Baptist. Richards now moves on to the Division II All-America ballot where the team will be announced on Wednesday, May 24 at the NCAA Division II National Championship banquet in Salem, Va.
Western (33-17) won the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Tournament last weekend to receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Division II Championships. The Vikings will face West Region top-seeded Cal State Monterey Bay (43-11) at 2:30 pm on Thursday at the Otter Sports Complex in Seaside, California. No. 4 seed Dixie State (39-12) will play No. 5 seed Sonoma State (36-18) in the first game of the regional at noon on Thursday.
This is the Vikings fourth trip to the NCAA Division II Tournament, and the first since 2011. WWU heads into the NCAA Tournament on an 11-game winning streak, the second-longest active winning streak in Division II, and won 18 of its final 22 games. The 33 wins are tied for 3rd-most in the 25-year history of the program.
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