Winslow Earns Unanimous First Team All-NWC Honors

After Reaching Conference Tournament, Seven Bearcats Receive NWC Recognition

By Brandon Chinn, Athletics Communications Writer

SALEM, ORE. -- After a successful season in which the Bearcats reached the Northwest Conference Tournament, seven members of the Willamette University softball team have been named to the 2014 NWC All-Conference team.

Heather Winslow (Jr. 1B, Oregon City, OR/Oregon City HS) was a unanimous First Team All-NWC selection, while Kayla Rieger (Jr., OF, Anacortes, WA/Anacortes HS/Adelphi Univ.) and Erin Norris (Jr., INF, Salem, OR/South Salem HS) were given Second Team honors.

Ashley Pender (So., INF, Reno, NV/North Valleys HS), Jenna King (Jr., OF, Camarillo, CA/Adolfo Camarillo HS), Amanda Absher (Jr., C, Elk Grove, CA/Franklin HS) and Jade Smith (Fr., P, Chico, CA/Chico HS) all received Honorable Mention recognition.

The Bearcats wrapped up the 2014 season with an 18-22 overall record, including 14-14 in NWC play. 

Willamette clinched its spot in the four-team NWC Tournament after defeating #6 Linfield College 10-2 on April 13.

First Team All-NWC

Heather Winslow

Heather Winslow (Jr., 1B) earned First Team All-NWC honors after a monstrous season at the plate. Starting in all 40 games for Willamette, Winslow posted a team-high .420 batting average. Out of her 50 hits on the season, she belted 12 doubles, two triples and two home runs. 

Along with leading the team in hits, Winslow also ranked atop Willamette's statistical charts in slugging percentage (.605), on-base percentage (.543), stolen bases (25) and runs scored (39). She ranked third on the team with 22 runs batted in.

In conference games she ranked first in the NWC in slugging percentage (.709) and on-base percentage (.610), while holding second place with a .481 batting average. She tied for third in NWC action with 11 doubles and was fourth with 27 runs scored.

This is Winslow's second time receiving All-NWC honors. She was selected Second Team All-NWC as a freshman in 2012 after hitting .345 with five homers. For her career, Winslow is batting .347 (101 for 291) at Willamette. She's pounded out eight home runs and driven in 54 runs.

Second Team All-NWC

Erin Norris

Erin Norris (Jr., INF) provided the Bearcats with a power bat in the middle of the batting order. Norris led the team with five home runs and notched a .486 slugging percentage. She started all 40 games and earned a .288 batting average.

She also led the team in walks (20), and stole eight bases in nine opportunities.

For her career, Norris has played in 85 games for Willamette. She is a .278 hitter with six homers, 17 doubles and 43 RBIs.

Kayle Rieger

Kayla Rieger (Jr., OF) concluded her first season as a Bearcat with a .312 average in 93 at bats after transferring from Adelphi University in New York.

Rieger hit five doubles and a triple. She finished the season third on the team in stolen bases (15). She also amassed 35 putouts and two assists in the outfield without making an error. She played in 34 games with 32 starts.

Honorable Mention All-NWC

Amanda Absher

Amanda Absher (Jr., C) was named Honorable Mention All-NWC after enjoying her best season as a member of the Willamette softball team. While playing in 34 games, she received 32 starts and hit .314 with six doubles, two triples and two home runs. 

She slugged .500 and recorded 13 walks and 10 hit by pitches on her way to a .459 on-base percentage.

Absher has totaled 44 hits in three seasons as a Bearcat. She's hit seven homers and driven in 37 runs in her 71 games played. She has achieved a .297 career batting average.

Jenna King

Jenna King (Jr., OF) was very consistent at the plate this year, striking out just twice in 119 at bats. She finished the 2014 season with a .261 batting average and a .318 on-base percentage. She scored 16 runs in 37 games with 36 starts.

On the base paths, King successfully went 18 for 18 on stolen bases. During her three years at WU, she has totaled 32 stolen bases on 37 attempts, to go along with a .289 batting average. She has played in 90 games with 76 career starts.

King was named Second Team All-NWC in 2013 after accumulating a .340 batting average.

Ashley Pender

Ashley Pender (So., 2B) followed up a very impressive freshman season with another dominant year in 2014. She played in all 40 games (39 starts), finishing second on the team with a .375 batting average. She was a major run producer for the Bearcats this season, leading the team and ranking fifth in the NWC with 35 RBIs.

Pender has been selected All-NWC for the second consecutive year. She earned First Team honors as a freshman in 2013, when she batted 359 with 28 runs and 31 RBIs. In two seasons with the Bearcats, she owns a .367 batting average, has scored 52 runs and has earned 66 RBIs and six homers.

Jade Smith

Jade Smith (Fr., P) burst onto the scene as a successful freshman pitcher in 2014. She started a total of 18 games in the circle this spring, and registered a 12-7 record with a  2.23 earned run average.

She pitched 13 complete games, including a seven-inning shutout against Pacific University in a 5-0 win on March 16. Smith illustrated great command of the strike zone. In 132 innings pitched, she struck out 50 opposing hitters while surrendering 24 walks.

Smith is one of seven freshmen who received All-NWC honors this season.

2014 All-NWC
Softball Team
Heather Winslow was a unanimous First Team All-NWC selection. She hit 12 doubles and led the team with a .420 batting average.

Heather Winslow was a unanimous First Team All-NWC selection. She hit 12 doubles and led the team with a .420 batting average.