Big performance at the plate earns Morgan Hirai ASA JO Player of the Week National honors

By Codi Warren | June 27, 2014, 12 a.m. (ET)

OKLAHOMA CITY — A near-perfect performance at the plate has earned Tri-City Fuzion 12U athlete Morgan Hirai (Pasco, Wash.) the eighth ASA Junior Olympic (JO) Player of the Week award, presented by Worth Fastpitch and StudentSports.com.  Announced today by the Amateur Softball Association (ASA)/USA Softball, the catcher helped lead her squad to a 5-0 record and a championship finish at the ASA Summer Warm up in Selah, Wash. 
 
“Morgan is one of our most consistent hitters, everything she hits is hard,” said Tri-City head coach Brent Bishop. “She is consistently hitting over .500 and is a true clean up type hitter.  Where she really shines is behind the plate, she is a beast back there." 

Amassing a .769 batting average (10-for-13) and a 1.46 slugging percentage, Hirai connected for one home run and five extra bases hits over the course of the tournament.  with two homeruns and 10 RBI, Winchell also had four other hits for extra bases over the weekend.  Hirai was also a key contributor to her squad's run to the championship title, crossing the plate for a total of 10 runs scored and punching 9 RBI.
 
"Morgan knows the complicated task of hitting requires many hours of good habit development," said Tri-City Fuzion hitting coach Kelly Richards.  "I forsee Morgan having a great future in this sport. She's very humble and loves to play the game!"
 
Established to recognize JO players 18 years or younger for outstanding play in an ASA/USA sanctioned event, the ASA/USA Softball JO Player of the Week will honor 14 athletes, male or female, from May 9 - August 8 following the conclusion of the ASA/USA JO National Championships.  Nominations will be taken on a week-by-week basis (see below schedule) and will be submitted and accepted through http://www.studentsports.com/softball/2014/02/12/asa-player-week-form/ until noon ET every Tuesday.  In order to be eligible for the award, athletes must be registered with their local ASA/USA association and must have participated in ASA/USA Softball sanctioned events or tournaments during the week nominated. 

2014 ASA/USA Softball JO Player of the Week award schedule
Week 1 (April 30 - May 6): Faith Willis (Liberty, Mo.) - Originals-Shanks

Week 2 (May 7 - 13): Allie Roberts (Rogers, Minn.) – Northwest Diamonds

Week 3 (May 14 - 20): Jordyn Kadlub - Tampa Mustangs

Week 4 (May 21 - 27): Lauren Mathis (Windermere, Fla.) – Windermere Wildfire
Week 5 (May 28-June 3):
Mackenzie Dixon (Huntsville, Texas.) – Huntsville Heat 

Week 6 (June 4 - 10): Lauren Gohacki (Finleyville, Pa.) - Pittsburgh Diamond Stars 14U

Week 7 (June 11 - 17): Avery Winchell (New Cumberland, Pa.) Columbus County Magic Red 12U

Week 8 (June 18 - 24): Morgan Hirai (Pasco, Wash.) - Tri-City Fuzion 12U

Week 9 (June 25 - July 1): Winner announced July 4

Week 10 (July 2 - 8): Winner announced July 11

Week 11 (July 9 - 15): Winner announced July 18

Week 12 (July 16 - 22): Winner announced July 25

Week 13 (July 23 - 29): Winner announced August 1

Week 14 (July 30 - August 5): Winner announced August 8

Honorable Mentions:

Rachael Sterner (Duncannon, Pa.) – Rachael performed both at the plate and on the mound for her PA Alley Cats squad.  With a .600 (9-for-15) batting average, eight RBI and seven runs scored helped her team to a 2-2 finish at the Pennsylvania ASA 18U State Championship.  From the circle, Rachael went 1-2 with 14 innings pitched, six strikeouts and a 1.43 ERA.

Sophia Beretski (Levittown, Pa.) – Sophia's .590 (13-for-22) batting average helped her Lower South Liberty Elite 16U team to a Pennsylvania ASA 16U State Championship last weekend.  With five doubles, six RBI and nine runs scored, Beretski played a big role in her team's 6-0 Championship run.

Emily Garza (Richland, Wash.)   Emily's defensive performance in the infield and outfield lead to key plays throughout the ASA Selah Summer Warmup.  The Tri-City Fuzion 12U athlete ended the weekend with a .500 (5-for-10) batting average, one RBI and eight runs scored while coming up with a big throw down from the outfield to make the final out of the tournament.

About ASA
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 76 local associations. The ASA has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 165,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than 2.5 million. For more information on the ASA, visit
http://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 nine World Championship titles including the last seven consecutive as well as claimed six World Cup of Softball titles. For more information about USA Softball, please visit 
http://www.usasoftball.com.

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