Blue Demons Celebrate 2008, Finish the Season Ranked 22/21
CHICAGO The DePaul softball team celebrated its season by individually honoring the team's Most Outstanding Player, Most Improved Player as well as the Most Valuable Defensive and Offensive Players. The coaches award, which was renamed the "Dave Bandauski Coaches Award" was also given to the player that exemplified the character and spirit of the program.
Junior third baseman Amber Patton was named the team's Most Outstanding Player after becoming the program's 22nd All-American. Patton, who earned second-team honors at third base, wrapped up her third consecutive team batting title after leading the Blue Demons and the BIG EAST Conference with .403 average. Patton tallied a school record and conference-best 87 hits on the season, while her 216 at bats also set a school record. A first team All-BIG EAST selection at third, Patton recorded 158 assists and 69 putouts for an impressive .970 fielding percentage. Known for her speed and smart base running, Patton also tallied a team-best 14 stolen bases.
Senior utility player Sandy Vojik was named the team's Most Valuable Offensive Player after leading the Blue Demons in home runs (10), triples (3) and slugging percentage (.546). The senior also finished second on the squad with 10 doubles and 33 RBI. A first-team All-BIG EAST selection, Vojik tallied 14 multiple-hit games and led DePaul during BIG EAST play with a .695 slugging percentage.
After shattering DePaul's single-season strikeout record set in 2002, sophomore right handed pitcher Becca Heteniak was named the team's Most Valuable Defensive Player. Heteniak finished the season with 315 strikeouts and tied the school record with 33 wins. Heteniak averaged 8.27 strikeouts per seven inning and held batters to a stingy .165 average.
Freshman outfielder Sean Plese was named the team's Most Improved Player after raising her batting average 40 points during the NCAA Evanston Regional. Plese finished the season with a .296 average, the third best on the team. She moved into the starting line-up in May and had a season-best two singles against Western Illinois and Northwestern at the NCAA Regional.
Senior Katie Hanson was the recipient of the Dave Bandauski award. Formally called the coaches award, the award was renamed in 2007 after Mr. Bandauski, the father of former DePaul shortstop Sara Bandauski (2003-06). His love for his daughter and his passion for DePaul softball was evident by the fact that he traveled countless miles to away contests and was always one of the loudest fans in the stands.
"The spirit in which the Dave Bandauski Award is given, exemplifies the award and is given in the spirit of the man," head coach Eugene Lenti said. "Katie epitomizes the example that Mr. Bandauski showed as parent and as a supporter of the DePaul softball program. "Katie's enthusiasm, energy and general love for DePaul University and Blue Demon softball led us throughout this season and the last four. Katie will be a senior that is hard to replace."
The Blue Demons, who won the University's first ever BIG EAST Conference Tournament Championship in May, made their 13th NCAA Tournament appearance and finished the season with a 51-18 record. DePaul finished the season ranked 22nd in the USA Today/NFCA poll and 21st in the ESPN.com/USA Softball final poll.