KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Katie Cotta of Concordia (Calif.) has been tabbed as the NAIA National Softball Pitcher of the Week and Amanda Neumann of Bellevue (Neb.) has been named the NAIA National Softball Player of the Week, the national office announced Tuesday. The duo was chosen based on their performances from April 22 – 28 out of a pool of conference player of the week selections among 21 conference/independent/unaffiliated groupings.
Cotta earns her second Pitcher of the Week award of 2013, with the first coming on March 19. Cotta threw two no-hitters, her eighth and ninth of the season, to lead the Eagles to their second-straight Golden State Athletic Conference/California Pacific Athletic Conference Tournament championship. For the week she pitched 12 innings, struck out 29, walked one, and picking up two wins.
The senior pitcher currently has a total of 9 no-hitters for the season, surpassing the 2001 NAIA single-season record of 8 held by Rachel Murray of Union (TN). Cotta now has 13 career no-hitters, just 3 short of tying Murray's career mark of 16.
Cotta started the week by throwing a no-hitter against William Jessup (Calif.) on April 25. In that contest she struck out 13. Cotta continued her dominating week two days later in championship game as she struck out 16, while only walking one in a 3-0 victory over Simpson (Calif.). Cotta leads the NAIA in ERA (.160), strikeouts per nine innings (18) and is third in earned runs allowed (3) and tenth in wins (20).
Concordia (Calif.) continues to lock down the No. 1 ranking in the seventh regular-season installment of the 2013 NAIA Softball Coaches' Top 25 Poll, announced by the national office Tuesday. The Eagles, who collected all 21 first-place votes and 591 points, is in the top slot for the seventh-consecutive week. With the best win percentage in the NAIA (45-3), Concordia is a national championship qualifier after winning the Unaffiliated Group Tournament (Golden State Athletic Conference/California Pacific Conference) April 27.
The final regular-season Top 25 poll will be announced at 4 p.m. CST May 7. The 40 qualifiers for the first annual NAIA Softball National Championship Opening Round will be announced at 5 p.m. The official opening round pairings will be announced via a graphical selection show at approximately 7 p.m. on www.NAIA.org.
Concordia has dominated the competition recently, with five-straight shutouts. During that stretch, the Eagles hold a 51-0 scoring edge. Pitching has been one of the keys to success as the pitching crew is No. 1 in the NAIA in opponent batting average (.125) and earned run average (0.560). Announced last week, Concordia is one of 10 sites selected to host a NAIA National Championship Opening Round tournament.
The seven-straight No. 1 rankings for Concordia (Calif.) is the longest stretch for any program since former member California Baptist rattled through all nine polls in 2011. No. 1 Concordia (Calif.) has now held the No. 1 position in 13 of the last 15 polls dating back to the 2012 season. No. 5 Oklahoma City leads all active schools with 89-straight rankings, falling no lower than 18th during that stretch which dates back to start of 2004 season; No. 2 Lubbock Christian (Texas) and No. 20 William Carey (Miss.) are tied for second with 52-consecutive mentions and No. 1 Concordia is right behind at 43-straight polls. This year, two teams have held the No. 1 ranking: Cal State San Marcos (1) and Concordia (7) – last year, there were five different programs… Since 2000, there have been 11 teams to be on top of the polls: Concordia, Cal State San Marcos, California Baptist, Lubbock Christian, Mobile (Ala.), Oklahoma Baptist, Oklahoma City, Oregon Tech, former NAIA member Simon Fraser (B.C.), former member Shorter (Ga.) and Thomas (Ga).
2013 Softball Weekly Honors (Pitcher; Player):
Week 1 (March 12): Caitlin Santefort, Olivet Nazarene (Ill.); Latainna Eltsosie, Lubbock Christian (Texas)
Week 2 (March 19): Katie Cotta, Concordia (Calif.); Stephanie Nippert, Corban (Ore.)
Week 3 (March 26): Ashley Suter, Concordia (Ore.); Kate Santos, Concordia (Ore.)
Week 4 (April 2): Erin Greenwood, Baker (Kan.); Kristen Bodyk, Peru State (Neb.)
Week 5 (April 9): Caroline Sagrera, Spring Hill (Ala.); Denee' Crawford, Belhaven (Miss.)
Week 6 (April 16): Sarah Elizabeth Cousar, Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.); Caroline Sicht, William Woods (Mo.)
Week 7 (April 23): Cassie Daniels, Auburn Montgomery (Ala.); Emily Gwaltney, Marian (Ind.)
Week 8 (April 30): Katie Cotta, Concordia (Calif.); Amanda Neumann, Bellevue (Neb.)