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Four softball players make history as first all-conference honorees


Junior Sara Holdridge was one of four Pioneer softball players to be honored by the conference, earning First Team All-CCAA honors. (Photo: John Hefti)

  • April 25, 2012

On the heels of a successful 2012 campaign, the Cal State East Bay softball team continued to make history on Wednesday when four players were named to the All-CCAA Teams. Coming off its first 30-win season since 2000 and setting a new team records for homeruns, while finishing sixth in the league, the Pioneers saw Taylor Neumann and Sara Holdridge earn All-CCAA First Team recognition, while Talia Ferrari garnered a second team selection and Devin Salmones claimed honorable mention accolades. With the honors, the four become the first East Bay softball players to make an appearance on the all-conference teams since joining the CCAA in 2009-10.

Read the complete All-CCAA release

A two-time CCAA Player of the Week selection during her two-year Pioneer career, Neumann was tagged as the top catcher in the conference after leading the league and ranking among the top homerun hitters in Division II this season. The Moorpark native finished the season with 16 homers, setting a new single-season program record and bringing her career total to 23 to smash the previous record of 17 set by Jen King (2003-06). In addition, Neumann hit .314, ranking third on the team with 42 RBI and fourth in runs with 33. Starting every game behind the plate for East Bay, Neumann threw out nearly 40 percent of runners attempting to steal against her, gunning down 21 on the basepaths this year.

With the stellar overall numbers, it’s hard to believe that Neumann was even better during conference play. Her .373 average against CCAA opponents led the team and ranked seventh in the league, while 13 of her 16 homeruns came during conference play. Neumann also led the league, slugging at a .794 clip during the CCAA campaign and ranked sixth in on-base percentage in 36 conference games.

An at-large selection on the All-CCAA First Team, Holdridge finished the season as one of the top designated players in the league. The junior was second on the team in batting, hitting .365, while slugging at a .723 clip to lead the team and rank fourth in the conference. All told, Holdridge drove in 45 runs to rank second on the squad, blasting a career-high 13 homers to move into second all-time at Cal State East Bay. The Murrieta product also racked up 10 doubles and 17 walks on the year, while leading the team with six sacrifice flies.

Like Neumann, Holdridge was at her best against CCAA foes, driving in 31 runs and hitting 10 homers during league play, both of which rank in the top 10 in the conference. The junior also collected her first CCAA Player of the Week honors on Feb. 13 after hitting .750, driving in eight runs and hitting three homeruns to help the Pioneers open the CCAA season with a 3-1 series win over SF State.

The Pioneers’ top pitcher throughout the 2012 season, Ferrari earned an at-large selection to the All-CCAA second team after racking up 11 wins this year. Ferrari posted an 11-6 record in the circle for East Bay, making a team-leading 31 appearances with 27 starts, tossing 141.2 innings. The Glendora product ranked among the conference’s top 10 pitchers in wins, innings pitched, strikeouts, appearances and complete games during league play. In addition, Ferrari was a key asset in the outfield and at the plate, batting .313 on the year with 14 RBI and 15 runs scored, along with six doubles and three stolen bases.

The senior finished her two-year career at East Bay tied for eighth all-time in both wins and innings pitched. During the 2012 campaign, Ferrari also became the first Pioneer to collect Mizuno Tournament of Champions All-Tournament Team honors after going 3-0 in the circle with a 1.27 earned run average and also hitting .333 with four runs and three RBI against some of the top teams in the West Region.

An honorable mention selection, Salmones was a close second to Neumann with 15 homeruns this season, finishing third in the CCAA. The Whittier native hit .340 and scored 34 runs to finish third in both categories among the regular starters, while her 35 RBI ranked fourth on the team. One of East Bay’s most patient hitters, Salmones posted 22 walks and the third-best on-base percentage on the team. The senior hit 11 of her homeruns during CCAA play to rank third in the league and ranked fifth in the league with a .696 slugging percentage, driving in 27 runs during the 36 conference games.

The quartet of honorees helped guide East Bay to a 31-24 overall record and a 17-19 mark in CCAA play, both bests since the Pioneers joined the conference and returned to Division II in 2009-10. The trio of Neumann, Holdridge and Salmones contributed 54 of the team’s 62 homers, doubling the previous team season record of 31, set in 2011. This season the Pioneers also claimed their best-ever finish at the Mizuno Tournament of Champions in March, placing sixth in a field of 24 teams from the West Region. East Bay also posted three wins over nationally ranked opponents this season, all of which came against teams that will play in this weekend’s CCAA Tournament.

Chico State catcher Hailey Stockman claimed CCAA Most Valuable Player honors, while Sonoma State’s Samantha Lipperd collected Pitcher of the Year accolades. Cal State Monterey Bay’s Cori Reinhardt took home the Freshman of the Year award, while Cal State Dominguez Hills grabbed both the Newcomer of the Year honors for Christina Chavez and Coach of the Year recognition for Jim Maier. UC San Diego and Chico State both earned six All-CCAA selections to lead all teams.

Neumann, Holdridge, Ferrari and Salmones join 24 other Cal State East Bay student-athletes who have earned all-conference recognition since the program returned to Division II competition three years ago. The four players give East Bay 13 student-athletes who have been honored by their conferences this year including volleyball players Leslie Ray and Kitona Offord, women’s soccer players Eugenie Foote and Shianna Falk, men’s soccer player Javier Martin, men’s basketball players Mark Samuels and Jacari Whitfield, women’s basketball players Marlene MacMillan and Micah Walker and water polo players Claire Pierce, Jayme Pekarske and Erica Crain. 

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