San Antonio – The St. Mary’s softball team received some good news on the eve of the Heartland Conference Softball Tournament.
Ten Lady Rattlers earned All-Heartland Conference honors, as announced on Wednesday, including first-team selection Emily Brittain, who was also named the Heartland’s Pitcher of the Year and Freshman of the Year.
In addition, first baseman Jared Gonzalez (So., San Antonio) was named the Heartland Conference Co-Newcomer of the Year, while legendary coach Donna Fields was named the league’s Coach of the Year in a season that saw her win her 600th game and 10th Heartland Conference title in 11 seasons.
Brittain, a freshman from Corpus Christi, Texas, was one of four St. Mary’s players named to the First Team. The other three were Gonzalez, third baseman Chelsea Wenske (Sr., Victoria, Texas) and outfielder Lauren Miller (Sr., Baytown, Texas).
Rounding out the second team were catcher Kelly Baker (Sr., Arlington, Texas), second baseman Sarah Perez (So., San Marcos, Texas), shortstop Richelle Morales (Jr., San Antonio), outfielder Shelly Lee (So., San Antonio), outfielder Katie Nichols (So., San Marcos) and pitcher Maricela Bissaro (Fr., San Antonio).
The Rattlers (33-17 overall), who shared the conference’s regular-season title with Texas A&M International with a 12-3 mark, will open up the Heartland Conference Tournament with a first-round game against fourth-seed Newman at 1 p.m. Thursday at St. Mary’s Softball Fields. The three-day tournament will wrap up with the championship game, slated for 2 p.m. Saturday.
Brittain, the four-time Heartland Conference Pitcher of the Week, is 20-8 with a 1.68 ERA this season. She boasts a 125-35 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and pitched 16 complete games.
Gonzalez leads the Lady Rattlers in just about all offensive categories, registering team highs in batting average (.366), RBIs (38), doubles (13) and home runs (six).
Wenske, a senior as valuable for her vaunted glove as her leadoff-hitting bat, holds a .959 fielding percentage to go along with a .336 batting average. She also has 26 RBIs, a conference-high 44 runs scored and four home runs in 50 starts.
Miller is hitting .331 with 31 RBIs and four home runs to go along with a .929 fielding percentage.
Baker, a four-year starter, is hitting .255 with 25 RBIs and four home runs. Fellow second-team selection Lee has hit .364 with 19 RBIs and three triples in 50 starts.
Perez, a late addition to the Rattlers’ starting lineup, has provided a spark in their order, hitting .259 with seven RBIs and one home run in 29 starts. Fellow infielder Richelle Morales, whose supreme athleticism helps her make the impossible look easy defensively, is batting .266 with 19 RBIs.
Nichols is hitting .285 with 19 RBis and 32 runs scored. Meanwhile, Bissaro, whose no-hitter against Incarnate Word put her name in the St. Mary’s record book, is 9-5 with 40 strikeouts and a 2.38 ERA.