Softball team earns conference title, player and coach win top award

Kassidy Butler

Kassidy Butler was named WHAC Player of the Year shortly after the team clinched a share of its first-ever WHAC regular season title.

The University of Michigan-Dearborn softball team made university history this past week—not once, not twice, but three times.

The team clinched a share of the regular season Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) title on April 29—the first conference title for the softball team and a first for any Wolverine team since the school joined the WHAC in 2004.

And then, adding to the Go Blue! momentum, sophomore Kassidy Butler was named WHAC Player of the Year and Head Coach Vince Alessandrini was named the league’s Coach of the Year.

Butler, who entered the WHAC post-season tournament with a league-high .467 batting average with nine home runs and 38 runs batted in (RBIs), while scoring 27 runs and slugging .826, is the first person at UM-Dearborn to receive an award of this kind. She was also named to the All-WHAC First Team.

Alessandrini, in his first year with Wolverine softball, is the first UM-Dearborn coach in any sport to receive such an award.

In addition to the milestone accolades, several players were named to WHAC All-Teams.

Joining Butler on All-WHAC First Team are senior Taylor Moceri, junior Gina Verduzco and sophomore Riley Hison

Moceri, who was also named to the league’s All-Defensive Team, is batting .408 with 51 hits, 10 doubles, five triples, four home runs and 28 RBIs, while scoring a team-high 37 runs and stealing seven bases. Verduzco, who led the Wolverine pitching staff this season, enters the postseason with a record of 13-5 and a 2.42 earned-run average, along with 114 strikeouts in 115.2 innings pitched. Hison has been a consistent force at the plate for the Wolverines in 2017. She is second on the team in batting with a .409 average, while racking up 26 runs scored and five doubles.

The All-WHAC Second Team includes junior Jordan Ewald and senior Kylie Hill. Ewald closed the regular season with a .352 batting average with 11 doubles, six home runs and 28 RBIs. Hill is batting .398 with nine doubles, one home run and 19 RBIs.

The Wolverines landed three on the All-Academic Team, including Verduzco, Ewald and sophomore Kelly O’Hara.

The Wolverines conclude the regular season with a record of 27-8 and 16-4 in the WHAC. The team moves on to the WHAC Tournament, starting at 6 p.m. today at Lourdes University in Sylvania, Ohio. The Wolverines open the tournament as the No. 3 seed against No. 6 Concordia University.

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