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April 29, 2011 > Winger gets POW honors

Winger gets POW honors

Submitted by Kelly Hayes, CSUEB Sports Info Director
Photo courtesy of CSUEB Softball

Following a stellar week to cap her collegiate softball career, Cal State East Bay softball player Kassandra Winger was named Worth/CCAA Player of the Week on Monday, April 25. Winger, a senior second baseman, was an unstoppable force in four games last week and helped the Pioneers upset No. 10 UC San Diego in her final doubleheader in the East Bay uniform on Saturday, April 23.

A Livermore native, Winger shined in the final week of the season, leading the team with a .583 batting average and 1.083 slugging percentage. Winger reached base in 64.3 percent of her plate appearances in the leadoff spot last week, scoring a team-leading four runs. Winger also added a homerun and two RBIs during the Pioneers 1-3 week that also included one-run and extra-inning losses to the Tritons.

In Friday's 2-1 loss to UCSD, Winger led the Pioneers at the plate, going 2-3 with two doubles. She followed up that performance with a stellar senior day showing, finishing the Saturday doubleheader with six hits in seven at-bats, three runs, two RBIs, a double, homerun and walk.

In helping East Bay to a 11-3, eight-run rule victory over the Tritons in game one, Winger reached base in the leadoff spot in three of her four plate appearances, scoring three times. One run came on her sixth homerun of the season, a two-run blast in the second inning that proved to be the eventual game-winning hit for East Bay. The homerun was one of four for the Pioneers in the game, setting a new season high and tying a program record for homers in a game.

Winger was at it again in the final game of her career, a pitchers' duel that went eight innings before UC San Diego broke up a 1-1 tie in the ninth to post a 4-1 win. The senior finished 3-4 at the plate with her 10th double of the season to cap a season that saw her lead East Bay's regular starters with a .325 batting average, 27 runs and .419 on-base percentage.

Winger also finished the week with no errors and posted 14 putouts and an assist in 15 chances in 29 innings at second base. She finished the season with just five errors and 112 putouts in over 200 chances and helped turn five double plays at second during her senior campaign.

Winger joins junior catcher Taylor Neumann as the second Pioneer player to earn Worth/CCAA Player of the Week honors this season. Neumann collected East Bay's first award - its first since joining the CCAA last season - on March 14.

CSUEB finished the season with a 24-27 overall record and a 14-22 mark in CCAA play to finish eighth out of 10 conference teams. East Bay posted 10 more wins than last season, including an impressive nine more conference victories.

Though it loses the four seniors to graduation, the Lady Pioneers will return 15 players from this year's squad, including Neumann, who led the team in RBIs, Jamie Yaller, who shared the team lead in homeruns with seven, and both Talia Ferrari and Kelly Lowe, who each tallied 10 victories on the mound in 2011.

Three Lady Pioneers earn All-WWPA honors

Three Cal State East Bay water polo players were named to the All-WWPA teams on Wednesday, April 27. Sophomore Claire Pierce led the Pioneers' three honorees, earning a First-Team All-WWPA selection, while junior goalie Jayme Pekarske was named to the Honorable Mention Team and freshman utility Sarah Grunberger earned a spot on the All-Freshman Team.

Pierce earned her second straight All-WWPA nod after leading the Pioneers with 80 goals and 65 steals during the 2011 regular season. The Perth, Australia, native led the conference in steals and ranked third in goals while drawing over 80 ejections to lead the team. Last year's Newcomer of the Year winner suffered no sophomore slump as she was fifth in the nation in goals and ninth in steals after helping Cal State East Bay post the second-best overall record in the conference with six wins over Division I foes. Pierce has now scored 170 goals in just two seasons as a Pioneer, moving her into second on the all-time career goals list behind teammate Liz Warren.

Pekarske, a junior transfer, had an outstanding season in the cage for East Bay, posting 324 saves to rank third in the WWPA. During the 2011 campaign, Pekarske held opponents to seven or fewer goals in 14 games, including six of the last eight contests to finish the regular season. The Riverside native ranked third in the conference with a 7.59 goals against average and gave up a season-low of three goals in a 20-3 victory over Vanguard on April 9. Pekarske was also fourth on the team with 44 steals.

A native of Sydney, Australia, Grunberger had a breakout season for the Pioneers, leading the team, conference and nation in assists with 68, which currently ranks third in the single-season record book for East Bay. Grunberger also added 46 goals and 40 steals to rank second and fifth on the team, respectively. Grunberger single-handedly posted nearly a quarter of the team's total assists and paired with fellow Aussie Pierce to score 126 of the Pioneers' 334 goals.

Loyola Marymount junior Kimberly Benedetti earned Player of the Year honors while Santa Clara freshman Claire Eadington was named Newcomer of the Year. LMU's Kyle Witt collected Coach of the Year honors after guiding the Lions to an undefeated conference record and the No. 1 seed in the WWPA Tournament.

Benedetti, teammate Casey Flacks, UC San Diego senior Hanalei Crowell, Santa Clara senior Taylor Harkins, Colorado State senior Ali Pavlik and Cal State Bakersfield sophomore goalie Megan Pezzolla all joined Pierce on the First-Team All-WWPA. Each of the 2011 honorees earned first team recognition for the first time.

Cal State East Bay will play host to the WWPA Championship this weekend - Friday, April 29, through Sunday, May 1, at Chabot College in Hayward - and enters the tournament as the No. 5 seed. The Pioneers will meet fourth-seeded Colorado State in the first round for the second straight year after falling to the Rams in an upset as the No. 3 seed last season. East Bay and CSU are set for a 10:30 a.m. start on Friday. For the complete tournament schedule, log on to the TCV Sports website,

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