Barnes and Franchi Earn First Team All-Northwest Conference Honors

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, ORE. -- Senior third baseman Molly Barnes (Salem, OR/Sprague HS) and sophomore right-handed pitcher/designated player Nikki Franchi (Los Gatos, CA/Saratoga HS) from Willamette University have been named First Team All-Northwest Conference for the 2007 season, as selected by the NWC head coaches. Willamette players Liz Gilgan (Jr., SS, Sherwood, OR/Sherwood HS) and Geneva Hale (Jr., 1B, Shoreline, WA/Shorecrest HS) were Second Team All-NWC selections, while LaShawna Holcomb (So., CF, Renton, WA/Hazen HS) earned Honorable Mention.

Overall, 16 players were named First Team All-NWC, while 16 players received Second Team All-NWC recognition. An additional 18 players were chosen for the Honorable Mention All-NWC list.

First Team All-Northwest Conference

Barnes concluded her Willamette career as a four-time First Team All-Conference selection. During the 2007 season, she led the Bearcats with a .427 batting average to rank fourth all-time at Willamette. She also topped this year’s team in hits (50), home runs (7), slugging percentage (.709) and on-base percentage (.477). On defense, she recorded 39 putouts and a team-high 68 assists. She set Willamette single season records for home runs and slugging percentage in 2007, after setting the school record for RBIs (32) in 2006.

During her career, Barnes played in 143 games with 141 starts to rank third in Willamette history in both categories. She achieved a career batting average of .362 to claim fourth place on WU’s all-time list.

Barnes set Bearcat career records for doubles (38), runs batted in (87), total bases (230) and walks (53). She also ranked second on the career list for slugging percentage (.534), hits (156), at bats (431), runs scored (84) and home runs (12). She finished third all-time at Willamette in career on-base percentage (.431).

Franchi was WU’s top pitcher with a 10-8 record and 144 strikeouts in 122 2/3 innings. She set Willamette records with her 144 strikeouts and with 8.22 strikeouts per seven innings pitched. The previous record for pitching strikeouts in a season was 101 by Brittney Tachara in 2005.

Franchi was named to the All-NWC Team as a utility player. In addition to her stellar pitching, she also hit .390 at the plate with a school record 15 doubles, plus one triple and two home runs. She led the team with 29 RBIs to rank third in Willamette history. She earned a total of 41 hits and scored 14 runs. She achieved a .610 slugging percentage and a .453 on-base percentage. It was Franchi’s first time on the All-NWC squad.

In two seasons at Willamette, Franchi has struck out 198 batters, while earning a combined record of 15-12 (.556). Her strikeout total ranks second on the Bearcats’ career list. She needs just 11 strikeouts to reach the WU record of 209, set by Tausha White from 1990-93. On offense, she has a career batting average of .379, with 55 hits in 145 at bats. She has scored 22 runs to go with 16 doubles and 38 RBIs.

Second Team All-Northwest Conference

Gilgan set a Willamette record with 39 runs scored in 2007. She hit .355 with 44 hits in 124 at bats. She was successful on 24 of 25 stolen bases. She pounded out seven doubles, three triples and two home runs. She finished the season strong by batting .405 in WU’s final 12 games. She earned two or more hits in 16 games, while joining Barnes as the only Willamette players to start all 37 contests. Gilgan also earned Second Team All-NWC honors in 2006.

In three seasons, Gilgan has moved into third place on the Bearcats’ all-time list with 76 runs scored and is sixth with 110 career hits. She ranks second in career stolen bases (65) and needs just two stolen bases to equal the school record of 67, set by Marcie Hagen from 2001-04. Gilgan has 71 career attempted steals, good for second all-time at WU and just three away from the record of 74, set by Hagen.

Hale blasted seven homers this season to tie Barnes for Willamette’s single season record. She also batted .303, hit six doubles, drove in 22 runs and ranked second on the team with a .629 slugging percentage. She led the Bearcats with 17 walks to rank second on the team’s all-time single season list. Defensively, she achieved a .983 fielding percentage, while leading the team with 167 putouts. Hale was named Second Team All-NWC for the second year in a row.

During her first three seasons at Willamette, Hale has set the school career record for home runs with 13. She owns a career batting average of .279 with 62 hits in 222 at bats. She has contributed 16 doubles and has walked 36 times. At first base, her defensive efforts have led to 333 career putouts to go with a .986 fielding percentage.

Honorable Mention All-Northwest Conference

Holcomb started 36 games, as she missed just one contest during the season. She hit .284 and ranked second on the squad with 24 runs scored. She earned 16 RBIs and hit seven doubles. She was successful on 10 of 11 stolen bases. On defense, she recorded 52 putouts and 12 assists with just two errors for a .970 fielding percentage. She played most of the season in center field, but saw action at second base late in the year due to injuries on the team. Holcomb was chosen Second Team All-NWC as a freshman in 2006.

Over the past two years, Holcomb has accumulated 74 hits, 43 runs, 39 RBIs, 13 doubles, and three homers. She has been successful on 21 of 22 stolen base attempts (.955). She has achieved 84 putouts, 13 assists and a .960 fielding percentage on defense.

NWC Special Awards

Linfield College junior second baseman Jenny Marshfield was named NWC Player of the Year. Linfied's Brittany Miller, a sophomore pitcher was chosen NWC Pitcher of the Year. Head Coach Jackson Vaughan of Linfield was named NWC Coach of the Year. The Wildcats won the NWC title with a 26-2 record and were 35-5 during the regular season.

Successful Season for Bearcats

Willamette concluded the 2007 season with a 20-17 overall record, including a 14-14 mark (4th place) in the Northwest Conference. The team achieved a winning record despite injuries to all but one player during the season.

Early in the season, before the injuries piled up, the Bearcats took second place at the prestigious National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division III Leadoff Classic in Panama City, Fla. Willamette went 5-1 during the tournament and scored 50 runs against some of the nation’s top NCAA Division III teams. Barnes, Franchi and Gilgan were named to the Leadoff Classic All-Tournament Team.

Head Coach Damian Williams completed his ninth season at Willamette with a 164-155 record (.514). He ended the year with a 61-45 record (.575) the past three seasons.

2007 All-Northwest Conference Softball Team

Coach of the Year - Jackson Vaughan, Linfield
Player of the Year - Jenny Marshall, Linfield
Pitcher of the Year - Brittany Miller, Linfield

FIRST TEAM
Infield:
Jenny Marshall, Linfield (Jr./Jr., Sherwood, Ore. - Sherwood)
Molly Barnes, Willamette (Sr., Salem, Ore. - Sprague)
Heather Case, Whitworth (Jr./Jr., Poulsbo, Wash. - North Kitsap)
Meredith Brunette, Linfield (Jr./Jr., Beaverton, Ore. - Southridge)
Amanda Attleberger, Linfield (Jr./Jr., Vancouver, Wash. - Columbia River)

Outfield:
Stephanie Rice, Linfield (Jr./Jr., Milwaukie, Ore. - Rex Putnam)
Halley Cey, Whitworth (Jr./Jr., Spokane, Wash. - St. Martins Univ.)
Theresa Tauscher, Pacific Lutheran (So./So., Auburn, Wash. - Auburn Riverside)
Lisa Smith, Linfield (Sr./Sr., Corvallis, Ore. - Crescent Valley)

Catchers:
Jen Loop, Linfield (Sr./Sr., The Dalles, Ore. - The Dalles)
Lindsay Davis, Whitworth (Sr./Sr., Lake Forest, Calif. - Laguna Hills)

Pitchers:
Brittany Miller, Linfield (So./So., Port Orchard, Wash. - South Kitsap)
Miranda McNealy, Pacific (Fr./Fr., Aloha, Ore. - Hillsboro)

Utility:
Erica Hancock, Linfield (Jr./Jr., Boardman, Ore. - Utah State)
Lacey Parry, Whitworth (Jr./Jr., Spokane, Wash. - CC of Spokane)
Nikki Franchi, Willamette (So., Los Gatos, Calif. - Saratoga)

SECOND TEAM
Infield:
Lindsay Fujita, Puget Sound (Sr., Honolulu, Hawaii - Punahou)
Liz Gilgan, Willamette (Jr., Sherwood, Ore. - Sherwood)
Geneva Hale, Willamette (Jr., Shoreline, Wash. - Shorecrest)
Kelly Nishitomi, Pacific (Fr./Fr., Kaneohe, Hawaii - Castle)
Brooke Fogwell, Pacific (Fr./Fr., Beaverton, Ore. - Southridge)

Outfield:
Kristen Croxford, Pacific (So./So., Klamath Falls, Ore. - Klamath Union)
Jessica Popiel, Linfield (Fr./Fr., Beavercreek, Ore. - Molalla)
Nikki Winkley, Puget Sound (Sr., Tumwater, Wash. - Clackamas CC)
Heather Walling, Pacific Lutheran (Jr./So., Bonney Lake, Wash. - Pacific Univ.)

Catchers:
Annie Buxton, Puget Sound (Sr., Lake Stevens, Wash. - Lake Stevens)
Caitlin Mastenbroek, Pacific (Jr./Jr., Scio, Ore. - Scio)

Pitchers:
Jessie La Plante, Whitworth (Jr./Jr., Rathdrum, Idaho - CC of Spokane)
Jessica Roberts, Puget Sound (Sr., Sumner, Wash. - Sumner)

Utility/DP:
Kayla Winkler, George Fox (Sr./Sr. McMinnville, Ore. - McMinnville)
Lacey Kerr, Whitworth (Fr./Fr., Mead, Wash. - Mt. Spokane)
Alana Schutt, Pacific Lutheran (Sr./Sr., Lynnwood, Wash. - Bellevue CC)

HONORABLE MENTION
IF - Victoria Raeburn, Puget Sound (So., Portland, Ore. - Gladstone)
IF - Kelli Ishii, Puget Sound (So., Aiea, Hawaii - Punahou)
IF - Kristin Larkins, Pacific (Fr./Fr., Forest Grove, Ore. - Forest Grove)
IF - Ashley Olson, George Fox (Fr./Fr., Silverton, Ore. - Silverton)
IF - Beth Kenck, Pacific Lutheran (Sr./Sr., Vancouver, Wash. - Skyview)
IF - Meghan Watson, Puget Sound (So., Brier, Wash. - Mountlake Terrace)
IF - Sarah DiSabatino, Lewis & Clark (Jr./Jr., Pleasanton, Calif. - Holy Names)
IF - Cristy Hatton, Lewis & Clark (So./So., Tigard, Ore. - Tigard)
OF - LaShawna Holcomb, Willamette (So., Renton, Wash. - Hazen)
OF - Jessica Mullins, Lewis & Clark (Fr./Fr., Randle, Wash. - White Pass)
OF - Emily Strawn, Lewis & Clark (Sr./Sr., Palo Alto, Calif - Woodside Priory)
C - Elizabeth Murrieta, Lewis & Clark (Sr./Sr., Prescott Valley, Ariz. - Bradshaw Mountain)
UT - Megan Aucutt, Lewis & Clark (Fr./Fr., Bellingham, Wash. - Bellingham)
UT - Kerstyn Tsuruda, George Fox (Jr./So., Waimanalo, Hawai'i - Kalaheo)
P - Andrea Bansen, Pacific (Jr./Jr., Yamhill, Ore. - Yamhill-Carlton)
P - Adrian Herlache, Puget Sound (Sr., Sierra Madre, Calif. - Sacred Heart)
P - Roxanne Rittmaster, Lewis & Clark (Sr./Sr., San Ramon, Calif. - California)
UT - Nikki Morrison, George Fox (Sr./Sr., Salem, Ore. - Seattle Pacific Univ.)

Molly Barnes was named First Team All-Northwest Conference for the fourth season in a row.

Molly Barnes was named First Team All-Northwest Conference for the fourth season in a row.