STARKVILLE, Miss. - Two New Mexico State softball team players, senior Hoku Nohara and junior Tiare Jennings, earned 2011 Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I All-Region teams honors from the National Fastpitch Coaches Association this week. Nohara earned first team honors and Jennings was placed on the second team.
The all-region teams were chosen by NFCA member coaches from each region, and all the honorees will now be eligible for selection to the Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-America first, second or third teams. The NFCA Division I All-America teams will be announced at 4 p.m. CDT on Wednesday, June 1.
It marks the second straight NFCA First Team honor for Aggie all-time home run leader Nohara. She leads the nation in home runs (23) and home runs per game (.43) as of the last NCAA stat release May 15. Just as impressive, Nohara is second in the country for walks (1.15), slugging percentage (1.015) and third for on-base percentage (.612). Her career home run total of 63 now stands as the all-time home run record in the WAC.
"We are very proud of Hoku," said head coach Kathy Rodolph. "She has committed herself to her hitting and has worked very hard on a tough mental approach at the plate. She was absolutely locked in this year and did a great job for us."
The honor also marks Jennings' second NFCA All-Region honor after earning a nod after her freshman campaign in 2009. This season leads the WAC with 225 plate appearances this year. She ranks in the top four among eight other league statistical categories including home runs (15 - T-No. 3), RBI (56 - No. 2), on-base percentage (.524 - No. 3), walks (53 - No. 2), total bases (116 - No. 2), runs scored (58 - No. 2), slugging percentage (.703 - No. 4), batting average (.370 - No. 4) and hits (61 - No. 4). In each of those categories she stands second or third on the team this season.
"We are very proud of Tiare and the hard work she has put into her hitting this season," said associate head coach Cat Heifner. "She is seeing the dividends from that effort benefit our team immensely this year."
Nohara, Jennings and their Aggie teammates open the NCAA Tucson Regional against Texas Tech (40-14) of the Big XII at 5 p.m. MT Friday, May 20, against Texas Tech at the Tucson Regional hosted by the University of Arizona Hillenbrand Stadium. The host Wildcats (40-16), the No. 8 national seed overall, will battle Ivy League champion Harvard (36-14) in the nightcap.
An Aggie win Friday keeps NM State in the winner's bracket with its next game slated for Saturday's opener. If the Aggies stumble Friday evening they would play later that same day in the regional's first elimination game.
All games will be called live over the air on KSNM 570 AM and over AggieAccess by Kyle Doperalski of the Aggie Sports Radio Network. Aggie faithful can also tune into a live video webstream of the game at no cost with ambient crowd noise by clicking the live video link for the game on ArizonaWildcats.com. Live stats are also available during the game and linked on NMStateSports.com.
NFCA West Region
Pos. Name School
P Dallas Escobedo Arizona State
P Kenzie Fowler Arizona
C Kaylyn Castillo Arizona State
1B Hoku Nohara New Mexico State
2B Jenna Rich Stanford
3B Brigette Del Ponte Arizona
SS Ashley Hansen Stanford
OF Brittany Lastrapes Arizona
OF Lauren Schutzler Arizona
OF Sarah Hassman Stanford
UT/P Teagan Gerhart Stanford
UT/Non-P Andrea Harrison UCLA
Pos. Name School
P Stephanie Ricketts Hawai'i
P Erin Jones-Wesley Long Beach State
C Jessica Garcia New Mexico
1B Justeen Maeva San Diego State
2B Ashli Holland UNLV
3B Krista Donnenwirth Arizona State
SS Katelyn Boyd Arizona State
SS Jessica Iwata Hawai'i
OF Annie Lockwood Arizona State
OF Talor Haro Arizona State
OF Tiare Jennings New Mexico State
UT/P Michelle Moses Fresno State
UT/Non-P Kelly Sarginson Loyola Marymount