Jayhawk Softball Announces 2012 Team Awards

May 14, 2012

2012 Kansas Softball Team Awards
Junior Maggie Hull listens as head coach Megan Smith reads the reasons behind Hull’s Team MVP award.
May 13, 2012
Most Valuable Player Maggie Hull
Pitcher of the Year Alicia Pille
Rookie of the Year Maddie Stein
Most Improved Player Elsa Moyer
Big Jay Award Alex Jones

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Big 12 Conference batting leader Maggie Hull highlighted the Kansas softball team’s list of 2012 awards, announced by head coach Megan Smith on Sunday evening.

Kansas finished the season at 31-20 overall and 6-17 in the Big 12 Conference, KU’s most wins in the league since the 2009 season, for eighth place. The Jayhawks’ .288 batting average marked the second-highest average in team history (.311, 1985), and tied for third in the league.

After dinner at a team favorite in Lawrence, the team gathered in the softball locker room while Smith brought each award recipient to the front of the room to highlight each player’s respective 2012 accomplishments.

Team MVP – Maggie Hull (Jr., OF, Lawrence, Kan.)
– Finished the season as the Big 12 batting leader with her .409 average.
– Her .409 batting average is the highest for a single season in Kansas softball history, breaking a Jayhawk record that was set in 1979 (previously Jill Larson, .400).
– Crossed the plate 46 times, only one other player at KU has scored that many times in a season (Rose Rader, 1980).
– Also led the conference with 67 hits, seventh-most in KU history.
– Epitome of clutch – Maggie hit .417 with an .875 slugging percentage, 13 RBIs and three home runs with two outs and RISP this season.
– One of two players (Rosie Hull) to be recognized nationally both on the field and in the classroom as a Capital One Academic All-District team member.

Pitcher of the Year – Alicia Pille (Fr., P, Royse City, Texas)
– Made immediate impact on the staff, as KU’s 3.27 combined ERA is the lowest since Coach Smith’s arrival.
– On her own, Pille plowed through KU’s record books. Her 17 wins this season tie her for third-most among KU rookies and are the most for a KU pitcher since 2008.
– In her first collegiate season, she has eight shutouts to her credit. The last Kansas pitcher to blank that many teams in a season was Kassie Humphreys in 2006.
Three of those shutouts were one-hitters.
– Only one pitcher in the Big 12 (TAMU’s Mel Dumezich) appeared in more regular-season games than Pille. She led the conference in saves and ranked in the top-10 in wins, starts, innings pitched and strikeouts. Her 171 strikeouts are more than KU’s leaders from the past two seasons combined and are the most by a KU freshman since 2004.
– From Feb. 25 – March 18, Pille kicked off a remarkable 30.2-straight innings without allowing an earned run.

Rookie of the Year – Maddie Stein (Fr., UTL, El Reno, Okla.)
– Stein prepared herself so thoroughly that when her starting break came, she hit the ground sprinting. Only Maggie Hull – the Big 12’s leading hitter – finished with a higher batting average than Stein’s .371 mark.
– Unfazed by the elite pitchers she faced in conference play, Stein hit .358 with three doubles, three homers and eight RBIs in Big 12 games.
– No Jayhawk started in more positions this year – Stein made starts at first base, catcher, designated player and right field.
– Stein posted a highlight reel performance against Iowa State on April 21. In game two against the Cyclones, Stein had a career day, hitting her first and second career homers, racking up four RBIs. She almost had bomb number three in the bottom of the seventh, but it fell in for a double.
– With runners on and two outs this year, there was no one better than Stein. She hit .500 with three doubles in those 28 occasions.

Most Improved Player – Elsa Moyer (So., OF, Kirkland, Wash.)
– Asked to fill one of the most crucial roles on the field, Moyer won the starting centerfielder spot with unmatched speed, range and a cannon for an arm.
– Led the Jayhawks with five outfield assists, including a run-saving play at the plate in KU’s comeback victory against top-25 Texas Tech on Senior Day.
– Adjusted flawlessly from the nine spot to leadoff hitter in the last nine games of the regular season, reaching base in all but two of those games.
– After appearing 19 times last season, Moyer made 38 starts in center in 2012 and matched her defensive excellence with a .295 batting average, six stolen bases and 23 runs scored.

Big Jay Award – Alex Jones (Jr., OF/P, Enid, Okla.)
– A two-year starter, Jones had her junior season cut short before it even started. Jones tore her ACL in the Jayhawks’ fall season, forcing her to undergo surgery and take a medical redshirt.
– Faced with adversity, Jones began rehab as soon as possible, always bringing a positive attitude to an otherwise long and painful process.
– More notably, despite the emotional and physical pain, Jones became a vital part of the team from the dugout. She offered continual advice to the Jayhawk outfielders who filled in her centerfield spot.
– Throughout the season, Jones could always be found with a clipboard, tracking stats for the coaching staff and always being the first to congratulate her teammates.

Kansas did not receive an NCAA Regional Tournament bid when the postseason bracket was announced Sunday evening on ESPNU. With a No. 44 RPI, Kansas was the highest-ranked RPI team with a winning record to not earn a tournament berth. The Jayhawks concluded the 2012 season with a 31-20 record; KU’s second-straight 30-win season.

The All-Big 12 Conference awards will be announced Tuesday afternoon by the league office.