OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. --- The Amateur Softball Association announced today that Massachusetts's Brandice Balschmiter (Newark, NY) and UCLA’s Amanda Kamekona (Chino Hills, Calif.) earned Co-USA Softball National Player of the Weekhonors for the week of April 28 – May 4. Both having outstanding performances over the weekend, this is a first-time honor for both athletes.
“It is a great and wonderful honor,” said Balschmiter. “The team has been playing very well and I am glad to be a part of it.”
Balschmiter (25-6) went 2-0 giving up no runs with 15 strikeouts on the week. The junior pitcher tossed back-to-back no-hitters against Boston College and Saint Bonaventure. In the first game against BC, she tallied eight strikeouts in the complete game 9-0 shutout. She then followed that performance up with another no-hit shutout, her fifth no-hitter of the season, in an 11-0 (5) win while striking out seven against St. Bonaventure. She moved into second place on the UMass all- time no-hit list with seven and finished the regular season having pitched 71 consecutive scoreless innings.
“This is an outstanding honor,” said UMass head coach Elaine Sortino. “What a tremendous accomplishment for Brandice.”
Junior Amanda Kamekona went 6-for-10 (.600) with three home runs and five runs batted in, as the No. 4 Bruins picked up victories over Pac-10 rivals Arizona and Arizona State last weekend. With hits in all three games, Kamekona extended her hitting streak to eight.
“It is really cool and exciting to receive this honor,” Kamekona said. “Three home runs in a weekend is a lot, even for me. I wasn’t trying to hit home runs, but I was seeing the ball really well this weekend. As a team, it was nice to redeem ourselves and take the season series from Arizona on Friday and then come out on top on Saturday against Arizona State. Sunday’s result wasn’t what we hoped for, but hopefully we’ll see them (ASU) again this year in the postseason.”
After going 1-for-3 against Arizona on Friday, Kamekona went 2-for-3 with four RBI and two home runs against top-ranked Arizona State on Saturday. With the Bruins up 1-0, the junior hit a one-out home run in the third to give UCLA a two-run advantage. Kamekona added another homer against ASU pitcher Katie Burkhart in the fifth, this time a three-run shot to make it a 5-0 game.
Kamekona continued her home run binge on Sunday with a solo shot to lead off the bottom of the fifth. It was one of three hits for Kamekona, who added singles in the first and seventh for her fourth three-hit game of the season.Kamekona leads the Bruins with 11 home runs and 39 runs scored and raised her season average to .327.
“I am very excited to see Amanda recognized for her efforts this weekend,” UCLA head coach Kelly Inouye-Perez said. “Amanda has a work ethic that allows her to be ‘the one’ in big-time moments. She respects the game and has played hard for us all year.”
The Amateur Softball Association, founded in 1933, is the National Governing Body of softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. The ASA has become one of the nation’s largest sports organizations and now sanctions competition in every state through a network of 83 local associations. The ASA has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 240,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than three million. For more information on the ASA, visit www.asasoftball.com.
About USA Softball
USA Softball is the brand created, operated and owned by the ASA that links the USA Men’s, Women’s, Junior Boys’ and Junior Girls’ National Team programs together. USA Softball is responsible for training, equipping and promoting these four National Teams to compete in international and domestic competitions. The USA Softball Women’s National Team is one of the only two women’s sports involved in the Olympic movement to capture three consecutive gold medals at the Olympic Games since 1996. The U.S. women have also won eight World Championship titles including the last six consecutive as well as claimed two World Cup of Softball titles. For more information about USA Softball, please visit http://www.usasoftball.com/