Sara Holdridge was honored as the best designated player in the West Region and is eligible to earn a spot on the 2012 Daktronics Division II All-America Team. (Photo: John Hefti)
The honors continue to roll in for Cal State East Bay softball players Sara Holdridge and Taylor Neumann, who were both named to the 2012 Daktronics Division II All-West Region Teams on Tuesday. Holdridge was picked as the top designated player in the region, garnering first team recognition, while Neumann earned a second team nod at catcher. Both players made history as the first East Bay softball players to earn such an honor since the program returned to Division II competition in 2009-10.
Holdridge finished the 2012 campaign second on the team in batting, hitting .365, while slugging at a .723 clip to lead the squad and rank fourth in the conference. Also an at-large selection on the All-CCAA First Team, Holdridge finished the season as one of the top designated players in the league. 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. She also posted up 10 doubles and 17 walks on the year, while leading the team with six sacrifice flies.
The Murrieta native had stellar overall numbers but was at her best against CCAA opponents, driving in 31 runs and hitting 10 homers during league play, both of which ranked in the top 10 in the conference. Holdridge 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. With the first-team selection, Holdridge also becomes eligible for the 2012 Daktronics All-America Team to be announced May 15.
Neumann 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). The senior also hit .314, ranking third on the team with 42 RBI and fourth in runs with 33. Twice tagged as CCAA Player of the Week during her two-year Pioneer career, Neumann was also a First-Team All-CCAA honoree, leading the league and ranking among the top homerun hitters in Division II this season. Behind the plate, Neumann threw out nearly 40 percent of runners attempting to steal against her, gunning down 21 on the basepaths this year.
Like Holdridge, 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 the league campaign. The Moorpark native also led the league, slugging at a .794 clip during the CCAA campaign and ranked sixth in on-base percentage in 36 conference games.
Together, Neumann and Holdridge contributed 29 of the team’s 62 homers, doubling the previous team season record of 31, set in 2011. The duo also 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. In addition, the Pioneers posted three wins over nationally ranked opponents this season and 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.
Holdridge was one of 12 CCAA honorees on the 13-player West Region First Team, joining West Region Player of the Year Cori Reinhardt from Cal State Monterey Bay, who gave the Otters three first-team selections, and West Region Pitcher of the Year Samantha Lipperd of Sonoma State, as well as two players each from Chico State, UC San Diego and Cal State Dominguez Hills and one player from Humboldt State. Neumann joined eight other CCAA players on the Second Team, including a pair of Wildcats.
Holdridge and Neumann join six other Cal State East Bay student-athletes who have earned all-region honors since the program returned to Division II three years ago. The pair gives East Bay four student-athletes who have been named to All-Region teams this year joining volleyball player Kitona Offord and women’s soccer player Eugenie Foote.