OKLAHOMA CITY - The Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball announced today that California’s Valerie Arioto was named the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Week for the week of May 7-13. Not only did the Pleasanton, Calif. native slug .800 with a .636 on-base percentage and a perfect fielding percentage, the senior was also named the Pac-12 Conference Pitcher of the Week after helping lead top-ranked California to its second outright Pac-12 title and first since 1987.
“I’m incredibly honored to have been chosen out of all the great players across the country for this very prestigious award,” said Arioto. “This is so much more a team award than it is an individual award for me. We couldn’t have won on Friday without the five runs the team scored and the incredible defense that my teammates played behind me.”
Going into the three-game series with No. 2 Arizona State, California needed two wins to capture the Pac-12 Conference Title. In game one, after the Bears battled back from a 2-0 deficit to tie the game, Arioto unleashed a two-run, walk-off homer in the bottom of the seventh to defeat the Sun Devils, 4-2. The win put the Bears one victory away from the Pac-12 title. In game two, Arioto produced from the circle pitching seven innings of shutout work, striking out 11 batters and giving up just one walk in a 5-0 shutout victory. Her performance helped the Golden Bears to their Pac-12 Championship while improving her record in the circle to 20-2 for the year.
“We are tremendously proud of Valerie,” said Head Coach Diane Ninemire. “For her to cap off her regular season with a walk-off home run and a Pac-12 title is just fantastic. Friday’s win was a complete team effort.”
This is the second USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Week honor for Arioto this season as she garnered the award in week one as well. This marks the fifth time this season that a Pac-12 player has been earned the award. Arioto’s selection comes just a week after the Golden Bear was named a finalist for 2012 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year which will be revealed on May 29 prior to the start of the NCAA Women’s College World Series (WCWS) in Oklahoma City.
2012 USA Softball Collegiate Players of the Week
Week 1 (Feb. 9-12): Valerie Arioto - California - Redshirt senior - Utility – Pleasanton, Calif.
Week 2 (Feb. 13-19): Christi Orgeron – ULL – Senior – Utility – New Orleans, La.
Week 3 (Feb. 20-26): Teagan Gerhart – Stanford – Junior – Pitcher – Norco, Calif.
Week 4 (Feb. 27-March 4): Jessica Cooley – Mississippi State – Junior – Outfielder – Birmingham, Ala.
Week 5 (March 5-11): Sara Nevins – South Florida – Sophomore – Pitcher - Pinellas Park, Fla.
Week 6 (March 12-18): Kaitlin Inglesby – Washington – Sophomore – Pitcher/Designated player – Portland, Ore.
Week 7 (March 19-25): Michelle Moultrie – Florida – Senior – Outfielder – Jacksonville, Fla.
Week 8 (March 26- April 1): Kirsten Verdun – DePaul – Sophomore – Pitcher/1B – Coal City, Ill.
Week 9 (April 2-8, 2012): Ashley Fleming – Missouri – Senior – Outfielder – Silex, Mo.
Week 10 (April 9-15, 2012): Stephany LaRosa – UCLA – Freshman – Third Base – Diamond Bar, Calif.
Week 11 (April 16-22, 2012): Hayley Miles – San Diego State – Sophomore – Shortstop – Antelope, Calif.
Week 12 (April 23-29, 2012): Raven Chavanne – Tennessee – Junior – Third Base – Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Week 13 (April 30-May 6, 2012): Jenna Caira – Syracuse – Senior – Pitcher - Toronto, Ontario
Week 14 (May 7-13, 2012): Valerie Arioto - California - Redshirt senior - Utility – Pleasanton, Calif.