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May 1, 2012

Hagensen Heads List of Nine Lutes on All-NWC Team

Stacey Hagensen has earned Northwest Conference Pitcher of the Year honors for the second consecutive season and headlines a list of nine Pacific Lutheran players to earn 2012 All-NWC Softball Team recognition.

Hagensen (Bellevue, Wash. / Newport HS) was named to the all-conference first team as a pitcher for the second straight year after being selected as an outfielder in 2010. In 2009, Hagensen was a second team pick as an outfielder.

This season, Hagensen pitched a two-hit shutout in PLU's 3-0 victory at No. 1-ranked Linfield as the Lutes won the NWC tournament title and with it a berth in NCAA Division III postseason play. Hagensen has compiled a 20-5 record, a 1.11 earned run average, and has walked just 15 while striking out 100 in 158 1/3 innings. She has 17 complete games and eight shutouts in 23 starts while also contributing four saves this season. Opponents are hitting just .212 against Hagensen, who late in the year pitched 51 consecutive innings without allowing a walk.

The team's starting rightfielder when not pitching, Hagensen carries a .380 batting average with five home runs, 33 runs batted in, a team-best 46 runs and nine steals.

Joining Hagensen on the first team are sophomore shortstop Lindsey Matsunaga (Kaneohe, Hawaii / Kaimuki HS), junior outfielder Montessa Califano (Renton, Wash. / LIberty HS), and junior utility/designated player Kaaren Hatlen (Woodinville, Wash. / Woodinville HS).

PLU players named to the second team are junior first baseman Amanda Hall (Kennewick, Wash. / Kennewick HS), senior outfielder Amanda Goings (Puyallup, Wash. / Puyallup HS), and sophomore catcher Katie Lowery (Kennewick, Wash. / Southridge HS).

Honorable mention selections are junior infielder Haley Harshaw (Vancouver, Wash. / Columbia River HS), and junior second baseman Glenelle Nitta (Mililani, Hawaii / Mililani HS).

Matsunaga is a first team choice for the second consecutive year. Forming an outstanding double play combination with Nitta, Matsunaga had a solid defensive year as the leader of the PLU infield. She has a .263 batting average and supplied power with six homers while also driving in 33 runs.

Califano, who missed most of last season due to injury, is a versatile outfielder who also had an outstanding season at the plate. She has a .370 batting average, third best on the team, and leads the squad with three triples. Califano is among the toughest players in Division III softball to strike out as she has fanned just three times in 145 at bats. She is a first team selection for the initial time after earning honorable mention accord in 2010.

Hatlen repeats as All-NWC first team utility/designated player after having landed second team honors in 2010. The team's No. 2 pitcher, Hatlen carries a 13-4 record while in the circle, and she is also the team leader in many offensive categories. Hatlen is hitting .449 with 12 doubles, nine home runs, and 51 runs batted in, and teams often pitch around her as evidenced by her team-high 30 walks.

Hall, a transfer from Columbia Basin College, made the first base position her own with a .368 batting average, 12 doubles, four homers and 36 runs batted in. She has committed just one error in 292 chances for a .997 fielding percentage.

Goings, a first team outfielder in 2011 after transferring from Montana State Billings, leads the Lutes wtih 22 steals in 24 attempts. She has a .323 average and is second on the team with 39 runs scored.

Lowery is recognized by the conference coaches for the first time after a breakthrough season that shows her with a .320 average and 24 runs batted in while also playing steady defense behind the plate. She has started in 42 of PLU's 47 games.

Harshaw, who has started 37 games this season at third base, is hitting .277 with two homers and 21 runs batted in. She was an honorable mention choice in 2011.

Nitta, a first team pick in 2011, is hitting .278 with two homers and an outstanding .975 fielding percentage this season. She has helped the Lutes to an impressive 22 double plays and .969 team fielding percentage, both marks that rank among the top 13 in Division III softball.

These nine players, their teammates and coaches will find out on Monday, May 7, where and who they will play in one of eight Division III regional tournaments to be played at campus sites across the country. Six regional sites will have eight teams competing to advance while seven teams will compete at one regional site and six teams will compete at another regional site. The eight-team regionals will be held May 10-14, and the six- and seven-team regionals will be held May 11-14. All regional sites will use a double-elimination format.

The finals, hosted by the City of Salem and the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, will be held May 18-22 at the Moyer Complex in Salem, Va.

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